5 security issues Buhari must end
Despite measures by the government to check insecurity in the country, the challenge still persists.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement to British Prime Minister Theresa May in London on Monday that he was more concerned about security issues and the economy than his 2019 reelection bid generated uproar in Nigeria. This is because insecurity has not really been nipped in the bud.
Daily, cases of security challenges are reported in various parts of the country, making one to raise eyebrows over the president’s purported ‘concern’.
Few weeks ago, a former Chief of Army Staff and Minister of Defense, Lieutenant-General Theophilus Danjuma (rtd), at the maiden convocation of the Taraba State University Jalingo, stirred the hornet’s nest when he urged Nigerians to defend themselves and not to rely on the military as they collude with the armed bandits to kill people.
As the country moves closer to the 2019 general elections, there are security challenges the president needs to not just tackle but also bring to an end this year.
Though Boko Haram has actually been degraded, pockets of attacks still take place. In a new video on January 2, 2018, leader of the sect, Abubakar Shekau, denied claims that the group has been defeated.
Days earlier, the group attacked the Muna Garage area of Maiduguri killing 25 people, with pockets of other attacks around the North-East.
Besides, the sect also “embarrassed” the government with the abduction of 110 girls at the Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi in Yobe State, on February 19. However, 104 of the girls were later released.
Besides, the talks between the Federal Government and Boko Haram on the release of the remaining abducted Chibok schoolgirls suffered setbacks. The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement a week ago, quoted President Buhari has saying the break-down of talks was due to lack of agreement among the girls’ abductors whose internal differences had led to divergent voices regarding the outcome of the negotiations. Some of the girls have been in captivity for four years.
The problem of herders-farmers clashes has not abated since the killing of 73 people in Guma and Logo local government areas of Benue State on January 1, 2018. There have been consistent killings mostly in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba states. The crises were aggravated mainly with the commencement of the anti-grazing law by the Benue State Government on November 1, 2017 stopping open cattle-grazing in the state. The crises spilled to other states, with the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACRAN) saying they would resist the law.
The crises have not been fully checked even with the launch of a special military operation tagged “Ayem Akpatuma.” Fourteen people were recently killed with cattle rustled in renewed hostilities between herders and farmers in villages of Keana, Obi and Awe local government areas of Nasarawa State.
In Benue State, the Police Public Relations Officer, Moses Joel Yamu, said four police officers were killed on April 15, 2018 in Logo Local Government Area when they came under attack. Besides, the Executive Secretary Benue State Teaching Service Board, Professor Wilfred Uji, said 300,000 children have been forced out of school due to herders-farmers crisis.
Just when it was thought that kidnappings across the country have reduced, the menace resurfaced. In fact, some kidnappers committed a “sacrilege” with the abduction of the twin children of Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Lekan Balogun and demanded N100 million initially as ransom before it was reduced to N10 million. The twins (a boy and girl) were held for a week before they were released.
However, in Kano, kidnappers killed a policeman and abducted a German, Engineer Michael Cremza, who work for Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company.
Not long after that, kidnappers killed a Syrian businessman, Ahmed Abu Areeda and kidnapped his 14-year-old son, Muhammad, in Kano. The boy was however rescued days later.
The Syrian, who recently retired, has been in Nigeria for about 20 years.
In Kaduna State, the Chairman National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) of Birnin Gwari, Malam Audu Kano and six of his executive council members were abducted. They were travelling to Zamfara State for a wedding.
However, in Kebbi State, the police arrested four suspected kidnappers of a Fulani leader in the state and recovered N800, 000. The suspects had earlier kidnapped and collected N500, 000 from another victim.
The police in Lagos in February also arrested six kidnap suspects and recovered arms cache. They were alleged to be involved in kidnappings in the South-South and southeastern parts of the country.
In Katsina, the police command’s spokesman, DSP Gambo Isah, said operatives arrested four kidnap suspects dressed as women trying to abduct a 4-year-old boy. He said they were nabbed with hijab and niqab.
The robbery of banks in Offa, Kwara State, commando-style on April 5 casts a dark chapter in the security of lives of citizens as 20 people were killed and many injured as bandits stroke financial houses in the town. Some of the victims were policemen on guard and bank officials.
However, few days later, the Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, said 20 suspects have been arrested in batches of 8 and 12.
Also, a week ago, 20 people were killed by bandits in Kuru-Kuru and Jarkuka villages in Anka Local Government Area of Zamfara State. Two weeks earlier, about 30 people were killed by bandits and cattle rustlers in Bawar Daji.
However, operatives of “Operation Sharar Daji” killed 21 armed bandits in a face-off at Tungar Daji in the same local government area. The bandits killed two officers in the process. Worried about the spate of killings, the state governor, Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar, had during a condolence visit to the Emir of Zamfara, Alhaji Attahiru Muhammad Ahmad, ordered security operatives to shoot at sight any kidnapper and person bearing illegal firearms.
But the army got the worst of bandits’ attack in March when 11 soldiers were killed at Kamfan in Doka along Funtua Road in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Some of the soldiers were on their first mission after their training.
Even as President Buhari was conferring with Prime Minister Theresa May in London, Abuja was unsettled as police and members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) or Shiites clashed as they converged at the Unity Fountain in Maitama, to protest the continued incarceration of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, since December 2015.
When the clash subsided, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command said 115 Shiite members were arrested in connection with the crisis. On the other hand, spokesperson of the FCT Police Command, DSP Anjuguri Manzah, in a statement said members of the group injured 22 policemen.
But, IMN spokesman, Ibrahim Musa, said the security personnel caused the commotion by firing at unarmed protesters which was collaborated in a statement by Director, Amnesty International in Nigeria, Dr Osai Ojigho, describing the police action as “reckless.”
However, the government has been doing all it can to check these challenges which are still prevalent. The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Yusuf Buratai at a demonstration to showcase the capability of the armed forces revealed that the mobile brigade concept was instrumental to defeating of Boko Haram.
Corroborating Buratai’s position, the Director of Defense Information, Brigadier-General John Agimat, at a press briefing said other operations have been launched apart from the Operation Lafiya Dole to fight the Boko Haram.
Furthermore, the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, recently said the force has commenced works on additional two training schools in Maiduguri to improve the general security situation in the NorthEast.
On banditry, the IGP ordered commissioners to curb the proliferation of illegal firearms and ammunition in the country by mopping them up. He also ordered them to ensure that state governments do not establish militias and arm them with illegal weapons.
President Muhammadu Buhari
Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Y. Buratai
IGP Ibrahim K. Idris