THE INSIGHT: Matters Arising On The Worsening Insecurity In Nigeria

By Damilare Adeleye
Damilare Adeleye
Damilare Adeleye

Let me start with the adage which I would try to literarily translate into English as thus: “Instead of things to get better for a witch, it will rather get worse as she is continuously giving birth to female babies.” Apologies for my poor translation. However, what the foregoing proverbial saying implies is that a situation one expects to positively improve, rather continues to deteriorate day by day. This relates to the disturbing insecurity bedeviling our country. One would think with the coming of President Bola Tinubu as the Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces, the ugly situation would be nipped in the bud. Unfortunately, the opposite is the case as it seems we are facing a renewed next level of insecurity. The matter is simply getting worse by the day. Perhaps, I am not a security expert. But as a journalist, I am always terrified reading and writing reports of killings and kidnappings across the country everyday. Several have died. Many are dying. No one can tell who would be the next victim.

All is not well with the country. Criminals are feasting on our fatherland. Bandits are reigning like wild fire. Kidnappers are having a field day. Gunmen are ravaging. Terrorists are on rampage, killing, maiming and destroying our homes. As it is, it is dangerous to sleep with one eye closed. All eyes need to be open to be on alert. Nigeria is bleeding. The people are pleading!

To put things in perspective, throughout the just concluded week, hardly was there a day without report of killings and abductions. On Monday, unknown gunmen reportedly invaded a community called Gbauzokoyako located after Ketti in the Kuje Area Council of Abuja where father and son were said to have been killed. This was even as the assailants reportedly abducted five residents in the same community. Similarly on Monday, armed men assassinated two traditional rulers in Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti State. This came at the same time when some gunmen abducted students, teachers, and a driver of Apostolic Faith Group of Schools in the Emure-Ekiti area of the state. Reports indicated that the abductors are demanding 100 million as ransom. Similarly on Tuesday, reports emerged that eleven farmers were killed in Firgi community, Pulka Ward of the Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State after stepping on Improvised Explosive Device (IED). Who planted the IED? No one knows!

On Wednesday, gunmen reportedly abducted two teenage sisters from Guita community in Chikakore, located in Kubwa, Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). This was as 15 persons were reportedly killed after suspected herders attacked Ugboju community in the Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State. On Thursday morning, unknown gunmen terrorizing Nigeria’s capital city also kidnapped a director at the Federal Housing Authority in the Federal Capital Territory, Aondo Ver. Later in the day, armed men attacked Koro community, in Ekiti Local Government Area of Kwara State, killing the community’s traditional ruler, Olukoro of Koro, General Segun Aremu (rtd), and abducted his wife, alongside two others. Same day, a policeman was killed in Ebonyi State when gunmen attacked and engaged a police patrol team in a gun battle around Ngbo-Effium axis in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of the State. On the same day, gunmen beheaded a police officer identified as Inspector Osang. On Friday, reports emerged that gunmen abducted 30 women escorting newlywed bride in Katsina. This happened along Gamji Road in Dandume Local Government Area of Katsina State on Thursday night. Similarly, Police in Borno State confirmed that four of its men where killed by insurgents during an attack on its quarters.

All these happened just in one week! I am certainly not dishing out this number of attacks to scare you. It is just to tell you that all is not well with the country security situation. The security agencies seem to be overwhelmed. Perhaps, they too also have suffered many casualties in these attacks. The little they can do is to sympathize with the victims via press statements and courtesy visits, and condemn the attacks with threats to go after the perpetrators. Many approaches including changing the security chiefs, have been implemented to curb the menace, but none has proved to be effective enough. Therefore, it is time to take radical novel actions. Perhaps doing same thing overtime with expectation of different results is tantamount to madness. On that note, the government must now look inward and adopt new strategy.

I have two propositions to the government. First is the implementation of community policing. The need for state Police cannot be overemphasized. Debate has been going on over the potential good and bad of such security structure. But, the truth is that that is the only way to go. Those against state police are pointing out to possible abuse of the security architecture by the state governors. But, is that weighty enough in the face of these incessant killings? The Federal Police system, like I earlier said, is overstretched, overburdened with little impacts. Starting with number of foot officers, equipments, arms and ammunition, one can tell that the federal policing system cannot help provide adequate security for our communities. Only the state police would work as each state would be responsible for the security of its territory. Each state would have capacity to recruit, arm and deploy security operatives as it deems fit within its territory. With security vote and security trust fund, the state governments can properly fund state policing system. With this, governors would be responsible and can properly manage security ambience of their domains. The era when orders can only come from the Federal Capital City to all the 36 states of the federation is outlived. On the issue of potential abuse of state police, that is also an issue of proper legislation. There should be checks and balances through State Security Advisory Council which would comprise of the state governor, security advisers, opposition parties, civil society groups, security experts and former military and paramilitary personnel.

My second proposition is that the government needs to trustfully fight the insecurity by being aggressive towards these bloodthirsty insurgents. They are enemies and internal aggressors trespassing the Nigeria's sovereignty. They do not mean well for the country, and so, they should be decisively dealt with. They should not be spared. They must be arrested, prosecuted, jailed and possibly eliminated to serve as deterrents to others. The trend of arresting these callous non-state individuals without proper persecution is not helping the situation. The security agencies must top their game by ensuring speedy investigation and diligence prosecution. If these bad guys cannot repent before staging attacks, their repentance after arrest should not be entertained. They deserve no shield or shelter in our community. They must be named, shamed and jailed. This would not only send a note of warning to individuals intending to orchestrate criminalities, but also would boost the morale of our frontline security operatives in their fight against insurgency.

To this end, let me add that we, the citizens, also have our responsibilities. We must help the government and security agencies with intelligent information. We should raise alarm before events escalate. With our support and faith, the security agencies can get rid of these bad elements within us to make the country a haven for everyone to live. In addition, let us try to keep safe and be security conscious. I know that the government have the biggest responsibilities, but we need to play this little role.

©2024. Damilare Adeleye is a journalist and social commentator.