The The terrorist attack on President Muhammadu Buhari’s forward convoy in Dutsinma, Katsina State is a bad omen and a wake-up call for the President to bring the terrorists under control. That the convoy of the country’s number one citizen could be attacked so harshly means no one is safe. This means that the terrorists challenge the security agents. On the same day, insurgents attacked the medium security prison in Kuje, Abuja, showing how far the country has sunk into the abyss of insecurity. The convoy, which included an advance team of security guards, protocol officers and media, was lucky to escape with no casualties. Only two people were reportedly slightly injured.
Earlier, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Aminu Umar, and another policeman were killed in a terrorist ambush in Dutsinma, Katsina State. Umar and his team were said to be taking part in a mine clearance operation when the terrorists, numbering more than 300, ambushed and killed them.
The events of the past few weeks indicate that the terrorists have the upper hand. They have killed and continue to kill innocent people in places like Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto, Ondo and many more. A few days ago, bandits ambushed and killed no less than 48 people, including 34 soldiers, about eight policemen and at least six residents in Shiroro, Niger State. Security men were responding to a distress call from a mining site in the community when they were ambushed. Some of the miners were also abducted.
In seven months under Buhari, more than 3,478 people were killed and 2,256 abducted in Nigeria. In March and April alone, around 606 and 530 innocent people respectively were reportedly killed in terrorist attacks in the country. This belies the federal government’s oft-repeated claim that terrorists have been degraded.
We need to stop living in denial. We need to go back to the drawing board to find out where and how the rain started hitting us. A major problem is that our borders are too porous, as all kinds of people enter the country unhindered. Dangerous and sophisticated weapons are easily smuggled into the country.
Although the government has managed to purchase some weapons, the money budgeted for the purchase of weapons is largely not well accounted for. The other day, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC) reportedly discovered around 1.85 billion naira in cash intended for the purchase of arms and ammunition in someone’s house in Abuja. In March 2021, National Security Advisor Babagana Monguno alleged that funds amounting to billions of naira were missing for the purchase of arms and ammunition under the heads of the former services. He said the president would investigate the matter. So far, the outcome of this investigation (if any) remains uncertain.
Already, some foreign countries have warned their citizens against traveling to certain places in Nigeria. Foreign direct investment, which we desperately need, will be a mirage if the situation continues. The general elections of 2023 will also be threatened.
It is understood that the primary responsibility of any government is the protection of life and property. The Nigerian state therefore cannot abdicate this responsibility to non-state actors. We call on the federal government to engage the terrorists in a full-scale war. He can ask for foreign aid if need be. Now is the time to fully deploy the Tucano fighter jets recently purchased from the United States. Now is the time to increase the numerical strength of the police and other security agencies. Security agencies must also be well equipped and trained to match the firepower of terrorists.
There is a need to share intelligence between security agencies. It is appalling that the Katsina attacks could have happened without the security agencies being informed beforehand. Therefore, it is not surprising that President Buhari expressed his disappointment with the country’s intelligence system following the Kuje prison attack. The president should, however, go beyond expressing his disappointment and condemning the terrorist attacks. Let him completely overhaul the security system.
Upon taking office, Buhari promised to fight insecurity, fight corruption and fix the economy. He must strive to achieve them. In addition, he should order the arrest and prosecution of all those who misappropriated money intended for the purchase of arms and ammunition. Anyone found guilty should be dealt with summarily.
Above all, the president must motivate the soldiers and other security agents. Their dues must be paid in full when due. The security situation in Nigeria has become an emergency and we can never progress as a country if it is not adequately addressed.