June 14, 2024

Synergising against insecurity

Positive narratives necessary for tackling insecurity in North West region - CSO

Zamfara State remains the hotbed of bandit terrorism in Northern Nigeria. It was from here that bandits, consisting mainly of Fulani nomadic herdsmen who turned to crime, spread to nearby states such as Katsina, Kaduna, Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger and the fringes of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Governor of the state, Dauda Lawal, was recently on television and disclosed a number of issues which left one bewildered about the seriousness of our leadership elite. He said the Police and Army have lost their willpower to fight the bandits. Whenever they are needed, they are either nowhere to be found or unwilling to confront the criminals.

This may not be one hundred per cent correct because we still read about the army neutralising three or five bandits from time to time. But obviously, enough is not being done to eliminate this vermin as a threat to the corporate existence of Nigeria. The same fierce power the military demonstrates in their operations in the South does not seem visible in the North, especially states like Benue, Plateau, Taraba, Niger and states in the North West.

Governor Lawal also said the people behind the bandits and where they stay are known, expressing worry that the pressure to negotiate with them is always overwhelming. Finally, he said the obvious: that the President is always updated about the situation.

Nigerians are baffled that our Police, security, Army, Air Force and other paramilitary agencies, with their equipment and full control, cannot defend our people and remove the threat to our nation’s territorial integrity against bike-mounted ragtag bands of criminals whose main weapons are assault rifles and improvised explosives.

At first, we thought the problem was the service chiefs under former President Muhammadu Buhari. Later, we thought it was Buhari’s fault. A new president and fresh service chiefs have since a year ago taken over, yet the situation remains the same. Could it be that we no longer have the armed forces capable of defending this country? What is happening to Nigeria?

We must bear in mind that without securing this country and making its people safe again, the hunger, hardship and extreme suffering ravaging this land will continue to worsen. There is always a breaking point to every tense situation.

We cannot continue to stew in this insecurity for much longer. Something must give. If our armed forces can no longer defend us, the people should be empowered, and they will defend themselves. Many state governments have formed uniformed vigilante outfits. But without arms, they are just window dressings and a further drain on public purses.

We suggest that the armed forces should train and temporarily arm these vigilantes to fight alongside them to end insecurity. Thereafter, they can be disbanded and their arms mopped up.

We cannot continue like this indefinitely!