Kagoro Killings and Unending Security Ineptitude
RingTrue By Yemi Adebowale
Security ineptitude is unending in beloved Nigeria. It comes with all the trappings of a failed government. I shed tears and often left hugely disappointed whenever incompetence is displayed in this vital area of our life. For example, what kind of explanation will our security agencies put up in defence of their failings, nine days back, in Kagoro Chiefdom, Kaura LGA of Kaduna State? How would they explain that terrorists spent almost a whole day in Malagum and Sokwong communities of Kagoro without appropriate response from them? The terrorists confidently burnt almost all the buildings in Sokwong.
These two communities are supposedly covered by a special military task force called Operation Safe Haven. But the terrorists were not in a hurry to leave because they were very sure they would not be repelled by security agents. By the time they eventually left, 39 people had been killed and the two communities left in ruins. It is also pertinent to note that Kaduna is a garrison state, with a huge number of military formations. Yet, terrorists roam unimpeded. The Commander-in Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari, who promised to lead the war against terrorists from the front has not raised queries on the Kagoro killings. No security man has been fired. No commander has been relieved of his job. The most shocking is that Buhari has not deemed it fit to condole with the people of Kagoro.
Sadly, attacks in Kagoro in particular and the entire Southern Kaduna in general have been endless in the last eight years. Terrorists, who are largely Fulani militias, have been shedding the blood of innocent people unhindered. These killers are scarcely apprehended. As the Legislative Speaker of Kaura Local Government Area, Atuk Stephen, rightly noted, efforts of security operatives and the government are hardly seen or felt.
A former federal lawmaker, Shehu Sani, agrees, while lamenting the unending killings in Southern Kaduna. He said: “No part of Kaduna is spared of terrorist attacks, violence, and kidnappings. However, the killings in Southern Kaduna by terrorists are systemic. The people of that part of the state are also institutionally treated like the blacks under apartheid South Africa.”
There is hardly any part of Nigeria that is spared of killings by terrorists. The Buhari years have been the most worrisome. There is the pathetic story of a kidnapped businessman in Ugbe Akoko, Ondo State, Augustine Okoye, who was killed this week by his abductors after the payment of ransom. Okoye, a popular cream dealer, was kidnapped alongside his wife, along the Isua-Ise Akoko highway on their way home from the market.
What about the story of a couple brutally murdered in Anambra State by kidnappers after collecting N7.5m ransom? Emmanuel Chukwuemeka, 36, and his wife, Mirian Chinwendu, 30, who got married on May 29, 2021, were returning home after attending a programme at the Holy Ghost Adoration, Uke, in Idemili North LGA, when they were abducted. They spent months in the dungeon of the kidnappers, before eventually being killed. They were buried in their hometown at Isiekwulu, Ukpo, in Dunukofia LGA of Anambra State, seven days back.
Few days back, the District Head of Yankuzo in Tsafe LGA of Zamfara State, Kogo Hamza, was shot dead by terrorists along Tsafe Yankuzo Road. Yankuzo is the hometown of the dreaded terror leader, Ado Aliero, who was declared wanted by the military. The District Head, who was returning to his domain after a meeting with the Emir of Tsafe, is strongly believed to have been killed by Aliero and his boys. As usual, Hamza’s killers may never be apprehended.
In this same Zamfara State ravaged by terrorists, the wife and four children, as well as two neighbours of a member of the state’s House of Assembly, Aminu Ardo Jangebe were last week kidnapped by terrorists in Jangebe town, Talata Mafara LGA. As at press time, the lawmaker was still struggling to meet the demands of the terrorists.
The killings across our country pour. What we have in Nigeria today is a government that can’t protect its citizens. This is a tragedy. The state governors have also failed woefully to protect citizens. Governor Nasir El-rufai of Kaduna State is a big disaster in this direction. This governor has never been there for anybody in this state. He enjoys showboating and persistently spins rubbish, without offering relief to victims of killings and kidnappings in his state. Persistent attacks by terrorists in Kaduna State have exposed El-rufai’s incompetence.
Our President also derives so much joy grandstanding about curbing terrorism. He has nothing, in practical terms, to justify his “vows” to crush terrorists. Daily, scores are killed, many abducted and houses burnt across our country. The security glitches under Buhari’s government are ceaseless and consuming too many innocent lives. The security of the people is no longer on the priority list of this jaded federal government. When terrorists strike and there are no consequences, they are emboldened. This is exactly what has been happening in almost eight years of the Buhari government.
The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Kukah, rightly stated in his 2021 Easter message thus: “Taunted by Boko Haram, ravaged by bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, and other merchants of death across the nation, there is collective fear as to whether Nigeria’s glory is about to depart! Traumatised citizens are tortured daily by bandits. The nation has since become a massive killing field, as both government and the governed look on helplessly.
“A thick and suffocating cloud of desperation, despondency, desolation, gloom, and misery hangs in the hot air. We have no message and have no idea how long this will last. Our people seek solace and protection, but frustration and darkness threaten to drown them. Is their government on AWOL? Sadly, human life is hemorrhaging so badly in Nigeria, but the greatest tragedy is the death of empathy from those in power.”
Back in April, Jama’atu Nasir Islam (JNI), the umbrella body for Northern Muslims, declared that any government incapable of protecting the lives of its citizens has lost the moral justification of being there in the first place.
The group adds, “It appears that the continuous callous acts of mayhem, killings and arson happening almost on daily or weekly basis around us; either within communities and/or on the roads we ply, have automatically reset our human psyche that we now have accepted such dastardly acts as part of our lives, to the extent that we no longer feel it. In Islam and by all global standards, the essence of government and governance is solely to protect the five principal cardinal rights of the human race, the most important of which is life.”
Back to Kagoro, the sad news today is that not a single one of those responsible for the killings in Malagum and Sokwong has been apprehended. The main duty of the State is protection of lives. The Nigerian State has failed the people of Kagoro because of its crooked and compromised leadership. A compromised leadership makes it difficult for security agents to arrest terrorists. In beloved Nigeria, terrorists and religious fanatics are emboldened because they are hardly made to pay for their atrocities. The responsibility of a good government is to immediately ensure that those who commit crimes are identified, detained and quickly prosecuted. In this regard, I thought our President will direct the Inspector General of Police, Baba Usman to relocate to Kaduna State to smoke out all those responsible for the odious crime against humanity in Kagoro. It did not happen. It may never happen.
JAMB Must Reduce Exam Fees
The Registrar of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof Ishaq Oloyede, is no doubt doing a good job in terms of fighting corruption and restoring the credibility of the exam body. He recently disclosed that the board remitted over N29 billion into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) in the last six years. The N29 billion was the excess from the fees paid for matriculation exams, after expenses on conducting the tests. In all, Oloyede has recorded over N50 billion as surplus while running the show as JAMB’s boss. According to the professor, “the remittance was due to measures put in place on cost control, prevention of financial leakages and minimisation of financial corruption.”
This professor is doing a decent job at JAMB, but I am not comfortable with the huge amount he declared as surplus. It simply means that JAMB’s examination fees are excessive. Oloyede should stop talking about massive returns to the national coffers by JAMB. This agency is not a revenue-generating one. He knows much better than those around him that education must not be commercialised. But at JAMB, parents and students are being exploited. His argument that JAMB’s charges “are extremely minimal compared with similar charges within and outside Nigeria, and so, exploitation is ruled out” is balderdash.
Oloyede must face the reality that there is exploitation of students and parents by his agency. JAMB’s fees must be reduced drastically. Yes, the Board reduced its charges in 2018 and in 2020 by about 30 per cent. It should go down further. Recording N50 billion excess revenue from the conduct of exams is immoral.
My dear Oloyede, you have no business with remitting huge money into the Federation Account. The offence you have been committing in the last six years is exploitation of parents and students. You are guilty as charged. Obviously, JAMB can afford a 100 per cent reduction in exam fees and still continue to expand its facilities and support institutions from its well-managed finances. Today, I urge you to spend quality time looking at my submission and act appropriately.
Malaria as Giant Killer in Nigeria
Malaria killed precisely 191,890 Nigerians nationwide last year. This is according to figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO). WHO adds that Nigeria accounted for 31 per cent of malaria deaths recorded globally in 2021. This country was among the four that accounted for almost half of all malaria cases globally and also among the four countries that accounted for over half of malaria deaths in 2021. This news is clearly a bad one. So many deaths from Malaria in this country in 2021 were obviously not captured in this statistic, particularly those outside hospitals.
Malaria can be treated with as little as N1000, yet, it is the biggest killer in Nigeria. This is an indication of the level of poverty and bad leadership in this country. It is a big shame that a disease as common as Malaria is claiming thousands of lives annually in this country. Nigerians should have access to free treatment for this disease. But this has not been the case. The “Roll Back Malaria” programmes across the country are not working. I doubt if there is any government hospital where one can walk in and get treated free for Malaria. Nigerian governments at all levels must get serious about reducing deaths from Malaria. There must be a deliberate effort to pull Nigeria out of this inglorious club of Malaria-ravaged countries. As a first step, primary health centres across the country must offer free Malaria treatment. State-owned health centres must do the same.