ACF’s alarm on terrorists and arms importation

A frightening dimension has apparently been introduced into the ongoing security challenges confronting the country. Last week, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), the apex pan-Northern group, claimed that rocket-propelled grenades were being affixed to camels by terrorists and ferried into Nigeria through the northern borders. While calling the government’s attention to this novel criminal tactic, the ACF warned that with the trend in terrorism in the North, terrorists might eventually come to possess more ammunition than the organisations constitutionally empowered to tackle violence and crime.

In a statement released by its National Executive Committee Chairman and immediate past Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, the ACF also alleged that the terrorists were building impregnable armoury from the ransoms collected after abducting Nigerians, and using same to fortify their bases. It acknowledged that it had not alerted security agencies previously but was using the interaction with the press to raise the alarm. “Since we don’t control the security agencies, we decided to inform them and the government through the media,” ACF National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe, said.

The allegation by the ACF points to another worrisome strand in the spiraling security situation in the country and the seeming helplessness of security officials. Already, Nigerians are being made to pay millions of Naira to terrorists and kidnappers, many of whom are never apprehended, a phenomenon which gives vent to the ACF’s allegation. The security situation has indeed become a cause for worry, not only for Nigerians but for all watchers of affairs in Africa’s largest population. The security forces must immediately act upon the  ACF’s alert.

On December 22, 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed resignation at the infiltration of the country’s borders by terrorists. He said only God could save Nigerians and effectively police the border between Nigeria and Niger Republic. Speaking through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, Buhari, who reportedly said this while receiving the country’s former Vice President, Namadi Sambo, leader of the ECOWAS Election Mission to Niger, said: “I come from Daura, few kilometers to the Republic of Niger. So, I should know a bit about that country…we share more than 1,400 kilometers of border with that country, which can only be effectively supervised by God.”

Given the president’s disposition to the issue of curtailing the influx of terrorists moving through the borders, there is a need to stave off the possibility of a literal capture of the country by terrorists. In any case, it is significant that this alarm is coming from the ACF, an organisation perceived to be quite pro-Buhari. It could perhaps mean that the organisation was helpless on what next to do, even with its own son in the saddle. It could also mean that, strongly believing the president’s claim that only God could “supervise” the northern borders, ACF is at a crossroads regarding the fate of the North.

We disagree with the view that only God can effectively police the Nigeria-Niger border or any border in the country for that matter. We align with the ACF’s position that something can be done to halt the destructive tactics of terrorists. While God is omnipotent and superintends over human affairs, He has given humanity the ability to think through challenges. The challenge of terrorists moving in arms and ammunition via camels can  be curtailed by a decisive government.


The first thing the government needs to do is to be bold and committed. It should not be so afraid of stepping on the toes of Nigeria’s neighbours, many of whom share consanguineous relationship with the North, that it imperils the country’s sovereignty. It can mow down the terrorists with strategic policing of the borders. Besides, the government must embark on a thorough scrutiny of movement along the northern borders. The lives of Nigerians threatened by terrorism are more important than trans-border trade. The Buhari government must also shelve the escapist tactic of offloading its responsibility to the spiritual realm. If Nigerians wanted God to physically come down to ensure their security, they would not have elected men to lead them. The government must deploy its mental and physical resources for the protection of Nigerians.

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