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

Daily Trust - - VIEWS -

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.

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