Toying with insecurity
The frightening headline, “Violent Deaths – 1,351 Killed in 10 Weeks,” in the Sunday Vanguard of March 11, 2018 raises grave concern about the worsening insecurity situation in Nigeria, which the authorities seem to be toying with. There is reason for everyone to be afraid if the situation is as bad as painted. For not even in war-torn Iraq and Syria are these number of deaths recorded over such a short period.
Why is the situation getting worse instead of improving? The authorities are toying with this issue of insecurity in the country which is why the situation is degenerating. Something needs to be done urgently to avert a looming anarchy. This land soaked with the blood of the innocent and they are crying to high heavens.
Dividing 1,351 by 10 gives about 135 deaths per week or a daily slaughter of 19 persons. The number couldn’t have captured all the deaths. This is too much for a country that is not officially at war except for the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East. The other parts of the country ought to be peaceful and secured. But that is far from being the case. The situation would have been different if the 473 deaths recorded in the North-East were isolated since the area is a war zone. But a situation where practically every state of the federation is a killing field is unacceptable. It portends danger.
Wait a minute. Let’s peep into what is happening in Syria. On 23 April 2016, the United Nations and Arab League Envoy to Syria put out an estimate of 400,000 that had died in the Syrian war. But opposition activist groups put the death toll at between 346,612 and 481,612. Whichever is correct, the truth is that people are being killed. But take note that the Syrian was has lingered for 7 years.
Take the United Nations figure of 400,000 and divide it by 7 that will be 57,143 deaths per annum or 4,762 monthly or 1,191 daily deaths in Syria. The situation in Syria is grave. There is full-fledged battle, destruction and anarchy. All the major super powers – Russia, United States and their allies are involved in one side of the conflict or the other. The country is in ruins. The savagery in Syria and of course Iraq has led to the worst humanitarian crisis since after World War II. It is understandable why innocent lives are being wasted in Syria and Iraq. But how does one explain the mass killing that is going on in Nigeria? Why is the situation being treated with kid gloves?
Prior to September 11, 2001, the day terrorists crashed planes onto the World Trade Centre’s twin towers in New York, there was nothing like the Homeland Security Department in the United States. But the 9/11 attacks by the Islamist terrorist group al-Qaeda, which killed 2,996 people and injured over 6,000 others changed the security landscape in America. America saw it as a dark day in its history that shouldn’t happen again. The incident transformed the entire security apparatchiks in the United States.
Consequently, an entirely new Department of Homeland Security was created with a mission to secure America from the many threats it faced. Ever since then, America has never been the same again. The Homeland Security Department had to engage over 230,000 employees in jobs that range from aviation and border security to emergency response, cyber-security analyst to chemical facility inspector, etc. The authorities in the United States are not in any way toying with the security of their people either at home or abroad. The seriousness of America’s government resonates in the mind of the citizens that they are not left alone. If you joke with your enemy, the enemy will not joke with you. The aim of the enemy is to kill you. Nothing less.
Compare this disposition with what is happening in Nigeria. Since 2009, an insurgency group, Boko Haram, has launched ferocious attacks on the Nigerian State and its people. At the initial stage, the Federal Government under President Goodluck Jonathan took it as a domestic uprising that could easily be quelled by the police. But as time went on and the group intensified its attacks on churches, markets, public buildings including the Police Headquarters in Abuja and the United Nations Offices, concerns were raised that Boko Haram was transforming into a well-organised terror group. But the Federal Government didn’t think so. Boko Haram had a field day. It ravaged villages in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States and capped it with the abduction of over 200 young innocent Chibok school girls in April 2014.
When President Muhammadu Buhari took over from Jonathan, the expectation was high. It was thought that the seeming invincibility of Boko Haram would be upturned. As Buhari moved the theatre command headquarters to Maiduguri, the clock began to turn against Boko Haram. Nigerians heaved a sigh of relief as government announced that that Boko Haram has been seriously depleted. But suicide bombers never gave a breathing space. They continued to strike unceasingly killing and maiming innocent people. The adduction of 110 Dapchi school girls again in the past three weeks has put the whole fight to ridicule. How on earth did it happen right at the nose of the security forces?
The Boko Haram insurgency is just one aspect of the insecurity rocking Nigeria. Across the country, as reported by Sunday Vanguard, innocent people are being killed by herdsmen, kidnappers, robbers, ritual killers and cultists. There are also daily road carnages, domestic violence and suicides. Sunday Vanguard lumped them together as violent deaths. What security apparatchiks are there to secure Nigerians from violent deaths particularly herdsmen?
Going by the spate of killings, what extra security measure similar to the Department of Homeland Security of the United States has Nigeria instituted to deal with insecurity that is getting out of control? Nigerians say that the police as presently constituted cannot contain the insecurity. Having state police is surely a way forward. It will go a long way to secure remote communities where the federal police cannot reach.
But instead of giving this need expedited approval and implementation, the Federal Government is dragging feet over it. The issue is being politicized while people are killed daily. How do we live in a country where one is not sure of his life; where life could be snuffed out swiftly and in a very violent manner? The authorities should stop toying with the spate of insecurity that is ravaging the country and scaring investors. If Buhari, as a former military general has problem securing Nigeria, I wonder who else would do it.
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