By John Amoda
THE Vanguard of Monday May 13, 2013 carries a story titled, “Terrorist may over-run Nigeria”. In it, the Senate President, David Mark “warned … that unless everybody comes together to tackle the security challenges, the perpetrators might over run the country…
The Senate President who expressed grave concern over the continued killings and wanton destruction of property in the country argued that foreigners who might be accused of being sponsors of members of Boko Haram sect currently terrorizing some parts of the country could not succeed if Nigerians were not involved internally as willing tools for the deadly act”.
In the Sunday Vanguard May 12, 2013, Lt Colonel Sagir Musa wrote on the “Proliferation of small arms and light weapons” and observed that arms trafficking “is increasingly and dangerously becoming a transnational organised crime in Nigeria with Boko Haram’s insurgency, re-emerging Niger Delta crises and escalating kidnapping, communal crises and armed robbery in the South East providing impetus for arms trafficking”. Daily reports of the deadly uses to which these arms are put provide gory headlines in the newspapers.
This past month of June began with the Vanguard Saturday news carrying the story headlined: “Herdsmen massacre 17, several hundreds flee homes in Benue”. The following is from the story: “Despite efforts by security agencies to stem the recurrent invasions of parts of Benue State by armed Fulani herdsmen, no fewer than 17 persons have been killed in Akough Village in Guma Local Government Area of the State by suspected Fulani mercenaries.
The herdsmen razed Akough market, where some persons were also killed. Saturday Vanguard gathered from eyewitness that the armed attackers stormed the village three days ago at the early hours of the day, burning down houses and huts, leaving several persons dead, while many others sustained varying degrees of injuries. The development has forced several hundreds of people to flee their homes for fear of being attacked in another onslaught”.
The Sunday Vanguard of June 30 2013 confirms the routines of Fulani Herdsmen campaign of terror. The story titled “How Fulani insurgents raided Plateau” reads as follows: “More light has been shed on how suspected Fulani insurgents who raided some village in Langtang South Local Government Area of Plateau State on Thursday engaged members of the Special Task Force, STF, maintaining security in the state in cross-fire for over two hours. Sunday Vanguard learnt that the apparently well-armed attackers in a show of power took on soldiers of the STF who moved to the area following a distress call, but lost 20 men in the process.
It was learnt that the assailants having had a field day at Maguma where they killed eight people and were taking the onslaught to Karkishi when the STF members halted their advance”. The front page of Monday Vanguard of June 1, 2013 carries news of Boko Haram war against the JTF.
The news reads as follows: “Maiduguri- Joint Task Force, JTF, weekend killed no fewer than 50 suspected terrorists in Zabarmen Ward of Jere Local Government Area of Borno State”. In the same issue of Vanguard, Dayo Johnson reports from Akure: “At least 30 gun men in the early hours of yesterday (Sunday June 30, 2013) stormed the Olukuta Medium Security Prison in Akure, Ondo State Capital and set free about 175 inmates, mainly those standing trial for robbery”.
The catalogue of armed violence operations by insurgents and armed gangs confirms the routines of armed violence in the Nigerian society on the one hand, and the ongoing civil war campaigns by the JTF against a Boko Haram insurgency on the other hand. Society in Nigeria characterized by such widespread use of lethal violence by armed gangs is unsecured by prevailing order of central authority.
And the Nigeria Police Force and the internal security agencies have been challenged by the problems of societal lawlessness and disorders. The Army has had to make control and management of this crisis of societal disorder its primary and present responsibility. The Army has found itself called upon to man the Special Task Forces, STF, and the Joint Task Force, JTF and the strain from the burden of these dual responsibilities have become alarming.
The Chief of Army Staff called the attention of the public to this fact on May 8, 2013 in Abeokuta as thus reported in the May 9, 2013 Vanguard issue: “Chief of Army Staff Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika yesterday lamented that the increasing wave of socio-political and ethno-religious violence recorded in different parts of the country was draining the resources of the Nigerian Army.
The Army boss said: ‘No doubt, you are aware of the increasing wave of socio-political and ethno-religious crisis threatening the nation’s security lately. This has assumed a high dimension, witnessing spates of bombings and attacks on Key Points, KPs; Vulneratile Points, VPs and other strategic areas of interest in the country. This has left serious demands on Nigeria Army resources.
We also know that funding is fundamental to containing these security challenges. Success in this pursuit therefore calls for prudent and efficient management and application of available funds”. Much more than efficient management of available funds will be required for the STF’s response to the security situation of the Nigerian society whose condition of anarchy is deliberately albeit for now, uncordinately engineered.
And herein lies the seriousness of Nigeria’s societal security condition; that is, the ever-present possibility that that which is now uncoordinated can with change of the leadership of the agents of this condition of disorder lead them to unite and to effect the overthrow of the Federal Government. This is presently the case with the neighbouring Central African Republic where SELEKA, a coalition of five insurgent groups are presently the rulers of that country.
There is, therefore, need for the scope of the societal crisis to be appreciated and the dynamics of its development and expansion to be determined. For both tasks a root-cause analysis of the structure of the Nigerian society is required. It is the appreciation of the failures of the structure of the Nigeria society that has been the underlining raison d’etre for the call for a conference on the condition of the society and for the consequences of this condition to be adequately addressed”.