THE Islamic State, one of the major terrorist networks ravaging the Middle East and other parts of the world, has now established a beachhead in Nigeria. The Department of State Services, DSS, confirmed this after the 2018 New Year Day Benue massacres.
As if to reconfirm this reality British newspapers, notably The Sun, recently reported that the IS is capital
ising on the strong links between Nigeria and the United Kingdom to set up training camps in the Northern parts of the country for the “export” of Nigerian terrorists to wreak havoc in their country. The DSS last week raided an Abuja suburb and arrested three alleged operatives of the Islamic State in West Africa, ISWA, an acolyte of the global IS network.
With the already active presence of Boko Haram terrorists (a faction of which had also sworn allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria ISIS), the armed Fulani militias and cattle-rustling bandits, the confirmation of the existence of IS training camps in the North is hardly surprising. These terror networks have a habit of implanting their viral cells in typical areas where there are conflicts or notable breakdowns of security and governmental control which Nigeria has increasingly become.
The concern being shown by the British media over this development that could threaten their country should also be a wake-up call for the government and people of Nigeria. The danger is already sitting on our laps, and we cannot afford to play the ostrich about it.
Religion-based terrorism is an undeniable challenge of our time, and we must adjust our priorities to confront and stamp it out. The training programmes our military conducts in conjunction with its British and other Western counterparts should be widened to enable us to methodically root out the terrorists’ cancerous cells before they deploy against our citizenry.
We must now take security and intelligence awareness to our general populace, particularly our schools, starting from the lowest level of education. The civil populace should work in tandem with the security agencies to make our country safer. This is no longer a job for the government alone.
More importantly, the need to improve the quality of governance in the country is an inescapable reality staring us in the face. We must painstakingly search for competent leaders who have the love of our country, not just sections of it alone, in their hearts. This has nothing to do with political parties. Only a competent, patriotic leadership can repair our broken security architecture and mobilise the Nigerian people to eliminate those who are in our midst to destroy us.
2019 is our date with destiny, and we must embrace it with ironclad determination to make Nigeria a better governed, more secured country.