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Adding the worsening insecurity challenges



Adding the worsening insecurity challenges

Three sets of security incidents in the past few weeks make the case once again that the much dreaded Frankenstein monster, very sadly, is still alive and well.

In the first instance, and in the same season of the inglorious anniversary of the infamous abduction of the Chibok girls that involved the wholesale carting away of some 276 students from their hostel in the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, there has been a very clear resurgence in the spate of ordinarily inexplicable mass abductions, and, particularly, again of school children with Kaduna, Sokoto and Zamfara States in North western Nigeria coming up very highly this time in the notoriety charts.

This is even as the equally gory and most distressing insecurity incidents in the North Central and North East have also not abated. Mercifully, just as this editorial was being rounded off, news came in about the reported rescue of some of the victims of, at least, two of the abduction incidents in Kaduna and Sokoto with even more details being awaited.

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Second is the Okuama incident, wherein there has been a breakdown of law and order in the sleepy Niger Delta community, leading to the death of 17 Nigerian soldiers and the swift and retaliatory sacking of the community by the Nigerian armed forces. Also from the same region, police personnel have equally been reportedly killed in yet another incident even as there remain continuing insecurity flashpoints in the South East and South West.

And third is the publication by the Defence Headquarters of a list of alleged sponsors of insecurity in the country, and, particularly, in the North of Nigeria, that includes the names of several personalities and business entities, including Bureau de Change (BDCs). The list also includes the names of other suspected insecurity champions and enhancers from the South East and elsewhere.

Of further significance here too is the fact that about all the names published in the list have been in the public glare for quite some time now and have reportedly been the subject of security investigations within and outside the country for many months and indeed years. Leaving many to wonder that beyond the current publication of this list at this point, what is really going to be different now?

Searching for this difference is indeed at the heart of completely addressing, taming and resolving the currently most distressing insecurity challenge in Nigeria. This is because, again and again, incidents take place, government and security officials tense up, several motions are executed, and somewhere along the line, the trail goes cold, until the next incident sadly takes place, and again the motions…and the coldness. ‘Nigerian lives matter.’

In themselves, each of these incidents, indeed, says something about the challenge we are confronted with. And the first is that, despite what appears to be flashes of positive responses, we may still not have found a deep handle to the challenge.

Take, for example, the incidents in Northern Nigeria. While the Federal Government is insinuating that ‘regional forces’ may be involved in encouraging the festering of some of these incidents through cross-border security breaches, there is no evidence in the public domain that it has recently reached out to any of our neighbours to frontally persuade greater cooperation from them in this regard. Mere tepid acknowledgement without accompanying decisive activity beggars the subject.

Also of concern is the quality of personnel manning critical flanks of the insecurity war on account of political appointments and the track record of agencies like the NIA in the entire fight. There are also the confounding statements of the likes of Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, as well as our continued cold shoulder to offers of critical assistance from our international partners.

On Okuama, one very clear lesson is that after discounting the rule of law complications in the military being accuser, prosecutor, judge and executor in what looks like an avoidable crisis in which its own foundational source of involvement has not been fully and independently explained and reviewed, as had somewhat also been the case with previous incidents in places like Odi and Zaki Biam, it generally, however, signals to all that on the plain surface of things, the military can act and, indeed, act tough, when they are not encumbered.

And this says to us that the biggest challenge faced by the military in routing insurgents, particularly, in the North of Nigeria does not and has never resided in a lack of military capacity to get the job done. The restraints are, and have always been, elsewhere.

But we are now in very precipitous times, where all encumbrances must now be taken away in the interest of our collective survival. That is, because, insecurity threatens all of us in very many ways. For one, to grow the economy, we must deal with insecurity, otherwise, our economic problems, especially, food security, will persist

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