Ethnic clashes,current spate of banditry, kidnapping and cultism in most parts of the country is indeed giving many Nigerians a cause for concern.
The level of insecurity has become so bad that no part of the country is totally free from the grip of the hoodlums whose activities appear to be threatening to bring down the nation.
It is more disturbing that the killings and other criminal activities have risen at an alarming rate after the general elections. From Lagos to Kaduna, Katsina to Zamfara, Benue to Taraba, Imo to Ebonyi states, there appears to be no respite in any region of the country.
Apart from the Boko Haram that has turned the North-East to a theatre of war with their attacks on some communities in the states in the region, communities in Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna and Sokoto states have become targets of bandits, kidnappers, marauders and other hoodlums.
None of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory is completely free from the threats of insecurity as those who are not being threatened by ethnic clashes are constantly terrorised by killer herdsmen, who go about destroying anything on their paths.
In Rivers State, cultism has wreaked so much havoc that most people do not feel secure in some parts of the state and other states in the South-South.
Kidnappers and robbers are on the prowl in the South-West and South-East while the Tiv-Jukun ethnic clash, herdsmen attacks and other crimes are giving the people in the North-Central nightmarish experiences.
This mounting state of insecurity, according to security experts, is a threat to the nation’s democracy and the existence of the country that fought a nasty civil war over four decades ago.
The Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, recently joined security operatives attached to him to comb the bushes along the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway in search of hoodlums, who have turned the stretch of the road to a dreadful place. Due to the level of insecurity on the road, politicians and military personnel plying the road have reportedly abandoned their vehicles and forced to board the Abuja-Kaduna trains.
NNU gathered what was said as former Governor of Kaduna State, Balarabe Musa, spoke on the issue, identified the poor economic situation triggered by corruption as the cause of the insecurity in most parts of the country.
He said, “This problem was caused by corruption because the economic situation, which is forcing some of these youths to take up arms and engage in criminal activities, is a direct product of corruption. People cannot earn decent living and they see how those in power are living. So, they think the only way they can help themselves is to go into crime.
“The government is directly responsible for corruption and criminal waste of resources. Corruption must stop and resources must be evenly distributed. The solution is not in changing security chiefs; it is about how the system is being controlled. Does any Nigerian have any doubts that Nigerian leaders are thieves? Except very few!”
The Secretary-General, Yoruba Council of Elders, Dr Kunle Olajide, speaking with our correspondent, traced the root cause of the rising insecurity in the country to inequitable wealth distribution which he also said had forced some youths to engage in kidnapping, armed robbery and Internet fraud to survive.
He said, “I have been very worried about the rising spate of insecurity all over Nigeria. I am particularly more worried when government officials, especially ministers, support the launch of ‘operation this and that’ as a solution to this problem. For me, it is like attempting to drive away the smoke and leaving the fire burning. We have to address the real issue rather than going after the symptoms.
“In my opinion, the reason for the insecurity in the land is lack of social justice and inequitable distribution of the national resources between the rich and the poor. The rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer. Unfortunately for the nation, this is happening in the era of globalisation when the whole world has become a small village.
“The young man here has access to the Internet; he sees what is going on in other climes. They see the social injustice in their own country where nobody is concerned about their well-being. They are jobless despite the pains their parents took to send them to schools. No hospital to treat them when they fall sick; they see their mothers and sisters die during childbirth and other disheartening things like that while the rich enjoy to the maximum on the other side.
“The solution is not in buying fighter jets, arming the military and the police. In fact, how many policemen do you think we need to effectively police about 200 million people? The policemen themselves are not happy because it is only their bosses ‘at the top’ that are enjoying the benefits of the resources allocated to them. Those you see on the road are starving; they are suffering; they themselves are not safe. So, we have to address the problem of social injustice in the country.”
A security expert, Mr Jackson Ojo, who is a member, International Institute of Professional Security, stated that the seed of the insecurity problem ravaging the country was sown some years back, saying it might take time to end the menace.
told SUNDAY PUNCH that he could not comment on the Senate’s call for the creation of state police, but noted that the current leadership of the police had been adopting the principle of community policing to combat security challenges.
Mba stated, “There is a massive operation going on in those areas now. It is not as if there has never been security architecture in place before now. However, what we have done is to put rejigged or reinvigorated security architecture in place. It is a massive exercise going on now involving our tactical unit, our special forces and our special intelligence unit.
He told reporters “This type of thing will not cease wherever you see people who have lost confidence in the state. People will take to self-help; and self-help is always counterproductive anywhere in the world. Some youths completed their degree programmes about 10 years ago and they are still unemployed. What do you think they will do? They have been trained; their thinking has been widened and they should naturally use this in a positive way. But they will use it in negative ways if they do not find productive ventures to engage in.
“Apart from the graduates among these people terrorising the nation, there are also those who did not have as much education as the graduates; they too should be productively engaged but they will find a means to survive if there are no productive ventures for them. Many industries have folded up. The few ones remaining are not doing well; that is why there is gross unemployment in the land. Poverty is the cause of this problem.
“The way to go is to solve the problem gradually. Bring the boys out of the creeks and battle fields and provide them jobs; then, you can ask them to lay down their weapons. Without providing them with alternative means of livelihoods, you cannot disarm them.”
The Publicity Secretary of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Mr Uche Achi-Okpaga, news men that it was laughable that the same administration that deployed virtually all members of the armed forces for the general elections could be dilly-dallying on tackling the insecurity issues.
“We are also receiving a lot of aerial support from the Nigerian Air Force. They have been very supportive and they are providing not only aerial surveillance and aerial intelligence but they are also carrying out strategic strikes targeted at the bandits’ camps.
“We are in synergy with the local communities, the traditional rulers, the vigilante groups and the Civilian Joint Task Force in the spirit of community policing.”
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