By ADEBAYO OBAJEMU
Palpable tension and anxiety now pervades the Abuja, Nigeria’ seat of power, as terrorists activities seem to be escalating following the Kuje Correctional Centre invasion on July 6, which left the entire security architecture unprepared and flat-footed.
As if that was not enough, the terrorists attacked the Brigade of Guards, killing seven men, and threatened to take over schools in the FCT and environ. The climax was a threat by the armed groups to abduct President Buhari and Kaduna state governor, el Rufai.
By weekend, all schools in the FCT were shutdown, which showed the seriousness with the threats were received by government. In reaction to this unfolding level of insecurity, the senate on Wednesday before going on a six weeks’ break, mandated the president to tackle the situation or face impeachment. The minority members later staged a walk out.
Joseph Boni is a staff of one of the federal ministries in Abuja. Like so many workers, he lives in the suburbs of Abuja in New Nyanya tucked away in Nasarawa State. His daily routine of going to office in ever present traffic snarl along Abuja- Keffi road has long been part of his DNA.
Last week Wednesday, he had reached the popular Area 1, when his phone rang. He was initially worried! Why would the principal of the school his last-born attends call him at this hour?
It turned out to be a text message, asking him to come and pick his child as the school was shutting down on the order of the federal government.
Similar text message had been dispatched to hundreds of parents.
“This threat should not be taken lightly given the antecedent of Boko Haram, Ansaru and the marauding bandits. Now that they have deadly military hardware, and given their daring as seen lately, the government should wake up.
“Buhari’s unwillingness to nip the insurgence of Ansaru and the terror of the bandits at the incipient stages are responsible for this”, Prof. Adeagbo Moritiwon, a political scientist told Business Hallmark.
The ill-wind of anarchy and insecurity have finally birthed . Through out last week, Abuja was a city on edge following reports that terrorists had attacked settlements around the Federal Government College, Bwari, and had made attempt on the unity school but for the presence of security forces.
What followed was a unprecedented season of forced closure. Veritas University quickly locked their gates and sent students home, as the terrorists, who had earlier written the Abuja Campus of the Nigerian Law School that they would attack, made good their threats.
Business Hallmark’s sources said there were sporadic shootings at the Minister’s Hill area and the Dantata Bridge along Airport Road, Abuja. Though there had been official denial, but not many are convinced.
In the nearby Nasarawa State, Governor Abdullahi Sule also gave order that all schools should close to avert students being attacked.
But actually the directive was allegedly contained in a statement signed by the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools in Nigeria, Abuja, stating that the directive to shut down schools came from the FCT Education secretariat.
The message reads, “Dear school educators, instruction reaching me now from the Ag. Director DQA is that the FCT Education secretariat has directed that schools are to make sure all examinations going on should be ended by Wednesday, July 27, 2022, and all students including those in boarding should be allowed to go home for the holiday.”
Sources last week confirmed that students of the Nigerian Law School, Bwari, Abuja have deserted the institution following a threat of an attack by terrorists who are demanding an advanced payment of ransom.
Credible sources confirmed to this medium last week that the terrorists had sent messages to the management of the institution demanding ransom to cover 500 students, the director-general and 15 lecturers of the institution.
It was learnt that immediately after the threat message, the management alongside the operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS, convened a meeting with the students and asked them to be security conscious.
“The management held an emergency meeting during the Sallah holiday with three persons from the DSS, who addressed the students. They gave the students security tips and told them that security is a general business.
The source further said: “As a result of the threat, on July 25, many students left the campus because of fear. Some left on the 26th and even advised their colleagues to leave. “Some students that have relatives within Abuja have gone to stay with them, while those that don’t have anywhere to go are still in the school.
The decision to close the federal schools was taken after a reported terrorist attack on the neighbouring Sheda community in the Area Council, which is close to the Federal Government College Bwari
The depth of the insecurity and lack of coordination on the part of the government came to the fore when the deputy speaker of the House of Representatives said for every attack, there was intelligence report, adding that he had personally read through 44 of such report.
Wase, disclosed to Nigerians that the Department of State Services (DSS) prepared and presented 44 security reports before the Kuje Prison attack took place in Abuja. He disclosed this while contributing to a proposed motion to halt the planned ban on the use of motorcycles across the nation by the Federal Government.
His message was sobering. That he had read all the reports and there was no intelligence shortcoming, as the services had fully briefed the political leadership on what was being planned but no action was taken.
Just last week, the Kaduna State governor said the President was not aware of the threat by terrorists to harm him until he (the governor) informed him.
African Democratic Congress, ADC, Presidential Candidate, Mr. Dumebi Kachikwu, last week supported the opposition senators’call on President Muhammadu Buhari to either resign or be impeached in six weeks, if he failed to address the insecurity in the country.
An influential ruling party support group, APC Justice and Unity Forum, APC JUF, called for the immediate sack of the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno, retd.
In his own reaction to plans by bandits to attack Abuja, Zamfara, Kano and Lagos and two other states, the Leader of the Pan-Yoruba Socio-political Organisation, Afenifere, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, bemoaned the state of anomie and insecurity in the land, saying the Federal Government has failed to secure lives and property, adding that now was the time to seek foreign assistance.
Jibrin Ibrahim, professor of political science last week said it was the severity of the insecurity that forced members of the National Assembly to rise above partisanship to give president Buhari ultimatum of six weeks.
He wrote “It is in this context that many parliamentarians are seeking to rise above partisan politics or personal relationships, across political parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives, to impeach the president over rising insecurity in the country. They have given him six weeks to see change or they would act.
“Great questions, we would all agree, and the answers are known to every Nigerian seven years and two months after Buhari came into power.
“The Buhari team has become very competent in responding to such questions with excuses of how bad the situation was when he took over power.
The real question posed by the president here is whether things are getting better or worse, and the answer is MUCH WORSE. Let us not forget the words of Benjamin Franklin that: “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”
Meanwhile, the Federal Capital Territory Administration last Friday stated that it had taken steps to restructure security operations and collaborations with states contiguous to Abuja to curb rising insecurity in the nation’s capital.
Making this known at the FCT security committee’s meeting, the FCT Commissioner of Police, Sunday Babaji, stated that with the development security operatives in the neighbouring states and the FCT would take the battle to the corridors and enclaves of the terrorists terrorising their territories.
The neighbouring states are Niger, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Kogi, Benue and Plateau. Babaji was of the view that the action would help to adequately secure the FCT.
He was quoted to have said these in a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the FCT, Anthony Ogunleye, late Thursday.
The statement partly read, “In order to enhance the provision of security in the nation’s capital, the FCT Administration has taken steps to re-invigorate the G7 security operations which involves security collaboration and partnerships with states that are contiguous to the Federal Capital Territory.
“According to the FCT CP, the re-invigoration of the G7 security operations will see the commencement of security actions and procedures by members of the G7, which will involve taking the fight to the bandits and terrorists in their camps which are mostly located in states bordering the FCT.