The upsurge in banditry, kidnapping and bloodletting across the country is quite frightening. The general insecurity is, indeed, worrisome. From Zamfara to Katsina, the bandits are wrecking havoc on hapless citizens. In Zamfara State, over 8,000 women had been made widows by the bandits while 16,000 children had become orphans since 2009. The bandits had killed at least 5,000 people and injured more than 9,000 others. Also, over 10,000 houses and silos were destroyed by the bandits.
Similarly, about 17 people were killed when the bandits invaded Sherere community in Katsina State. They also set ablaze many houses in the area. In Kaduna State, kidnappers have literally taken control of the Kaduna-Abuja Highway and rendered it almost impassable by motorists.
The recent abduction of the Chairman of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr. Mohammed Abubakar, with his daughter, Yesmin Mohammed, along the Kaduna-Abuja Highway has further underscored the troubling security situation in the country. Although the duo had regained their freedom, kidnapping for ransom is fast becoming a thriving business for some criminal elements in the country.
On Monday, not less than 25 people were reportedly killed and several others injured in a suspected Boko Haram attack in Madagali area of Adamawa State. Also, during this year’s Easter celebration, about ten people were killed in Gombe State by an official of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC). While the insurgents still constitute a serious security challenge in the North East region, there are increasing cases of kidnapping and armed robbery in the Southern parts of Nigeria.
We bemoan the increasing cases of banditry and kidnapping in different parts of the country in recent weeks. The criminals should not be made to appear to be having the upper hand. The police should apprehend and prosecute them. Those found guilty should be given stiffer sanctions to deter others from toeing the evil path. We, therefore, urge the security agencies to redouble their efforts to contain the escalating insecurity. They should rejig their intelligence gathering and sharing mechanisms and deal ruthlessly with the criminals. There is need to urgently overhaul the nation’s security architecture and make it more effective.
The Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies should be adequately equipped so that they can tackle the insecurity in the country. Particularly, the Nigeria Police Force should be given priority attention in this regard. But the police can hardly do this with its present numerical strength put at 334,000. With this number, we are far below the United Nations’ standard of one police officer to 400 citizens.
Therefore, the Federal Government should increase the numerical strength of the Nigeria Police Force to enable it face the mounting security problems. It will be very tasking for 334,000 officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force to effectively secure the lives and property of about 190 million Nigerians. Perhaps, this is the right time to revisit the issue of state policing as being advocated by some prominent Nigerians and groups.
The rising insecurity has made the calls for state police more imperative now than ever before. We believe that the decentralisation of the police will go a long way in curbing most of the crimes in the country. In the United States, the police is decentralised along the various federal, state and county authorities. In Britain, there are over 20 police jurisdictions. The situation is the same in France, Canada and many countries.
Since the primary duty of government as enshrined in Section 14 (2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) is to ensure the security and welfare of the people, government should not abdicate this constitutional responsibility. The home truth is that many states in the country are under siege by criminals. The government should do something now to ensure the safety of all Nigerians.
As part of measures to tackle the rising lawlessness in the country, the Federal and State governments should frontally address the problem of unemployment and poverty in the country. There is no doubt that unemployment and poverty must have largely contributed to the escalation of the security challenges in the country. Government must strive to save the country from the looming anarchy.
Without security, there will be no peace and development. Let the politicians eschew their political differences and treat the growing insecurity as a national problem. They should all come together to tackle it. We say this because without security, the nation’s nascent democracy will be threatened. Insecurity will also threaten foreign investors.
We urge President Muhammadu Buhari to tackle the nation’s security problems. The government should come up with a plan of action to rout the menacing bandits and kidnappers. It is sad that the 2018 Global Terrorism Index (GTI) ranked Nigeria third among countries worst hit by terrorism and other criminal activities. It is regrettable that the modest achievements made by this government in the war against the insurgents might be diminished by the raging insecurity across the country. The government should do everything possible to quickly tackle banditry, kidnapping and other security challenges.