Bandits

IT was only a matter of time before the terrorists which the Federal Government refers to as “Bandits” would descend on Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

In the last couple of years, they have made states such as Kaduna, Niger, Zamfara, Katsina, Kebbi and Sokoto their playgrounds, killing, kidnapping people and abducting school children.

The federal administration has obstinately ignored calls for them to be declared as terrorists and dealt with accordingly.

Emboldened, they have shot down a fighter aircraft, invaded the Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA, in Kaduna killing and abducting officers. They have also attacked the Abuja-Kaduna train service and bombed the rail line.

Over three weeks ago, a National Assembly Correspondent of Vanguard Newspapers, Torque Salem, went missing and is yet to be rescued. Nobody even knows what happened to him or if he is still alive. The invasion of the University of Abuja, UniAbuja, Giri in Gwagwalada Area Council of Abuja a week ago, where six persons (including two professors) were abducted was yet another step taken by the “Bandits” to assert their mounting siege to Abuja.

Abuja is rapidly losing its reputation as a safe city where political leaders and the elite of areas overwhelmed by security challenges in the North come to hide for safety. The Capital City appears to be returning to the grim situation between 2012 and 2014 when terrorists freely carried out suicide bombings and nurtured their cells in its various parts.

The relative safety of Abuja has been one of the bragging points of the supporters of the Buhari regime. With the infiltration of the city by terrorists masquerading as “Bandits” we may be witnessing a security threat worse than the situation before 2015.

It is much easier for a suicide bomber to sneak in and carry out the dastardly act than for a band of criminals to carry out mass abductions of innocent citizens.

Abduction requires much more time and serious gun battle to succeed. For gunmen to spend up to an hour to snatch people from their homes in UNIABUJA amidst sporadic shooting simply means that the security architecture in the city has gone to sleep.

This is not acceptable. We even see situations where security personnel operate like the “Bandits” through midnight assaults on the homes of people seen to be enemies of government.

We restate, once again, that the centralisation of the control of the armed forces, police, security and paramilitary agencies, and their domination by people from a section of the country has negatively affected the willingness and ability of security personnel to protect our people.

Unless this is addressed, no amount of money voted for security will produce results.

Nigerians must be more security-conscious and take personal responsibility for their own safety. 

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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.