NIGERIA’S GORDIAN KNOT OF INSECURITY
Ayoola Ajanaku writes that the security agencies should address the pervasive insecurity in the land
It’s no longer news that banditry has gone a notch higher than expected with insecurity that pervades most Northern parts of Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria. The recent attack on the Abuja-Kaduna Nigerian Railway Corporation train on March 28, 2022 was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. A daring assault with explosives that derailed train and ensuing firefight that happened between the terrorists and law enforcement officers onboard the train that resulted in the death of some passengers and abduction of others. The rail attack followed a sequence that started from an attack on Kaduna International Airport that led to the loss of lives of two security personnel. To get a clear view of the scheme of affairs that has a striking resemblance to a classic Cold War reincarnation where psychological warfare is deployed to subdue foes has come to the fore. The main artery that connects the political capital of Nigeria to most Northern states is a death trap suffering from the siege of ragtag bandits who abduct and kill travellers who ply this road with reckless abandon.
What these unsavoury actions translate into is that Kaduna is cut off from the rest of the world via rail, air and land as the psychological trauma of plying these routes weighs down on intending travellers. It remains to be seen how law enforcement agencies will address the hydra headed monster of insecurity at this rate. Till date the abducted passengers are still in captivity with the alleged Boko Haram and Ansaru faction of ISWAP terror cell fighters. It’s a Gordian knot with no Alexander the Great in the room to untie the knot that will ensure the security of the average Nigeria citizenry, as they go about their daily lives.
The harrowing experiences are far and wide thanks to the insecurity conundrum that has spread from the North East, to the North West, North Central and other parts of Nigeria. It’s imperative at this juncture to employ back channels to address this unending hydra-headed monster that has gone out of hand and affected the daily lives of Nigeria citizenry. It’s such a sad testimonial that Nigerians are under siege in their own homeland, as they live with their hearts in their mouths. It is now a common feature for travelers to fly into Kano to access Kaduna via the Kano-Zaria Expressway. What could be a more harrowing experience than this that consumes time and efforts that could be employed in other viable endeavors? This writer grew up in Northern Nigeria where all and sundry could thread as they wish from one part to the other without any harm or hindrance, neighbors were one another’s keeper. The diversity in the education hub of Zaria was a marvelous delight with a melting pot of intellectual exposition and diversity. Today, reverse is the case as people who have other windows leave in droves to escape from the fangs of insecurity, kidnappings, amongst others.
The helmsman of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai has shouted to the high heavens as regards curbing the menace of insecurity. He’s between the Devil and the deep blue sea, as he finds himself in an unenviable situation that no one whatsoever desires. The law enforcement agencies are stretched at this rate with their boots on ground in all the stretch of the Nigeria federation. The Armed Forces are not left out of this scenario coupled with fact that they are not primed for asymmetric warfare that involves urban warfare. El-Rufai posited recently that communities such as Katari, Rijana and Akilibu along the Kaduna-Abuja Expressway should be wiped out to curb the criminality of terrorists and informants. He also added earlier that the military knows the location of the bandits and they should be carpet bombed. In military circles, the number one citizen of Kaduna State is perceived as a meddlesome interloper. The NSA, General Babagana Monguno (retd) reiterated this fact that the Kaduna State governor talks too much and gives away too much information – The NSA’s office later denied this statement.
What insecurity translates into is that investor’s confidence takes such a huge dent with the safety of lives and property that’s suspect. Nobody wants to experience the psychological trauma of being caught in the den of daredevil kidnappers and bandits. The AK9 Train is the most recent incidence with the statements from abducted passengers and the birth of a baby by a mother while in captivity which has sent shivers down the spine of the whole nation. It’s takes unimaginable bravery to ply the Kaduna-Abuja Expressway at this rate, a sojourn of less than two hours. The recent clamour and uproar by the families of abducted train passengers has led the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to suspend the resumption of rail services on this route. It’s been over 60 days under captivity for the passengers in the hands of these marauders who are dangling innocent lives as a bargaining chip to the government at the centre. It has sent tongues into an overdrive, a rehash of Chibok, Dapchi, Kankara, Tegina abduction of school students amongst others.
The excision of LGA’s in different states across Northern parts of Nigeria by these savages is a clear and present danger. They collect taxes, marry young brides at will, impose their own strict and authoritarian reign on these areas with impunity. The helmsmen of these states have told anyone who cares to listen that things can no longer continue like this with no efforts in public domain to send these unwanted elements to their early graves and spare innocent civilians the wrath that has made people unable to sleep with their two eyes closed in day and night.
It’s imperative for the PMB led APC administration to employ community inclusion as a panacea to address insecurity in the land. The millions of out-of-school children and the unemployed hands constitute a window for the Devil’s workshop. These drawbacks have seriously affected the agriculture and allied industries in Northern Nigeria where the attendant risks of farming and livestock husbandry have been affected thanks to the dastardly acts of these non-state actors on civilian population.
The status of Internally displaced persons in Nigeria leaves a sad taste in one’s mouth. In a sovereign nation it’s a pity that a lot of people cannot live and thrive peacefully in their motherland. Time will tell whether the PMB led administration will play the Alexander the Great role to untie the Gordian knot of insecurity.
Ajanaku is a Communications Specialist based in Lagos, Nigeria.