Today, Nigerians joined the rest of the world in welcoming the year 2021. One critical issue that will engage Nigerians’ attention in the New Year is the insecurity across the country. Prominent Nigerians, including Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar, and Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Hassan Matthew Kukah, have bemoaned the worsening security.
For Sultan, the North has become the worst place to live in the country, as bandits now have the freewill of moving from house to house, village to village, market to market, with AK 47 guns openly. The monarch added that given the “completely collapsed security system in the North, sincere and serious solutions must immediately be sought or else, the country would lose itself in the grip of insecurity.”
In his Christmas homily titled, “A Nation in Search of Vindication,” Kukah warned that Nigeria was at the verge of becoming a failed state given the increasing rate of terrorism, banditry and mass abductions in different parts of the country. Kukah also alerted Nigerians on the dangers of the nation becoming unable to feed itself as a result of the insecurity in mostly agrarian communities, stressing that food insecurity was a dangerous sign of state failure and a trigger to more violence.
President Muhammadu Buhari, last week, told a beleaguered nation that solutions to the security challenges were not as simple as people thought. Rather, Buhari said that he would remain focused on following the complex, multidimensional route to reducing the incidents of insecurity to the barest minimum.
The President stated that providing security for all residents in the country remained an article of faith for him “as security formed a vital segment of his administration’s three-point agenda right from inception.”
He also asked Nigerians to give the military and other security agencies more time, cooperation and support by volunteering credible information on activities of bandits, insurgents and other criminal elements within their communities in order to put an end to the wave of insecurity across the country.
He said: “I cannot in good conscience shirk this cardinal responsibility to secure lives and property. I feel pained each time a breach of peace and security occurs in any part of the nation.
I am even more distressed when our youths, especially school children, are the targets and victims of mindless and malevolent elements in the society.” The President said that his administration would “remain unyielding in confronting the Boko Haram insurgency as well as other forms of criminality that have bedevilled our country.” Indeed, it would be uncharitable and dishonest to say that Buhari has not achieved anything in the fight against insurgents, bandits, kidnappers and all manners of insecurity in the country since he assumed office in 2015.
At least, we know that for the Boko Haram insurgents, they have been limited to Borno and Yobe states, where they now operate and attack soft targets, as the government would say. We also know that the military has battled the bandits in the North-West to a reasonable extent. But we note with dismay that efforts and gallantry of the military in the battle against insecurity has been subsumed by the victories recorded against the country by the criminal elements, particularly in the North-East and North-West. We cannot forget the recent killing of over 40 farmers in Borno State by insurgents.
There have been other killings in the state. By the same token, the kidnap of over 300 students of the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara in the president’s home state of Katsina was a major statement by the criminals. We thank God that the children were rescued alive.
That kidnap bore a similar mark with that of Dapchi, Yobe State, two years ago, where about 105 girls were kidnapped from their school. Till date, Leah Sharibu, a Christian girl that refused to denounce her faith, is still in the custody of the insurgents. Whether alive or dead is now a matter of conjecture.
We have not mentioned the kidnaps, rapes, maiming and killings that have become daily issues in the North-West, North- East and other parts of the country. The South-West is having its fair share of the crisis.
The scale might not be that much in the South-East and South-South, but that in no way suggests that those zones are safe. The bottom line is that at no time has Nigeria been so precariously positioned against insecurity than now.
Buhari swept to power in 2015 on the promises of fixing the economy, tackling insecurity and corruption. Today, the nation’s economy is in recession. Corruption war is still ongoing; the government has recorded success in this area. But the insecurity is worsening. We dare state that the issues of economy and anti-corruption pale into insignificance when placed with the general insecurity across the country. Although the poor economy cannot be divorced from the general insecurity, it is clear that the economy cannot thrive in the midst of insecurity.
We, therefore, think that far beyond any other priority, going into 2021, what President Buhari owes Nigerians is to apply his socalled sophisticated approaches to stop the rot the country is degenerating into security wise. Since solutions offered by Nigerians appear simple, we expect the president to use his methods fast enough to arrest the drift. We expect the president to give Nigerians a peaceful country.