The Security Situation in Nigeria: WHAT PRESIDENT JONATHAN SHOULD DO
The oil-style insurgency in the Niger Deltas has been contained, which appeared to be the only legitimate struggle has been contained. Prior to the April Polls 2011, the Niger Delta Integrity Group, NDIG – a not-for-profit organization had warned that the spate of crises in parts of the country pose a looming and growing danger to the peace and security of Nigeria. The seemingly interminable crisis in Jos has become a festering sore on body politic of the nation. The State's inability to deal with highly localized conflicts has created room for suicide bombing. It is regrettable that suicide bombing has become a past-time of some criminally-minded elements that orchestrate mayhem, instigate a climate of fear and spread terror in the land.
The NDIG wishes to catalogue few cases of bomb blast and security breaches in recent times. On Friday of December 31, 2010 there was bomb explosion detonated at a part of the Mammy market located inside the Mogadishu Cantonment Barracks in Abuja where people sell roasted fish. When the dust finally settled, four people, including a pregnant woman and three others were confirmed dead, while 24 others who suffered various degrees of burns and injuries were rushed to the General Hospital, Asokoro and National Hospital, all located in the Abuja city centre. For example, the Boko Haram sect, who is a strong suspect behind some of the blasts, had consistently denounced the Nigerian state and western education.
On October 1, 2010, which marred the Independence Day anniversary celebration and sent over 18 people to the great beyond, in addition to the hospitalization of several other victims of the explosions? The recent bomb blast occurred just as the nation was yet to recover from the Christmas eve's bombing in Jos that killed dozens of people. This is why observers are still at a loss on how the supposedly tight security around the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, was easily breached and demystified by those behind the blasts.
The Boko Haram in attacking the Bauchi prison to free some of their members, also similarly served notice of their intention, the timing of their action and the target. They arrived an hour late, but the target as pre-announced was the Bauchi prison where after overwhelming the authorities, they freed over 700 prisoners; and subsequently they disappeared into thin air, leaving many casualties behind. As in almost every case the state was unable to deal with the situation. It was the same effrontery that was demonstrated in Abuja on October 1.
Thirteen people died and forty were wounded in a recent bomb attack at the Shadawanka Barracks in Bauchi, two children were injured in a Zaria bomb blast, while in Maiduguri a bomb was targeted at a military patrol vehicle. Another bomb explosion that killed two people was reported at Zuba near the Federal Capital Territory.
NO fewer than three people were confirmed dead while 14 others were seriously injured, when unknown persons threw a locally made bomb into some beer joints on Sunday, at about 8.30 p.m., in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital. Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Mike E. Zuokumor, addressing newsmen on Monday in his office, said that in the incident at Tudu, a beer joint in Maduganari, those who threw the bomb which killed a police corporal and two others, came on a motorbike. According to the police commissioner, terrorists had specific targets but the killings in Borno did not indicate whether the people behind them had some targets they were following or were only killing people for the sake of it. He said the same group went and threw a bomb at the policemen at Kasuwan Shanu area of Custom, but there was no casualty, adding that the police would come out to deal with violent crimes in the state to ensure the protection of life and property of innocent citizens.
On 29 May 2011, two explosions in rapid succession, within the recreational area of a military barracks, killed at least 10 people and wounded over 25 others in Bauchi, capital of Bauchi State. Only yesterday June 16th, the bombing of the Police Headquarters, Abuja- an indictment of the rickety security apparatus in the Country. The NDIG cannot tolerate this wanton carnage, destruction and terrorism of the hapless masses.
What President Goodluck Jonathan should do now?
That Mr. President should acknowledge the failure of the security agencies hence there should be a complete overhaul of the Security Agencies in the county to preempts these security breaches. In particular, the failure of the intelligence services to contain the recurring security breaches.
That the spate of bombings has once more brought to limelight the need for Sovereign National Conference. Successive administrations have deliberately swept this proposal under the carpet. The NDIG believes that until these structural distortions and anomalies are addressed, the monster of insecurity will loom large and Nigeria will once more be listed as a terrorist nation.
That considering security threats in the nation, Mr. President has to act decisively to execute his Office, and this can be achieved by implementing the anti-terrorism law and punish culprits of such heinous crimes capable of causing instability in the nation. This will vitiate the implementation of Mr. President's transformational agenda. The long-term effect is that the on-going terrorism will discourage potential investors in Nigeria.
We of the Niger Delta Integrity Group believe that if Mr. President fails, blatantly refuses of overlooks this looming danger, it will serve as a morale booster to the emergence of other terrorist organizations. While we support President Goodluck Jonathan in his bid to implement a transformational agenda, we advise the President to act decisively in this matter. We believe that Nigeria should exist as an indivisible entity, but that cannot be achieved without the security of lives and property. Mr. President should act fast.
Idumange John Nwokedi Nworisara Lynda Obayuwana
For and on behalf of the Niger Delta Integrity Group
This 17th date of June 17, 2011