…We are failing in several fronts; let us not add security failure to the list
On Sunday morning, Nigerians woke up to the news that 86 people were killed and 50 houses burnt in fresh Plateau bloodbath when suspected herdsmen invaded 11 villages in three local government areas of Plateau State.
The weekend’s attacks affected villages in Barkin Ladi, Mangu and Riyom local government areas of Plateau State. The attacks reportedly lasted for several hours before the intervention of security agents. The same weekend that the attacks was going on in Plateau State, in neighbouring Nasarawa State, gunmen, also suspected to be herdsmen reportedly unleashed terror on farmers at I human Village in Awe local government area of the state killing seven in cold blood. Similarly, at the weekend, in Ebonyi and Cross River states, 13 people were killed as communal conflicts escalate.
Media reports indicate that two villages were also razed in the raging inter-communal clash between the people of Ukele in Yala local government area of CrossRiver State and their Izzi neighbours of Ebonyi State. The conflicts was said to have been caused by the struggle for farmland along their common border.
The killings also spread to the North East on this bloody weekend, as the media similarly reported that 21 people was killed with several others injured and houses burnt down in Dowayan Village, Demsa local government area of Adamawa State by suspected herdsmen. The attackers reportedly stormed the communities around 9pm on Friday, resulting in burning down of the villages and destruction of properties worth millions of naira.
It was reported that the killers came in large numbers while carrying sophisticated weapons, and operated for several hours, killing and destroying houses before the arrival of security agents. Nigerians would recall that on May 25, gunmen killed 26 people in Gidangoga District in the Maradun local government area of Zamfara State.
Barely one week after, gunmen invaded Zakuna Village in Anka local government area of Zamfara State killing 15 people. This was blamed on rustlers, as they also carted away cows belonging to the villagers. Early this month, the Zamfara State Police Command confirmed the death of 10 people following the attack in Dutsen-Wake and Oho Village in Birnin-Magaji local government area of the state. The bandits reportedly attacked around 10pm. All across Nigeria, people are living in fear of killers, armed robbers and kidnappers. There have been conflicting explanations by those in authority on the reasons for the wanton destruction of lives and properties in the country.
There are no shortages of conspiracy theories on why the killings have escalated in recent times. But what Nigerians want and urgently too, is for the killings to stop. And they are looking up to the government they elected to protect their lives and properties to stop the killers and their sponsors. They are asking their leaders to identify the killers and their sponsors and prosecute them according to the laws of the land.
The protection of lives and properties is the most important of all the responsibilities of any government. Any government that failed to fulfill this core mandate is merely chasing shadows if it goes ahead to address other responsibilities. That is why no serious government in the world should treat the issue of security with laxity and should not be seen to tolerate anyone or group that overtly and covertly undermine the security of the country.
Much has been said about calls by some of our prominent present and past leaders for Nigerians to defend themselves against their attackers. Some people have interpreted it as a call to arms, while others said self-defence is backed by law. Whatever may be the case, the call for self-defence could not have arisen had those saddled with the responsibility of protection of lives and properties done their job diligently.
Federal and state governments should not allow security to deteriorate to the level where Nigerians will be forced to provide their own security. When Nigeria reaches that low, God forbid, where the people are forced to seek self-help in order to stay alive, it will be no different from confirmed failed states like Somalia. It will be a tragedy if our leaders allow Nigeria to fail.
Already we are failing in several fronts. Let us not add security failure to the list. Already, most Nigerians provide their own water because governments over the years have failed to supply pipe borne water regularly to the public; most Nigerians provide their own power, because government and those it sold the nation’s electricity provider, have failed to supply power to their homes and organisations. Security should not be allowed to deteriorate to the level where Nigerians would seek to provide their own security if they want to stay alive. Let the government be open-minded while seeking solutions to the present security challenges in the country. It should listen to Nigerians including those who are antagonistic to it; perhaps it may get ideas that could help it formulate policies that would facilitate the improvement of our security architecture for the benefit of all Nigerians and others living in the country.
Our security agencies must improve on intelligence gathering without which they cannot be able to be ahead of the terrorists who are adept at asymmetrical warfare. There should be constant training and retraining of our security agents. They should also be well equipped.
It is commendable that in response to the security challenges President Muhammadu Buhari recently approved recruitment of able-bodied men and women into the police force and other security agencies. The next thing is to provide all the equipment the police and other security agents need to be effective. Nigerians must also be ready to provide information to our security agents to facilitate the nipping in the bud of terrorist activities and other criminalities.
– Aluta Continua