The security agencies should sharpen their investigative skills and apprehend the killers of Anthony Okeyim

Students and staff of Command Secondary School, Ibadan, recently awoke to a gruesome sight: the bloody remains of the commandant of their school, Col. Anthony Okeyim, who had his throat slit by suspected assassins. Okeyim who was recently promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General and waiting to be decorated was reportedly attacked in front of his official quarter by some criminals.

“It is a pity that that such a gentleman, who was committed to his duty as a military officer and school commandant could be killed in a gruesome manner inside a military formation,” said a friend of the deceased. “There are posts mounted by infantry soldiers from the gate of the school and visitors are not allowed except if you have a genuine mission there.” Adekunle Ajisebutu, spokesman of the Oyo State Police Command said, “We are treating it as a case of suspected murder.”

That a senior military officer could have his life snuffed out easily by assailants is yet another evidence of the worsening insecurity in the country. Indeed, it is a further indication of how much more unsafe ordinary Nigerians have become. If the life of the commandant of a military school could be taken so easily, what is the fate of the students and staff of the school?

While we commiserate with the family of the late colonel and the Nigerian Army, if ever any wake-up call is needed, this is it. This murder case, like many before it, raises serious posers. Suspicions are rife that something was amiss, particularly given the circumstances of Okeyim’s demise in relatively secure and gated premises. Who killed the colonel, and why? Intelligence is vital in criminal investigations. And from all indications, the investigative strategies often adopted by the police in the past were not effective enough to unearth the criminals.

That perhaps explains why we have a long list of unresolved murders across the nation – from Dele Giwa, former chief executive of Newswatch magazine, Chief Bola Ige, former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to many uncountable ones of late. The killing of Col. Okeyim is yet another one in the myriad of security challenges besetting the nation. We therefore enjoin the security agencies to sharpen their strategies and fish out those responsible for this most heinous crime.

In the past, deaths of military officers like Okeyim had led to immediate reprisal attacks from the military, most often directed at wrong targets. Happily, this has not happened. But certainly, we cannot continue with this situation of mindless killings of innocent men and women, whose perpetrators roam our streets fully confident that the long arm of the law has no chance of apprehending them.

There is little doubt criminals are becoming more audacious in the country. Daily, the incidence of murder and other accompanying crimes like kidnapping, armed robbery and banditry are on the rise. Yet the security forces have been less than able to deal with these crimes that have put the citizenry on the edge. Their encouragement comes not only from the lucrative nature of their anti-social acts but also from the fact that they are getting away with their crimes.

Therefore, President Muhammadu Buhari, who rode to power on the back of the citizens’ discontent with his predecessor’s handling of the national security challenge must rise to the occasion by moving firmly against the rising crime wave. Obviously, the prevailing internal security architecture is inadequate to tackle this growing menace of killing at will. The way to go is for government to deploy all in its arsenal to make this and all other forms of crime in our country an unprofitable endeavour.