With the Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorism seemingly dying down in the North East, Nigerians have to brace up for the possibility that the North West may have increasingly become the new terror epicentre of the country.
On July 19, 2021, an Alpha military jet was shot down by the militant groups which government calls “bandits” on the Zamfara/Kaduna boundary area.
The infiltration of the Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA, fortress, killing of two middle-level officers and abduction of another by yet another group of armed hoodlums in fake military uniforms on Tuesday, August 24, 2021, brought to a new low the parlous security situation in the country.
The ability of these “bandits” to bring down a military aircraft and gun after Nigeria’s foremost tertiary military academy sends a clear message that these are no longer just bandits. These are full-fledged Jihadist terror groups directly targeting the Federal Government’s military might.
These groups, which started off as “cattle rustlers”, have amassed enough fortunes from their kidnapping and school abduction “businesses” to morph into terror forces now hitting our armed forces at will.
This is also coming at a time the herdsmen militias killing and devastating rural communities in Southern Kaduna, Plateau, Benue and Taraba states have intensified their attacks, while thousands of youth of questionable backgrounds are being shipped in trailer loads into all states in the South, to the alarm of the law-abiding residents.
Millions of frightened Nigerians are left to wonder what is really going on. What is happening to our once mighty Nigerian Armed Forces, which were able to keep Nigeria one during the Civil War and bring peace back to war-torn Liberia and Sierra Leone? Why is the once dominant military power in West Africa no longer able to defend itself against motorcycle-mounted armed hoodlums who have obviously become a new frontier of terrorism?
The most baffling part of it is that the security of our country has been nosediving in inverse proportion to the increasingly humongous allocations to Defence. Official data indicates that over N5trn of our annual budgets have been committed to the military for our defence in the past six years. This excludes allocations to the Police and the security agencies.
The belief in many quarters is that we can only successfully defend our country when all hands are on deck. Anything contrary to that will give way to corruption, sabotage of the national interest and the pursuit of tribal agendas, especially by those who prefer to monopolise our nation’s armed and security forces.
And unless appropriate steps are taken to prevent this, no amount of budgetary spending or reshuffling of command structure will restore our security. Government must return to the path of rectitude and put back the security of Nigeria in the hands of ALL Nigerians.