#BounceFeature: Dear Nigeria, How Secure Are You?
It is exactly two years that Nigerians heard arguably one of the most memorable statements ever in a presidential inauguration speech.
“I belong to everybody, I belong to nobody,” was the statement by President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29, 2015 and oh…we loved it.
He promised to fight insecurity and corruption to a standstill because these, to him, were the only barriers to Nigeria’s economic prosperity.
Did someone say power nko? Well, perhaps you are the only one who doesn’t know corruption in the power sector is the reason we are still at the mercy of generators and inverters to iron our clothes.
How about the activities of the Niger Delta militants in recent years that have done a lot of harm to Nigeria’s gas installations dealing us a double blow of economic losses and drop in power output?
We do not need to explain the evil that Boko Haram has been to us as a nation.
At the beginning of this administration they were so dreaded that even the election that brought Buhari into leadership in 2015 was postponed.
Expectedly, defeating Boko Haram, ending insecurity and making us “safe again” was a bait Buhari threw at us and why not? After all, he was an Army General and an influential northerner.
Forget about all the politics of alleged nepotism, imbalanced corruption fight and diaspora presidency; Dear Nigeria, the question now after two years is how safe are you?
Boko Haram Defeated?
Buhari’s Government engaged the terrorists in a fierce war the way they never did under Jonathan and we saw results immediately.
Coordinated attacks stopped, Boko Haram fled into the forests, IDPs started returning to their homes, states started rebuilding schools and markets…we can go on.
In the last two years close to one million displaced persons have returned home. 106 of the Chibok girls have regained their freedom, in addition to the thousands of other captives who have been freed.
They also managed to stop the renewed militancy in Niger Delta by showing commitment to truly developing the oil-rich region.
However, the abducted Chibok girls had become the highlight of the struggle for a safer country and it appeared like the major measure of success in the Boko Haram war.
This seems to have become a problem in itself as we are almost made to believe that once the Chibok girls are being recovered in any way – rescued or “bailed”, the war on terror is won.
We cannot say if this is a deliberate strategy by the APC-led government or their communication system is just faulty but we do not seem safer because greater terror now visits homes across the country.
The issue of herdsmen and their atrocities cannot be overemphasized.
Herdsmen are the new Boko Haram and even a worse version because we welcome them into our villages and homes and give them all the comfort they need to harm us.
The Federal Government tells us tackling herdsmen attacks is a state government problem and not Buhari and Osinbajo’s problem but when the states did not create the problem, should the federal government not act fast?
These cold-blooded killers have sophisticated weapons that only their Boko Haram brothers have been wielding and we should not deceive ourselves by assuming they aren’t related.
Kudos to Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State. Love him or hate him, he blazed the trail by doing the needful.
While his Benue and Nasarawa colleagues were busy romancing dialogue, he pushed for a law that limits open grazing and created an agency to enforce restrictions.
The federal government and the National Assembly should have learnt from Fayose's strategy. It pays to be proactive.
Few days before this 2017 Democracy Day, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural development, Audu Ogbeh, announced the Federal Government’s readiness to end the killings.
The idea is to improve the over 415 grazing reserves across the country to minimise the high rate of pastoral migration. More talk no action? We are waiting.
The second problem is the increase in cases kidnapping for ransom. Before whistle-blowing became a trending topic, kidnapping had become the most famous illegal business and still is.
According to the Police in Lagos, between December 2015 and November 2016, a total of 51 official kidnap cases were recorded!
This is alarming, considering some states are more notorious for kidnap than Lagos.
Most annoying is the way they now target schools – our children, our future. Just recently they attacked a school in Epe community, Lagos, for the second time within a year.
We hear the Epe school kidnappers wrote to the school that they were coming, then the Police claimed they laid ambush for the kidnappers but the kidnappers came and left with six students, while police laid ambush.
(Please tell me is this one of Bovi’s comedy skits!)
Dear federal government of Nigeria, our security as a nation is incomplete without a working police force.
Be it herdsmen attacks or the incessant kidnappings, as long as we do not have state police, the federal government has to fight these criminals alone.
The promise by the Buhari administration to fight insecurity has revolved around empowering and restructuring the military and this has worked wonders to an extent in the terror war.
Acting President Osinbajo proudly corroborated this in his 2017 Democracy Day speech: “With new leadership and renewed confidence our gallant military immediately began to put Boko Haram on the back foot.
“We have restored broken-down relations with our neighbours, Chad, Cameroon and Niger – allies without whom the war against terror would have been extremely difficult to win.
“We have re-organized and equipped our Armed Forces, and inspired them to heroic feats; we have also revitalized the regional Multinational Joint Task Force, by providing the required funding and leadership.”
Dear Prof., it is now time to extend same reforms to the Nigerian Police because a more intelligent Police, better equipped and disciplined will help truly keep us safe.
Even the terror fight has been successfully brought to a stage where the police have become more important than ever.
An efficient policing system is expected to prevent some of the cowardly suicide attacks still being carried out in the northeast.
For how shall we live in a democracy that does not guarantee our freedom and security as a people?