When will Nigeria’s security challenges end?
The security situation in Nigeria in the past four years is worrisome. It has been a frequent occurrence of deadly strikes of the Boko Haram sect, while the news of herdsmen carnage, kidnapping, banditry, cultism and many other violent related activities have been having their own free days.
All the above security challenges have now placed Nigeria on number three spot as the most terror – affected country as reported by the Global Terrorism Index. Kidnapping for ransom, armed robbery, gang wars are the greatest challenges that the country is now facing.
The security situation in Nigeria at the moment can be compared with a Yoruba adage that says “Eewu be loko longe, longe fun ara re eewu ni”, which literally means “there is danger in the farmland of Longe (Longe is name of a Yoruba Legend), Longe himself is a danger”. This can be used to describe the situation in Nigeria today.
Unlike the Boko Haram insurgency that affects mostly some parts of North -East states of Borno, Yobe and others, herdsmen violent that have resulted in heavy human and material losses in the middle belt of Nigeria, particularly in Benue, Plateau, Adamawa, Nasarawa and Taraba States.
Kidnapping is now the most virulent form of banditry in Nigeria. Individuals, groups, mostly school children, have been kidnapped in various parts of the country. Kidnapping has also made travelling by road around the country to become very dangerous.
Records show that Nigeria has one of the world’s highest rates of kidnapping for ransom cases among the countries such as Venezuela, Mexico, Yemen, Syria, the Philippines, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.
At the moment, Nigeria is in the grip of a kidnapping crisis because the tide spans every region and is cutting across every socio-economic class.
According to the Nigeria Police, 685 kidnappings occurred across the country in the first quarter of this year alone. Thousands of Nigeria have fallen victims and millions of naira paid as ransom, while those unlucky kidnapping victims lost their lives in the course of their abduction, or rescue operations, many of which were not made public by the authorities.
Interestingly and very unfortunately, the situation whereby the Nigerian government itself pay ransoms to kidnappers in high profile cases calls for sober reflection and the question arises that “where are we heading to as a nation?” The police that are supposed to protect the citizens are underfunded and under-trained to handle the current spate of kidnapping happenings across the regions of the country.
This is a country where the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-General Tukur Buratai, declared that “only spiritual warfare can help defeat Boko Haram,” negating the previous claimed by the military that the terrorist group had been defeated.
In my opinion, with the way our security challenges are being handled and managed by the Nigerian government, there is no assurance of any lasting solution to the unending problems soon.
Agunloye Adewunmi Bashiru,