The continuing spike in the number of security incidents in the country is to say the least, most troubling. Day after day, criminals of every type and hue wreck havoc almost all across the country. While some of these criminal activities have been around for a while, others are somewhat fresh, but all the same daunting.
Even more troubling is the situation in the North. At a point, the concern there was almost chiefly about the Islamist insurgency, Boko Haram. Today, it is literally everything, with almost no square inch being considered as absolutely safe.
At the weekend, some 14 more people were killed when armed bandits raided villages in the Dan Musa Local Government Area of Katsina and Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State. Also killed was at least one more security officer with several other civilians injured. The rampaging bandits also burned down many people’s homes and riding sometimes on motorcycle convoys, they randomly opened fire on people.
Last weekend’s assaults is continuing in what has now come to be an ugly tradition of near predictable strikes, assaults and attacks.
For example, between Monday, June 8, and Saturday, June 13, 2020, the North reportedly lost over 240 lives in a spate of attacks. This was said to be the highest number of deaths recorded in such a short period in recent times.
According to data obtained from the Nigeria Security Tracker, as much as 114 persons lost their lives in Borno State during this period, while the president’s home state, Katsina followed with 75 deaths.
In the previous two weeks, the number of deaths traceable to acts of violence that were recorded by the Nigerian Security Tracker was 149 and 183 respectively.
Broken down, there are indeed several flanks of the crisis.
First is the Islamist insurgency in the North East which is built around the Boko Haram sect but which has also come to be further fueled by the emergent Ansaru.
Then there are the cross-border bandits from neighboring nations like Niger who routinely enter the country to plunder, pillage and kill.
At another end of the spectrum is the spike in violent clashes involving members of different ethnic groups and nationalities in the country.
As many as the dimensions and flanks of the crises, so also are the factors accounting for the escalating security crises. However, many fingers are pointing to a lack of decisiveness on the part of the presidency to tackle the scourge.
To compound the issue is the recent remark by the President on the performance of the service chiefs.
The wonder is why their continued retention even after this apparent vote of no confidence.
There is also the challenge raised over what some consider as the conspiracy of silence in the North. At a point, there was the perception of an elite contention that the North must take political power at all costs. To achieve this, all kinds of cards were allegedly thrown into the fray, including turning the other eye when fringe groups like Boko Haram were making Nigeria literally ungovernable. The challenge then is that with Northern power in the kitty, the genie of violence has refused to return to, or even come to literally outgrow its bottle.
What has happened then is that given the spike in security incidents, many Nigerians have lost confidence in FG.
And despite continuing attempts by Presidency officials like the Personal Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on New Media, Bashir Ahmad, who insists that President Buhari is doing his best to tackle the challenge, many remain unimpressed.
Instructively, many Northern politicians have also lately become most critical of the administration’s poor handling of the security challenge in the North. Other than the celebrated cases of the Professor Ango Abdullahi-led Northern Elders Forum, Aminu Adam of the Coalition of Northern Youths and Senator Shehu Sani, frontline politician in Kano, Hajiya Najatu Mohammed, stirred the hornet’s nest recently when she not only condemned the killings in the north but also called out former Military President, Ibrahim Babangida, former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Theophilus Danjuma, rtd, and former National Security Adviser, Aliyu Mohammed Gusau, to urgently step into the ring!
Equally, the Coalition of Northern Groups, CNG, has also been drawn into the fray.
Indeed, incensed over the spate of attacks, the Coalition set about on a series of region-wide protests, starting from Katsina and Niger states on June 16, 2020.
Responding, President Muhammadu Buhari appealed to the protesters to be patient even as he dispatched delegations to some of the affected states.
These notwithstanding, many remain unimpressed and are calling for even more decisive action to be taken.
Back in Southern Nigeria, concern over the security situation has seen many now insisting on a revision of the security infrastructure in the country to ensure that communities, states and regions take a front row seat in the management of their own security concerns. This is the sentiment that spurred the establishment of the Amotekun Security Corps in the South West and which has equally precipitated similar calls for rejigging the security infrastructure as it has to do with the South East and South South.
As the Muhammadu Buhari administration slowly walks its way to its end-tape days, the pressure on it to show at the end of the day what it has achieved would inevitably continue to rise. And everything considered, it will indeed be a shame if the stern-looking and battle-hardened General who was drafted into the race in the first place to chiefly address what was then described as ‘the nation’s floundering security fortunes,’ would be leaving behind a more ruptured, insecure and fragmented nation.
That is not all. As this newspaper has also noticed, another sub-text of the entire response of the presidency to the public dissatisfaction of its handling of the security challenge is the penchant to denigrate critics or even arrest them as had been the cases with Professor Ango Abdullahi and the leader of the Katsina protests. We find this to be completely unacceptable and insist that the administration must continually hold itself by the highest standards of civic conduct and constitutionality which it is forsworn to uphold. For the overall health of all of us to be guaranteed, professed democrats must play in accordance with the rules of engagement.