Once a breach takes place, as happened on Monday April 14, you can be sure that a checkpoint or series of it will spring up and sometimes remain permanent and over time become a toll collection point where the ‘boys’ will begin to harass and extort money
committal of a similar one in that location because bombs may have been planted in more than one location within the vicinity chosen as target or that since terrorists operate in cells, some members of the cell assigned to cause mayhem in a particular place may still be lurking around even after the first operation has been carried out to monitor things. But to think of mounting a road block in Nyanya days after a blast took place does not look intelligent to me. Boko Haram terrorists do not particularly hate the people of Nyanya for them to want to make the people living there or along its axis their permanent targets. They merely chose that site in Nyanya because of its strategic significance in terms of the point they sought to make. They could as well have chosen such densely populated parks in Utako, Kubwa, Gwagwalada or Bwari or anywhere else in Abuja or anywhere else in the country for that matter.
When Boko Haram terrorists had made Madalla their tactical There are so many routes into Abuja and there are so many crowded parks in some many megacities in Nigeria that the BH terrorists can make another statement having made such a as loud one in Abuja. Nothing says that Abuja will remain their permanent hunting ground.
I would like to think that checkpoints are effective only to the extent of their being surprise elements. From what some of us read about countries where good thinking informs governmental actions, checkpoints are erected mainly after hard core intelligence suggests that criminals are passing or likely to pass through a particular route. They never become permanent features like Customs and Immigration Office in international boundary areas. The permanency of most of our checkpoints makes it easier for really determined and serious- minded criminals to plan. Criminal gangs or cells can factor in permanent checkpoints in their operational plans and movements, defeating the very purpose checkpoints were mounted in the first place.
I watch actions in many civilized countries with thinking and responsible governments when natural or man-made disasters happen. You see that real reasonable efforts are made by the civil defense, police, fire service, the secret police and just about everybody that needs to be involved to ensure that normalcy is restored as soon as possible while they grieve over their loss and mourn over their dead. But here, in an attempt to show that something is being done, more hardship and unnecessary inconvenience is further inflicted on the hapless people on a scale that may even be more permanent than the original tragedy. How sad. The Nyanya military checkpoint is one good example of the thing I am quarreling about here. It serves no useful purpose and should be dismantled without any further delay.
It is equally sad that the Mass Transit Park has since being cordoned off. Innocent citizens’ vehicles which are sources of their livelihood have been quarantined there all these days in the name of not tampering with investigation. Given the way we do our things, by this time next year that park will still be fenced around like the shrine of a feared witch doctor. Meanwhile, nobody will be thinking about the plight of some citizens whose means or place of livelihood have been so callously kept out of bounds. anyone in the security high-ups allows checkpoints to become ‘permanent’ once they have been erected. I am probably not good enough to be in the intelligence arm of our security agencies but I cannot help thinking that not even the most foolish of terrorists will remain in the Nyanya axis or come into Abuja through that route once an incident such as took place on April 14 happened in that place when all mouths and all eyes will be on that place. As the inspiration for this piece came into my mind, I remembered the question that children of my generation were usually given in Primary Three in my days to test our mental aptitude: ‘’If there are 300 birds perching on a tree and a hunter shoots and kills one, how many birds will remain on that tree?’’. Some of my mates who were arithematically brilliant but lacking in wisdom or common sense used to answer ‘’299’’! I think the birds are more intelligent than those who permit checkpoints to be mounted in response to a terrorist attack on a particular location.