WE are just in the third month of the year and the most challenging development to our nationhood is the issues bordering on security. From armed robbery, kidnapping, herdsmen’s attacks on farmlands and villagers, rustlers’ gangsterism and not to talk of the mother of all criminality, which is terrorism by insurgents.
While most cynical critics of the Nigerian Armed Forces might shower encomiums on the security’s recent accomplishments in cracking down on the insurgents, especially in the North Eastern parts of the country, there is more to be done by the citizens.
The real cheering news in recent time is the disclosure by the Director, Defence Information,DDI, Major-General Chris Olukolade that many suspected terrorists were captured from their various camps in the fringes of Lake Chad by the Multi-National Joint Task Force and other locations around Dikwa, Cross Kauwa, Kukawa and Alargarmo.
Reports have also indicated that many terrorists were either killed or arrested by a combined force of Nigerian security on a special operation while raiding Sambisa forest, which is the insurgents’ camp in Borno State.
The military has also been successful in continuous tactical offensive air raid on various camps of the insurgents like the Alagarno and Ajiri satellite camps. As a matter of fact, a large chunk of the wounded terrorists are pleading for mercy and as such divulging relevant information with regard to the reminants of their forces.
Even though it is believed that most of the camps of the insurgents have been disbanded following starvation and incessant bombardment, thus inability to fulfill their sinister mission, the security are not resting on their laurels in making sure that insurgency comes to a complete end.
The herculean task of combating insurgency in the country may have diverted the minds of service chiefs and defence headquarters from other security issues in the country. There is the ongoing bloody clash between native Tivs and Fulani herdsmen in Benue State which has assumed a phenomenal status with a lot of blood shed on both sides.
The crisis in Benue began in February 2011, where armed Fulani herdsmen, numbering between 200 and 500, sacked three districts in Gwer West Local Government Area of the state, with scores dead and about 20,000 people rendered homeless. According to media reports, the operation was akin to invasion of the State by members of insurgents. Basically, it starts with a Fulani herdsman or herdsmen driving their cattle into crop farms to graze.
The farmers, in order to protect their crops, farms and livelihood, attack the Fulani or attempt to chase them away. The Fulani retaliate by opening fire or violently defending their cows by killing or maiming the farmers. The conflict escalates as the Fulani migrate from that scene to yet another.
The lives that have been terminated as a result of what seem to be a trivial issue is increasing in geometric progression almost on a daily basis. The recent reports indicate another pattern in Katsina State in the North-West where innocent lives were also lost.
In as much as security operatives are mandated to protect the citizens from criminals and fight terrorists, the citizens too have roles to play in assisting law enforcement agencies by being security conscious.
We should always be security conscious. The recent radio jingle in some selected radio stations by I-Nigerian Renaissance initiative is a welcome development on the basic tips in avoiding insecurity in our various communities. The relevant institutions and media should educate the populace on the need to be security conscious always.
There is need to be vigilant and report any strange movement or development to the security agents. It is a known fact that marauders take time to lay siege after their surveillance before they wreak havoc in our communities. As residents of our areas, we have the responsibility to identify a stranger or any strange object within and around our environment and report such immediately to the relevant authorities.
With the current security situation in the country, security consciousness is not limited to only North Eastern states but every state of the federation. This is due to the fact that the recent crackdown of insurgents in the North East may force their relocation to other states for possible regrouping for their dastard activities.
Security consciousness is not aimed at sending panic to the spines of populace but simply ginger everyone to be alert at all times. There is also a new trend of threat in most states whereby undesirable elements lure children with small things like sweets or biscuits in order to kidnap them.
This why we have to be mindful of the people we entrust with our children. A stitch in time saves nine, just as prevention is better than cure. Therefore we must all be security conscious.
MOSHOOD ISAH a public affairs commenator , wrote from Abuja.