By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
Irked by the incessant bloodletting in Nigeria especially in the North, the National Association of Seadogs, NAS, Kaduna branch, has called on the Federal Government to declare full blown war against terrorists and bandits behind the ongoing murder in the country.
NAS, otherwise known as Pyrates Confraternity has also told the government to be alive to its constitutional role of protection of life and property and stop the daily rhetoric and issuance of press releases commiserating with families of the victims of the dastardly act.
The Kaduna Chapter of NAS, in a statement issued by its Capoon, Henry Nduka Onyiah, vociferously echoes the sentiments variously expressed with respect to regarding declaring full blown war against the criminal elements and restoring integrity to the Nigerian territory from within by reclaiming all spaces for the peaceful enjoyment and utilisation by residents.
The group in the statement called for a state of emergency to be declared if necessary.
NAS reiterated the urgent need for the implementation of an end to end strategy for not just the restoration but the long-term maintenance of law and order in all parts of Nigeria.
“In addition to this, those charged with the responsibility for implementing and operationalising the strategy must themselves be fully held personally culpable for lapses within their areas of responsibility.
“There is a need to consistently review performance and dispense with identified incompetence without prejudice and delay,” it said.
It further said with sincerity of purpose, the security problem is not insurmountable.
According to the statement, “The last several weeks has seen an intensification of the activities of criminal elements in various parts of Kaduna State from the series of terrorist attacks by bandits in Giwa Local Government Area to the resurgence of a wave of attacks and violence around the Jema’a/Kaura/ Zangon Kataf Local Governments Area, all resulting in various harms to innocent residents.
“This progressed to a breach of the Kaduna Airport perimeter about a week ago and then barely a few days after, perhaps working to a predetermined and expertly scripted plan, an attack on a Kaduna bound train resulting in the murder, injury and abduction of passengers on board the train – an unprecedented act that we struggle to find precedence anywhere in the world.
“As if motivated to demonstrate the perceived hollowness of the oft repeated assurances by the Government about her determination to contain these criminal elements, the Ungwar Bulus community in the Sabon Tasha area within the Greater Kaduna Metropolis (and in the immediate vicinity of the Kaduna Petrochemical & Refining Company) was again attacked resulting in the loss of lives and abductions during the night of Thursday 31st March forcing residents to flee their homes and seek refuge in neighbouring communities overnight. In the intervening period, there has been several unconfirmed reports of attacks on the Kaduna – Abuja Highway.
“The Kaduna Chapter of the National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) while viewing the current situation through the lenses of residents of Kaduna State, considers it indeed bewildering that despite the clear identification of what needs to be done to mitigate against the high risk of various harms to law abiding residents, as well as damage and destruction of property including critical infrastructure by criminal elements acting with astronomically increasing frequency and ruthlessness, the response of the government appears to be one driven by an inordinately high threshold and appetite for risk that gives the impression that what is an abnormality appears to be accepted as normal.
“From whatever angle residents look, there appears to be glaring evidence of a wide gulf between the constitutionally defined primary purpose of government to provide security and welfare of the people on one hand and the perceived attitude in respect of this purpose by those in whom is vested executive powers of the Federation on the other.
“Those to whom have been exclusively assigned matters relating to Defence, the Military as well as the Police and other government security services established by law (by which security as well as law and order may be provided and maintained for the good of the society) appear not to fully understand that central to their function are the citizens and legal residents of Nigeria for whom the Constitution establishes and affirms as fundamental, and ordinarily inviolable, the rights to life, dignity of human person, personal liberty as well as freedom of movement, amongst others.
“For several months during the latter half of 2021, at the instance of the Kaduna State Government acting in concert with Security Agencies, telecommunication services were switched off as part of steps to address the security situation in Kaduna State.
“This was with great cost and inconvenience especially to the residents of Kaduna who chose to bear it with stoicism while viewing it as a temporary hardship whose pay off was to be a drastic improvement in the security situation. Yet the activities of these criminal elements have continued with impunity much to our collective consternation.
“Despite the unquantifiable loss of lives, the devastating effects on families and by extension the detrimental impact on the society, the Government appears, in the eyes of residents, to be functioning on the basis of accommodating a co-existence with criminal elements for the time being till they are ready to figure out what to do.
“The National Security Adviser who is meant to function in the capacity of the Coordinator of National Security appears to be thunderously silent amidst the tempest of insecurity raging through our communities. Instead, all we are getting are press releases and public statements from various quarters repeating assurances that are wearing thin.
“His Excellency, The Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El Rufai lends credence to the opinion that we hold regarding this disconnect, given his recent references to the actual existence of real time intelligence on these criminal elements which is not being acted upon by the relevant agencies in a timely, proactive and coordinated manner.
“The Honourable Minster for Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi has also alluded to what appears to be a clash between veiled interests on either side as well as lack of transparency with respect to the procurement of what was meant to be an urgently required service and/or function designed to meet the objective of averting clearly identified danger to commuters on the Kaduna – Abuja Rail line as well as to what is unarguably critical national infrastructure.
“The same disconnect may be observed with respect to the implementation of linking National Identity Numbers (NIN) with SIM cards which His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari as well as the Honourable Minister of Communications Technology and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami have at various times described as a formidable tool necessary for combatting insecurity by being able to identify people and thus close a crucial gap in our security structure.
“This is despite the fact that since 2010, for the purpose of tackling security challenges facing the country by criminals using mobile phones to perpetuate kidnapping, robbery and other criminal activities, it has been mandatory for SIM cards to be registered by owners using their biometric details and a means of identification.”
The association recalled the huge fine imposed on MTN in 2015 for the existence of 5.2 million improperly registered SIMs after yet another of the several deadlines that were issued by the NCC with respect to deactivating improperly registered SIMs.
It said, “A similar aspect is that of the Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) scheme which is meant to ensure that only those who have registered for a BVN can have access to banking services.
Again, it is also public “knowledge that domiciled within the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the security agencies such as the Department of State Security (DSS), National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) amongst others is the capacity and capability to track and monitor telecommunications.
“Yet, despite all these and the overwhelming desire and full cooperation as well as support of the greater number of law-abiding members of the society in delivering these schemes in response to the perceived greater good, nothing tangible appears to be manifesting in respect of improvement in security as well as the maintenance of law and order.
“A poignant illustration of the insensitivity of those in whom responsibility is vested can be seen in the ridiculous situation where the managements of the Nigeria Police Force and the Police Service Commission were up in arms with each other over who had the right to recruit officers and men for Nigeria Police Force and stalling the much urgently required recruitment exercise as a result.
“This is happening at a time when members of the Armed Forces are stretched thin and paying the ultimate price on constabulary duties due to the blackhole in policing as a result of insufficient police personnel.”