By Samson Ayuba
I was scared to turn on my radio this morning for fear of listening to another terrible news. The state of insecurity in my beloved country Nigeria has drastically worsened. The one peaceful country is now being gradually torn apart from its insides by the demon called insecurity. Every Nigerian citizen has now been forced to live in constant fear. The country is now bedeviled by jihadist insurgency in the northeast, separatists attacking security forces in the southeast and multiple kidnappings in the northwest.
For long have we known that Security across Nigeria is challenged, with many insurgents’ groups in the north far from defeated, a seeming resurgence of a low-level insurrection in the oil patch, ongoing conflict in the middle of the country over water and land use that sometimes acquires ethnic and religious dimensions, and a general wave of criminality around the country.
Should we say that, “the obvious escalation of banditry and terrorism which has been greatly subdued during and since after the 2019 elections, is now a facade in the hands of this present service chiefs?”
The question we ask now is , given the complexity of the present security challenges we thought was missing in the efforts of the former service chiefs, What have their successors done to ensure success and restore confidence of Nigerians in the security architecture ?
We all know that their appointment came amid calls by Nigerians on the government to urgently address the security challenges we are facing. But with what we are experiencing in just few weeks after the appointment of the new chiefs, Isn’t all these calling for an act of apology to the former Chiefs?
The question one would ask is, “what are the service chiefs doing at this critical time when the country is plagued with endless security crises?”
Bandits and terrorists have now taken over the country and now use it as their playground for hunting and shooting practice. The painful thing is that they carry out their atrocious acts so confidently that you wonder if the country has no security present in it. Kidnapping and senseless killings have now become the order of the day in the country known to the whole world as the giant of Africa.
The number of incident reports from the press recently is alarming. Just recently, news broke of the abduction of several students at Greenfield University in Kaduna State. Two of the abducted students were killed shortly after their abduction while three more dead bodies of those kidnapped were found three days later in a village close to the University. Earlier that day, there had also been a report of attacks by the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), in Borno and Yobe States in which several people were killed and over two thousand residents fled their homes. This was a follow up to the abduction of nine students in Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi, Benue State. Several incidents of killings kidnappings were also reported that same day Kaduuna, Oyo and Osun states.
The violence in the country reached an all time high on the 26th of Apri, the day in which there were many killings in several parts of the country such as Niger, Benue, Kebbi, Yobe, Lagos, Anambra, Imo and Lagos States. Many described that day as “Black Monday.” The Nigerian military were not spared by the killings as the following day, several security personnel were killed by unknown gunmen in Rivers State.
There has been growing anger amongst the public over the recent increase in violence in the country. The citizens of Nigeria have begun to lose their faith in the Nigerian military. The economic state of the country has been greatly crippled thanks to the bold terrorists and bandits. Banditry and terrorism has made it very difficult for farmers to farm and also transport their produce. Foreign investors have begun to have second thoughts on investing in the country.
The efforts put in by the past service chiefs are commendable. They might not have completely defeated terrorism and banditry in Nigeria, but they did their very best to combat insecurity in the nation. In contrast to the action of the current service chiefs, I remember the former Chief of Amy Staff of Nigeria, General Tukur Buratai who relocated to the north-east which was the forefront of the battle against terrorism This gallant act of his helped boost the morale of the army which lead to the defeat of a significant number of terrorist elements and restored hope to the people of that region.
The current service chiefs should take some lessons from the past service chiefs who gave their best at the warfront. They should wake up from their slumber and lead the armed forces to win the war against insecurity in the nation. I cal on the service chiefs to remember wars are never fought in their homes or offices. The war is fought on the battlefield therefore; they must rise to their feet and lead their soldiers to the battlefield.
They should come up with plans and strategies to deal an effective counter attack against insurgents and Bandits. They must now hearken to the cries and the wails of the Nigerian people and carry out the mandate assigned to them by the president. They made several promises, but words are nothing without actions. They must act now and make the country a safer place to live in.
Some of the very overzealous officers who were eager to become chiefs had made several promises to their godfathers on how best to protect citizens of the country but are now failing terribly. In their bid to become service chiefs, they turned the armed forces into a political arena and after being appointed service chiefs, they have suddenly gone AWOL in the theatre of war. Several men of the armed forces are now being brutally murdered. The numbers of security forces being brutally murdered daily has risen to an all time high. Soldiers now run from terrorists like rats into their holes. The battle against terrorism which the country was previously winning is now engulfing the country. Thousands of innocent Nigerian citizens have been displaced from their homes and are now moving into various IDP centres across the country.
The current service chiefs seem clueless as to what to do to lift the nation up from the pit of crisis that it is gradually falling into. They are nowhere to be found in the face of the war against banditry and terrorism. The service chiefs have suddenly turned to special assistants to the NSA and Chief Details to the Defence Minister, roles which they were not appointed for. They are expected to be forefront of the action leading the army and not reveling in their various mansions while our patriotic soldiers are being mercilessly slaughtered.
Instead of seeing Boko Haram and other terror groups as the enemies, Nigerians are being manipulated into seeing the military as their enemy while inconsequential differences like religion and ethnicity are highlighted to the zenith, not knowing that our gallant soldiers are being plummeted in battle like rats into sands, our territories are being taken on daily basis by Boko Haram and the battle which we were once winning under the previous chiefs has now overtaken the country.
However , at the bottom of it all is that Nigerians want to be secure from increasing attacks by kidnappers, bandits , Boko Haram insurgents and criminal herders , among others, which they felt the former service chiefs could not guarantee.
Our citizens are gnashing their teeth in pains, starvation is of high increase due to stolen farm lands by these bandits through their bloody oppressions, and people have been moving into IDPs Centre across the country because of the fear of loosing more loved ones.
We plead with our new service chiefs to take up the mantles that were placed in their hands. Our flag is green and white, History shouldn’t put it to their face that they painted it “RED” during their time.
Our new service chiefs should know that they are leaders of war against insurgency, they must be ready to lead from the front. They must wake up to go beyond words by staying with our troops in the theatre of war. Our troops need the moral and support to fight, they need your presence to remain gallant in every confrontations.
President Buhari has always been giving his unrelenting effort in cash and kind, in support of seeing an end to Terrorism and banditry in the country.
He once said “We have a lot of work ahead of us and some of the things not said is to not compromise the security and the efforts being put by the law enforcement agencies. But, really, we are acutely aware of our responsibilities. Our responsibility is to secure the country, so we have a lot of work to do.
I plead with our service chiefs not to frustrate his invested efforts. We need action, we want solutions, and we want result.
God bless the President,
God bless Nigeria.
Ayuba contributed this piece from Lokoja.