From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan, Noah Ebije, Kaduna, Molly Kilete, Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja and Sunday Ani
The attack on the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) in Kaduna by bandits in the early hours of yesterday, which led to the death of two officers and abduction of a Major, has sparked outrage and tension across the country.
The bandits reportedly entered the NDA premises disguised in military uniforms and passed through the security gate into the academy officers quarters and started shooting sporadically.
The Academy spokesman, Major Bashir Muhammad Jajira, in a statement said: “The security architecture of the Nigerian Defence Academy was compromised early this morning by unknown gunmen who gained access into the residential area within the Academy in Afaka. During the unfortunate incident, we lost two personnel and one was abducted.”
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Iraboh, who has been on tour of the North East was said to have made a stopover at the NDA, yesterday. Iraboh, who arrived the academy at about past 5pm was taken round the academy by its commandant, Major General Yusuf and other officials to have a first hand information on what really happened.
Security has been beefed up in and around the academy just as the Academy in collaboration with the 1Division Nigerian Army, Air Training Command and other security agencies have begun pursuit of the gunmen with a view to tracking them and rescuing the abducted personnel.
Meanwhile, unconfirmed report said the abductors have contacted the NDA demanding N200 million ransom.
Piqued by the development, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the citizens has lost hope in the ability of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration to combat terrorism.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, it said security situation has deteriorated so much that suspected bandits now attack military formations.
“Bandits and terrorists are now freely ravaging our communities in Kano, Kaduna, Kogi, Benue, Zamfara, Adamwa, Taraba, Borno, Yobe, Imo and other states of the federation, including Mr. President’s home state, Katsina, where the governor, Aminu Bello Masari, has now asked victims of terror attacks to defend themselves.
“It is distressing that having lost hope in the capacity and commitment of the President Buhari-led APC administration to protect their citizens, state governments are now sending vehicles to the University of Jos, Plateau state, to evacuate their citizens,” PDP said.
This is as the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) through its Senior Elders’ Forum, raised the alarm that bandits may overrun Aso Rock, Nigeria’s seat of power in Abuja, if proactive steps are not taken to safeguard the Presidential Villa and the entire country, while the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) expressed regret that the nation’s security system was operating on reverse gear. The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere and the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) described the attack as a national calamity as it showed that bandits were becoming superior to the military.
Former national president of YCE, Dansaaki Samuel Agbede, who spoke with journalists in Ibadan, Oyo State, said the invasion was unprecedented in the history of the Nigerian military.
Agbede, retired colonel of the Nigerian Army, stated that the attack signified that “chicken is coming home to roost. All our calls and cries for proactive actions against insecurity have been confirmed by this worrisome invasion. It is very worrisome that bandits could have the audacity to attack military academy and kill officers. This has never happened in the history of the military that bandits could have the effrontery to attack military academy.
“This is too disgraceful and it is just confirming what we have been saying about the fifth columnist. We have seen why we should not allow those Boko Haram insurgents into the military. It is like putting fire on our thatched roof.
“It is time to look up and gather elders together to do something about this issue. It is dangerous to leave governance of 200 million people in the hands of one man. To say that we have a Major-General as our Commander-in-Chief and this is happening is worrisome.
“Just like we have been crying, these bandits are everywhere. We should stop dancing around for politics. It is disgusting. We really have problems and we should not wait until they overrun Aso Rock. We still appeal to the Federal Government to gather people together to address this issue.”
Reacting, spokesman of ACF, Emmanuel Yawe, said in a statement that the incident was an embarrassment to first generation of northerners who fought hard to bring development to the north.
“We of the ACF have said it again and again that there is everything seriously wrong with management of our security. The other day, a Nigerian Airforce fighter aircraft was shot down by the so-called bandits. Today, the factory where all Nigerian military officers are produced has been invaded and desecrated. What else do we need to show that our national security system is running on reverse gear?
“The latest security breach is another embarrassment to the ACF. The NDA is a proud monument of the efforts of the first generation of northerners who fought hard to bring development to the north; the likes of Muhammadu Ribadu, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and Sir Ahmadu Bello who brought the institution to Kaduna. They did not bring it here for our generation to hand it over to bandits or whatever we call them.
“This is an institution that is not only a pride of the north but a pride of Nigeria. Many African countries train their military officers here. It is really sad that ordinary street bandits will invade a military institution of such high national and international repute, outwit the security system and men there, kill officers and take one away to an unknown destination.
“We of the ACF are particularly sad because Kaduna is our home not only because our headquarters is located here, but for a long time, even after the split of our Northern region, Kaduna remained home to all northerners. The NDA is a proud reminder of the achievements of our fathers. Is that how our present generation of northerners will seat and watch as these legacies are destroyed?
Speaking through its national publicity secretary, Alex Ogbonna, Ohanaeze Ndigbo described the country’s security as scaring to any average Nigeria and called on the government to sit up because the development is threat to the corporate existence of the country.
“It is a national calamity for this kind of attack to happen to the nation’s defence academy because the armed forces are the symbol of national unity and last line of the country’s defence,” he said.
For MBF, the fact that the Air Force has not been allowed to bomb the bandits and mop up their bases means there is complicity on the part of the government.
“Government has to come clean because it is getting worrisome. If the government will allow the bandits to get this far, it means that something is wrong somewhere. To attack a defence academy where military offices are being trained is going too far. Government has to rise up and bomb the bandits out of existence,” national publicity secretary, Alex Ogbonna, submitted.
The pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, said the development is shocking and disturbing.
Afenifere National Publicity Secretary, Jare Ajayi, said the NDA is the heart of Nigeria’s military and should elicit fear in the hearts of criminals.
Ajayi, who spoke on behalf of the group’s leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, said for the attack to happen few days after President Muhammadu Buhari had a meeting with his security chiefs was an indictment on the security architecture.