#BounceRewind2018: Our Security, Their Crimes, Lessons Learnt
There is no shame in starting a year’s review with the ridiculous.
By now you know that Nigeria has not defeated Boko Haram, no need packaging issues with big words like decimated and technically handicapped.
We now also know that politics is the biggest breeder of crimes and the major promoter of the state of insecurity in the country.
The official residence of the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu was invaded by hoodlums suspected to be assassins.
Just a week before Christmas - December 18, former Chief of Defence Staff in Nigeria, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, was killed by gunmen along Abuja-Keffi Road.
That was a 4-star general in the Armed Forces of Nigeria effortlessly taken out.
It happened just two months after the decomposing body of Major General Idris Alkali, who had been declared missing was found in a shallow grave in Plateau state, apparently killed by "bloody civilians" who might have had access to weapons.
So, who is safe in Nigeria?
From Boko Haram to herdsmen attacks, armed robberies, cultism and the many other challenges plaguing our country, 2018 has taught us that politics is the reason these evils seem so difficult to end.
Therefore, we look back at the events in the outgoing year that validated this view.
Boko Haram; "Technically Undefeated"
The February 19 abduction of Dapchi girls was the first way Boko Haram proved to us that they still had northeast Nigeria in their grip.
The inability of the government to show a clear understanding of the matter at the time should have been a signal that we were in trouble.
But unlike the Chibok abduction that has gone on for years, the Dapchi girls were recovered exactly one month after they were ‘shipped’ out.
The government had to bail them and for the love of humanity and in showing sensitivity to the plight of the parents in agony, Nigerians overlooked the manner of recovery and all the talk of big ransom paid.
Stories of soldiers being ill-equipped and unpaid have also returned to the media with the government doing all to deny.
The biggest surprise regarding our national security in 2018 was the November 18 attack on a military base at Matele Kukawa Local Government Area of Borno State.
By official figures, at least 44 soldiers were killed while dozens of others were left wounded by Boko Haram insurgents in what was a major embarrassment for the Buhari administration.
And just while we were celebrating Christmas, 13 soldiers and two police personnel also lost their lives when they ran into an ambush by the insurgents on Damaturu-Maiduguri Road.
These several Boko Haram attacks of 2018 have shown Nigerians that their military may no longer be strong enough to protect them.
So bold that they have returned to attacking military bases.
How safe are the rest of us without escorts?
Going by the way politicians tried to score cheap points with the situations we faced in 2018, it is obvious that the security of Nigerians is nothing more than a campaign bait to the political class.
What a shame!
Just on Christmas Day, the PDP asked APC's President Buhari to sack his service chiefs following Boko Haram’s attack on Kukareta community in Yobe State, as well as the worsening security situation in Zamfara State caused by armed bandits.
This, dear Nigerians, is all politicians do - talkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk!
Offa Robbery; A Tragedy of Politics
This must be one of the biggest crime stories of 2018.
Nigeria was thrown into shock when a gang of armed robbers stormed Offa, a town in Kwara State, and robbed five banks in a classical arrangement that beat security agencies.
The robbery sent shock waves to other states in western Nigeria and even beyond, raising concerns about the safety of lives and property in other states.
Two days after that unusual robbery, the police arrested seven suspects, and this led to further arrests and confessional statement that threatened to bring Nigeria down.
Police said five gang leaders indicted Senate President Bukola Saraki, after confessing that they were political thugs of the Senate President and the Governor of Kwara State, Abdulfatah Ahmed.
Guilty or not, we never got to know but dramatic accusations, invitations turning to letters, and all sorts political statements were all we got.
One question we cannot take off our minds is how political thugs became armed robbers.
Too much arms in their possession that they felt tempted to make more money?
So much access to powerful people that they started feeling invincible?
Or the pain of being used and dumped after 2015 election and we had to pay for it?
As citizens, we can only imagine these things until the police tell us what they managed to get before the prime suspect died mysteriously in detention.
The 2019 elections are here, and Nigerians worry how many more armed robbers would be bred by the do-or-die approach of our politicians.
Have the police learned any lessons or gotten some clues about what not to ignore as we prepare to "vote and protect our votes" in 2019?
Lagos; Battle With Cultism, Robbery
The security of Lagos remains important as the economic and commercial hub of the country.
Lagos fared better in 2018, compared to the previous year. January kicked off with a massive victory for the police and indeed Lagosians over the so-called Badoo cult.
The Police commissioner led his men to bust a shrine at Ayegbami quarters, Imosan in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun state, where suspected Badoo cult members took oath before going on operations.
The operation also marked the fall of Alese, their herbalist, born Fatai Adebayo. Like a remote-controlled TV, the once loud and lousy cult group went mute.
We continued to record arrests and parades of crime suspects. Somehow, there were also many crimes busted before they were executed, and the police were happy to show off their successes.
The Lagos police boss quickly built a reputation as one who knows how to use the media. The good thing is that it shows who is in charge.
We also saw what looked like a surge in the arrest of sex offenders. There were several cases of incest, child rape, sodomy and more reported by victims or their relatives.
This, surely, is a good sign that citizens are learning to speak out. It can also be attributed to Lagosians trusting the police more, another gain of the improvement in their community relations.
However, the emergence of the Awawa Boys became a source of worry in the last quarter, but the threat seemed to have died almost immediately it emerged.
Never will Lagosians allow another Badoo happen on them again but while the election is important, this must be one of the matters the police would pay attention to in 2019.
Another threat to the peace and security of Lagosians is traffic robbery which the police and other law enforcement agencies must find a solution to.
Looking Ahead, Learning From Our Present
Going into the election year, it is common sense to expect that the security of lives and property will be threatened across the country.
We are not yet over the politics of do or die and we have started hearing stories of politicians bringing back their old hatchet men.
If not checkmated, these lazy youths who do the dirty job for politicians would be abandoned again after the polls but guess what, the society will suffer their anger - Yes 2Pac's THUGLIFE is a universal principle.
Arms and ammunition would be finding their way through the borders and straight into the hands of delinquent youths with nothing to lose.
The police across the states made 2018 that year they went on a mission to recover illegal arms but how well have they done?
Herdsmen, cultists, armed robbers and others would be waiting to pounce on the leftover guns and bullets.
As for Boko haram, AAC Presidential candidate, Omoyele Sowore, has described it as a business venture and vowed to fire every army general that has been involved in the fight if he is elected as President.
In a country where two successive governments have failed to solve the Boko Haram puzzle, radical views like Sowore’s will get some look in.
But, can a major shake-up in the military solve the Boko Haram problem?
How about a major shake-up in government? How about a shake-up in the polity? How about a shake-up in our heads on the value of life?
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