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Editorial

Terror Attacks: Nigeria Must Declare Thus Far, No Further

 

Emotions ran high as members of the House of Representatives deliberated on the recent atrocities of terrorists in parts of the country. So distraught were they about the wanton wastage of lives and properties that part of the members’ recommendations was for the chambers to be shut until President Muhammadu Buhari does better in securing the lives of Nigerians. They also recommended that Nigerians should be allowed to bear arms to defend themselves against terrorists who kill just for the fun of it.

The member representing Birnin Gwari/ Giwa federal constituency, Shehu Balarabe, had in a motion of urgent public importance, reported that between March 24 and 28, bandits invaded Birnin Gwari/ Giwa federal constituency, killed scores of people, raped women, destroyed property worth millions of naira and left many displaced.  His words, “The entire communities in Giwa Local Government Area and the entire communities of Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State have been ravaged with series of recent attacks by bandits who indulge in killings, kidnapping, raping, robbery and destruction of properties.

“Between 24th and 28th of March, over 117 people were killed and some corpses are still yet to be recovered; more than 136 people were abducted and over 10,463 people were displaced from their homes. Over 250 houses were burnt, countless cows, goats and other livestock were stolen. Several properties worth millions of naira were destroyed, including vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles, grinding machines and many other households belongings.”

The lawmakers freely expressed outrage in their debate of this motion. Indeed, attacks from these terrorists, who are said to be in their late teens and early twenties, are enough for the entire country to rally with the battle cry: “thus far, no further”. This is in reference to such a deplorable situation where Reps members will unanimously agree to suspend plenary as well as all legislative activities for the day in solidarity with lives lost to frightening insecurity in the country

Interestingly, their ire was sparked by instances of carnage and ruination that didn’t get as much spotlight as Monday night’s terrorist onslaught against passengers in an Abuja to Kaduna train over which was roundly condemned nationwide. No fewer than eight passengers were killed, 41 injured while scores of passengers were abducted. The terrorists had planted improvised explosive devices along the rail track which detonated when the Abuja-Kaduna bound train got to that point, causing the locomotive to derail. Two days prior to the attack, terrorists, numbering over 200, invaded the Kaduna International Airport located in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State, disrupting operation and killing one security personnel of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency.

A lot of carnage is going on in the country which the Nigerian press have relegated to the background because they’ve become all too often as death has become all too common in the country. Most countries will declare a national mourning when the minutest fraction of terrorism Nigerians suffer happen in their land but in this clime, they go on without the President doing as little as address the grieving and anxious nation.

The worst part is that the President and his men have gone beyond caring about citizens’ disappointment with their ineptitude into caring little about what the international community thinks of their woeful failings. Recently, the United States’ Embassy described Nigeria in very unflattering terms when it alerted its nationals intending to visit Nigeria to crude infrastructure and poor security. More recently, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advised its nationals to be wary of travelling to seven northern states of Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe, Kaduna, Katsina and Zamfara.

Granted that every country has its own internal contradictions, Nigeria must not descend to the nadir where the Leader of the ruling party in the House of Representatives would say, “Nigerians should be allowed to also take arms; Nigerians must be allowed to take up arms in defence of their innocent souls and defend their hard-earned properties because it is like a monumental failure. If the agencies of security have failed, then Nigerians should not be seen as failures.” What then is the essence of the state if citizens have to take over the responsibility of defending themselves?

Naija News demands that President Muhammadu Buhari lives up to the oath he swore to protect the lives and property of Nigerians. He must go beyond issuing commands into taking charge of the security of Nigerians. We expect the President to have a Situation Room where he stays on top of security issues in the country. He must roll up his sleeves and work since security is one of the three-point agenda on which he rode to power. He must not shy away from sacking whoever has dropped the ball in the management of Nigeria’s security. We expect to see the sort of alacrity with which coaches are sacked whenever Super Eagles lose matches in the ouster of underperforming and inefficient security chiefs.

Naija News also demands that something must be done about the ungoverned spaces littering parts of the country. Such spaces provide ready fortress for terrorists to hibernate and perpetrate their heinous crimes. Reviving the local government system will go a long way in helping the country reclaim these ungoverned spaces. There is also no denying the fact that the country needs more boots on ground. Barely three hundred thousand soldiers and 400,000 policemen are grossly inadequate to secure a country of 200 million people. All efforts must be put in place to ensure that Nigeria does not continue on this tragic path, part of which is the curbing of the importation and proliferation of arms in the country. Nigerians’ lives must matter!