Insecurity in the land
Contrary to the expectations of compatriots after the current administration came into office, a general feeling of insecurity and helplessness is on the increase in the land. From brutal kidnappings, armed robberies, ritual killings, suicide bombings in the North eastern part of the country, rampaging and murderous Fulani herdsmen, to the ugly rumours of politicians unduly hobnobbing with members of the Armed Forces in order to destabilise the nation, Nigerians are worried that they have been given the short end of the stick. In all of this, the security forces appear to be helpless as well. The Police, especially charged with internal security virtually lie prostrate in the face of security challenges. Indeed, Nigerians no longer have the inner confidence that the State can actually protect lives and property and provide a climate where prosperity could spring from.
Added to this is the tension caused by the rising cost of living. Inflation, power failure, job losses, failing businesses, the abysmal rate of exchange of the naira to other currencies, unemployment, and a feeling of despondency leading to an increase in suicide rate are challenges we also face. People are disenchanted with the current Federal government because of its failure to address the basic daily problems, which confront them. Uncertainty about the fate of the economy and how to face the future is also a major concern.
Ensuring general security is the main duty of government to the people. Any government, which fails to guarantee the safety of life and property is not worth its salt. In Nigeria, internal security is the responsibility of the Nigeria Police. The intelligence arm of the Police, along with other security agencies such as the Department of State Security, (DSS), are charged with gathering intelligence with a view to thwarting acts that could be detrimental to the nation. Furthermore, after criminal acts have been carried out, the Police ought to be able to fish out the culprits. Our experience has been that criminals of some dastardly crimes are hardly ever caught. Intelligence gathering has failed. Crime prevention is abysmal. Crime detection appears worse.
Of late, kidnapping has entered into the realm of ‘familiar’ crimes. Countless families have been subjected to the trauma of abductions. In some cases there is loss of life. Ransom is paid. The victim is the released. Indeed, some families would rather negotiate with the kidnappers than report to the Police. The time has come for the Nigeria Police to develop a counter-measure to this menace. Kidnapping ought to be contained given the level of telecommunication equipment, which are available in the market.
Also very distressing are reported cases of criminals who masquerade as herdsmen to perpetrate wanton acts of destruction of lives and property across the country. Benue, Kaduna, and Delta States have borne the brunt of these attacks. Some citizens became victims of the vicious attacks while carrying out the basic simple task of tending their crops in their farms. While in Benue State the Agatu massacre has gone down in history as one of the most deadly attacks in modern Nigeria history, the scoundrels are said to be deeply embedded in Ethiope East Local Government area of Delta State. A State legislator representing the Local government under reference has cried out that helicopters bring supplies to the herdsmen who had no authority in the first place to lodge in the area. Ekiti State has passed legislation to curb the menace of herdsmen whose cattle graze on farms meant for agricultural produce. The Federal Government has not taken any concrete steps to deal with the situation.
Sadly, the barbaric act of ritual killing is still present with us. Some depraved citizens still believe that offering a human being for sacrifice is a gateway to prosperity. Reports of disappeared children or ladies are rife. Sometimes, corpses are found with missing body parts. Unlike their counterparts in other climes who pursue mysterious murder cases to a logical conclusion the Nigeria Police is not known to take this task seriously. For example, it is on record that the British Police came to Benin City Nigeria on account of a torso they found floating in River Thames.
One of the obligations of power, which the people entrusted to the All Peoples’ Congress (APC) government is to create and sustain an atmosphere in the polity where individual and collective security is guaranteed. The President and his government, the Nigeria Police under the Inspector General and his men should rise to the occasion and reassure all that the situation can be controlled. The Federal Government should make affirmative pronouncements and take concrete actions to instill confidence in the people.