(Codewit World News)The security situation in the country has degenerated to the extent that public functions are now held in secluded places amidst tight security. ROSE ADAH reports that governments seeming inability to handle the situation may have left ordinary Nigerians to their fate.
In a twinkle of an eye, Nigeria has become a violence filled state with crises prevalent in many parts of the country. A country that has been known for peace, unity and love has become troubled, divided and insecure.
Security of lives and property which ought to be one of the responsibilities of the government does not seem to be the case anymore, as people no longer sleep with two eyes closed or move about freely without looking back for fear of been attacked by armed robbers, kidnappers or terrorist groups.
Every individual has become so security conscious that security gadgets are seen in homes that can afford it, banks, corporate organisations and embassies.
Churches are not left out too, as worshippers are thoroughly screened before they are allowed entrance into worship centres in some parts of the country, while some churches have banned the use of big handbags by women in their churches.
Security has been beefed up in every part of the country and people no longer go in and out of places freely, as everybody has become a suspect.
The security of the life and property of citizens lies with the government, as enshrined in Section 14(2c) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which states that “The security and welfare of the people shall be a Primary purpose of the government.”
For the first time since Nigeria got her independence in 1960, independence anniversary celebration was held within the secure walls of the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, and not the public square where such events are held.
The decision of the government to mark the anniversary with low key celebrationat the Villa, was perceived by many to be an act of fear on the part of the government, as there were bomb threats by the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, ahead of 51st Independence Day celebration.
In a statement circulated via the internet, the spokesperson of MEND had said “October 1, 2011, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta intends to place bombs within and in the vicinity of the proposed 2011 independence anniversary celebrations. After 51 years of independence, Nigerians still have nothing to celebrate. The general public is strongly advised to consider this as a 1st and final warning, no additional warnings will be issued subsequent to deployment or detonation of these devices, which will be novel in nature.”
The government was later to clear the air on this, as the information minister, Labaran Maku, said attributing the decision of the government to fear was unfounded, as the decision was intended to save cost from the elaborate celebration, and added that the decision was in good faith and in the best interest of the country.
But the question on the minds of many Nigerians is how a small fraction of the population of the country can subject a large majority of the populace and the government to so much trauma and fear, with no drastic step from the government to put an end to the situation.
Despite efforts by individuals and the government to beef up security, armed robbery has been on a steady rise, kidnappers are still at their game just as the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, appears to be more resolute in its determination to bomb the country at the slightest provocation.
Recently in Zamfara State, when people were supposed to be celebrating the country’s independence, armed bandits killed 19 persons, including a man, his wife, son and brother, in a single operation.
On October 2, 2011, a day after the robbery incident in Zamfara, kidnappers abducted the father of Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio’s security aide from a church in the state. According to media reports, the abductors seemed not to be in a hurry as they took their time to carry out the operation, while the women in the church kept screaming for help.
On the same day in Nnewi, Anambra State, suspected kidnappers abducted the father of a member of the House of Representatives in his house, while he was preparing for church service.
The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) recently cancelled its passing-out parade for the Batch C corps members, citing insecurity.
The Nigeria Law School, Bwari, Abuja, on October 5, 2011, also shifted its call to bar ceremony from the school premises, to the International Conference Centre, Abuja, as part of security measures to forestall any eventuality.
The event was held amidst tight security, and only guests with invitation cards to the ceremony were allowed entrance into the venue.
A legal practitioner at the venue, Mr. Benson Agada, lamented the security situation in the country. He said, “The security situation in the country has become so bad that the venue of this ceremony had to be moved from the Law School to this place. The director-general of the Nigerian Law School, Tahir Mamman was trying to explain that the change in the venue is due to the ongoing road construction but I think we all know why the venue was changed because the road to the school is not affected by the construction.
“Could it be that the government is not capable of tackling this menace? The government needs to have a headlong confrontation with these militants, Jonathan has to fight them because, they had threatened earlier that they will make his government ungovernable if he becomes president, and that is exactly what they are doing.”
A group of women, seating outside the gate were seen scampering and when confronted, one of them, who spoke on anonymity said, “A lady who was sitting with us told me she wanted to get some snacks and that I should watch over her handbag. When she was gone, I had no option than alert the others to flee since we didn’t know what was contained in that bag. You know one has to be security conscious with all these happenings here and there, you can’t trust anyone. That is why the security here is so tight that we can’t even go in to celebrate with our loved ones.”
With all the measures the government says it has put in place to fight this menace, one cannot but wonder why violence still persists and why the Boko Haram sect appears to be such a hard nut to crack.
This may justify the suspicions by the government and some security agencies that there could be an infiltration of the Boko Haram sect in the security agencies in the country. Otherwise, how else can one explain the sect’s success at launching attacks on their targets, especially in Borno State, despite the presence of the Joint Task Force in the state.
A source in one of the security agencies, who craved anonymity, told LEADERSHIP that “We are suspecting infiltration of security agencies by Boko Haram members. They seem to have more intelligence information on our security agencies than we had thought; and the manner in which they beat security agencies to attack, point to some moles within the security network. Some security operatives have not risen above ethnic and religious persuasions. We think such operatives might be leaking information. If there are no moles, why will a security chief release a Boko Haram leader in detention? This infiltration is being addressed. I won’t say more than this.
But the leader of the Shiites Islamic sect, Mallam Ibraheem el-Zakzaky, has accused some politicians and officials within the country’s security agencies of being the brain behind the security situation in the country.
Recently, a self-acclaimed co-founder of Boko Haram, Mallam Aliyu Tishau, who was in detention was released and the only explanation given was that he was released to a sister security agency; but the Army and the SSS denied that Tishau was released to them, only to agree after a meeting that Tishau was released based on a court order. But why the confusion, what do Nigerians believe?
While the blame game continues between the security agencies, Nigerians are yearning for the Nigeria where security and value for life was the order.