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The Federal Government has, on Wednesday, imposed curfew in Nigeria's capital Abuja in recreational centres after a deadly bomb attack two weeks ago at the police headquarters claimed by a radical Islamist sect. The implication is that night clubs and cinemas are forced to close by 10 p.m. Other places affected by the curfew include beer parlours and billiards centres including weekend resorts. Parks and gardens that admit children would now close at 6 p.m

Abuja has also banned the parking of vehicles on roads near government offices to ensure security of lives and property. According to the city's spokesman Muhammad Hazat "These measures are necessitated by the need to ensure adequate security of lives and property in the federal capital territory” following the June 16 bomb attack on the national police headquarters in which the Boko Haram sect claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Abuja measures, which are expected to have negative economic repercussions, have been described by an economic analyst as”overkill". "I think it's a knee-jerk reaction, but its overkill," said an independent analyst Onah Ekhomu. "We are not at war and the authorities can take care of this problem." First, of all by doing that you have already told the terrorists that they have won."

The Niger Delta Integrity Group believes that the curfew was uncalled for because it portrays the nation's security apparatus as inefficient and incapable of dealing with localized crisis. NDIG's Deputy President Comrade Idumange John avers that only the insecure strive for security. It was the Roman historian Publius Cornelius who said “the desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise” The Abuja the curfew was imposed in bad faith, and in the eyes of the International Community, It shows that Nigeria has no adequate security or that Boko Haram has infiltrated the forces statutorily empowered to maintain law and order. Apart from the huge economic drawback and discouragement of Foreign Direct Investment, the curfew amounts to shutting down Nigeria, and soon the EU countries and the US may issue travel restrictions, which will jeopardize the transformational agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan.

One of the Groups spokesperson Ms. Lynda Obayuwana analyzed the situation and said it was embarrassing for Nigeria to impose a curfew on the State capital because Nigeria is seen as giant of Africa. Nigeria has been at the arrowhead of peace keeping efforts in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sudan and other parts of continental Africa, but wondered why the Goodluck administration cannot handle this localized sectarian violence, she said!

The Secretary General of NDIG added his voice to the dangers the curfew portends. It shows that the 'giant of Africa' has indeed been weakened by religious bigotry, pseudo-federalism and corruption in the security intelligence agencies”. It is a bad start for an administration, in which Nigerians massively voted.

The NDIG urges the Federal Government carry out a surgical operation by spreading its investigative dragnet beyond the shores of Nigeria and beam a more penetrating searchlight on the security forces and lift the curfew without delay because it amounts to a relapse to the 'military days', and the action bodes ill for a country that claims to have conducted free and fair elections. NDIG believes that the activity of the sect is a threat to democracy and good governance in the country, which economy is already comatose because of low foreign investment. The Abuja curfew is a sign that the promise made to Nigerians by the administration on security may just be honorific.

Idumange John Lynda Obayuwana

July 1, 2011