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Buhari,there is fire on the mountain!

By Ladesope Ladelokun

It can't be a tall order to fathom why Nigeria is not the best place to live at the moment. With unremitting kidnapping, banditry, herdsmen killings sweeping across the country, the rising tide of insecurity has without any particle of doubt become ominously tragic.

Let's call a spade by what it is, Nigeria is currently under siege. No day passes without reported and unreported cases of gruesome killings of our compatriots by bandits and terrorists, kidnapping and other crimes that have made the country unlivable for Nigerians have also remained unceasing.

With failed assurances by the presidency that these crimes would be brought under control, when the siege would be over remains a riddle. Nigerians certainly deserve a better deal than the gnashing of teeth and the blood of their loved ones spilled on a daily basis. For the victims of the attacks of the fiends on rampage across Nigeria, agony has become an unwanted companion.

Only recently, Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu, released a horrific and tragic figures of crime-related deaths and abductions in the first quarter of 2019 -- something symptomatic of a bleeding country.

Adamu, while speaking at the quarterly Northern Traditional Rulers Council meeting in Kaduna, said 1,071 people were killed in crime-related incidences while 685 people were abducted by kidnappers between January and April in 2019 alone. He said 767 people -a figure that represents 71.62% of the people killed in the first quarter of 2019 alone- were killed in northern Nigeria.

In Zamfara State, over 8,000 women and 16,000 children have been widowed and orphaned since 2009, according to media reports. Also, in Zamfara, coming five years after the abduction of 276 girls at Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, and a little over a year that Dapchi happened, bandits reportedly abducted two teachers and four nursing students, leaving one man killed at the Government Girls Secondary School, Moriki, Zamfara State.

In President Buhari's Katsina home state, citizens flee to neighbouring Niger Republic to escape the bestiality of the merchants of death and misery. Was it up to one week that Magajin Daura, Musa Umar, was abducted by unknown gunmen from his palace in Katsina?

If the current spate of insecurity in the country is not brought under control and treated with the urgency it deserves, may a day not come that we would discover we will no longer have a country. Some lines from Nigerian musician and songwriter, Bukola Elemide(aka Asa), in her "Fire on the Mountain" track of her 2007 "Asa" album succintly captures our troubles. "There is fire on the mountain. And nobody seems to be on the run...One day the river will overflow. And there will be nowhere for us to go. And we would run, run wishing we had put out the fire."

Indeed, there is fire on the mountain. It is one fire that is threatening to consume our nascent democracy and existence. Those who swore to protect us must treat the current deplorable security situation with the needed gravitas so we can all have a safe country. It is true that the security problems we suffer predate the current government. We can even concede that the Buhari government has scored high in decimating Boko Haram insurgents. But not many of Buhari's ardent supporters prior to the 2015 presidential election, including yours truly, ever envisaged that the security problems that beset Nigeria would morph from bad to worse on the watch of a war General!

For the avoidance of doubt, the primary duty of government as enshrined in section 14 (2)(b) of the 1999 constitution(as amended) is to protect lives and property. Truth be told, it remains to be seen how the present government has served Nigeria well in this regard. Not with bandits pillaging communities, killing and maiming our compatriots like chickens on a daily basis.

As long as Nigerians groan in the jaw of banditry and kidnapping, the competence of Mr President who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and his security chiefs as far as securing lives and property is concerned will continue to be called into question. While we are in search of solutions to the hydra-headed monster of insecurity bedevilling the country, we must not lose sight of the fact that Nigeria is currently underpoliced and the deployment of available manpower is far from being efficient.

With the Police strength of 334,000 and a third of the figure deployed to guard the priviligentsia and organizations in a country of over 180 million people, we don't need a soothsayer to know that villages, communitues and roads in dire need of police presence will become dens of criminals.

The rising spectre of violence across the country makes a strong case for the reorganization of the Nigeria Police. We must shore up the strength of the Nigeria police and ensure an efficient deployment of its personnel. It is also apposite to state that governments at all levels must not pay lip service to economic security,f ood security and free and compulsory education for the Nigerian child to deactivate the catalysts or enablers of insecurity.

Ladesope Ladelokun writes from Ogun State via [email protected]