President Muhammadu Buhari recently expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of the service chiefs and leaders of other security agencies over the deteriorating security situation in the country. The President, who told the service chiefs that he would no longer tolerate the embarrassing security situation, charged them to redouble their efforts to tackle headlong the security challenges.
The National Security Adviser (NSA), General Babagana Monguno, who spoke on the issue, disclosed that the president was extremely unhappy about the situation and felt that though the security agencies were doing their best, their best was not good enough.
The President’s admonition came on the heels of rising terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and other violent crimes in the country that had made different groups, including the National Assembly, demand that the service chiefs should be relieved of their positions to allow fresh hands to tackle the degenerating security situation. As a result of the incessant attacks in some states in the North, some youths, under the umbrella of Coalition of Northern Group, staged a peaceful protest in Katsina State.
The security situation across the country is getting worse. Last month, more than 80 people, including soldiers, were killed by suspected members of the Boko Haram sect in Monguno and Ngazai areas of Borno State. Within the same period, about 60 Sokoto residents were killed in raids by bandits. Earlier, 47 people were killed in attacks on communities in three local government areas in Katsina State. Similarly, Zamfara, Niger, Adamawa, Taraba, Benue and Plateau states were attacked on different occasions.
Other parts of the country cannot be said to be safe from the rising insecurity. Apart from armed gangs robbing and killing people with relative ease, kidnappers have also been on the prowl. Due to the worsening security situation, people now live in perpetual fear as they are not safe on the highways and even in their homes. Rural communities are not spared as farmers avoid going to their farms for fear of being killed or abducted by criminals.
There is no doubt that the deplorable security situation poses a threat to the continued corporate existence of the country. Protection of lige and property of the citizenry is the primary responsibility of any government. Therefore, no government would like to fail in the discharge of this primary function. For the present administration, which came to power with the promise to tackle insecurity, among others, it behooves on it to decisively deal with the prevailing security situation. We say this because the reality on ground is at variance with the hopes of the citizens.
The government may have done something in addressing the security challenges, but the efforts are not enough. Bandits, kidnappers and sundry criminals are still terrorising Nigerians in various parts of the country. Murderous herdsmen still operate in many parts of the North East, North Central and the Southern part of the country. The successes recorded by the security agencies against Boko Haram insurgents in the early life of the administration are seemingly being reversed in some cases.
The President’s warning to the service chiefs on the deteriorating security is in order. He spoke the minds of many Nigerians on the issue. However, the challenge should go beyond the verbal admonition. There is urgent need to rejig the nation’s security architecture.
Nigerians are clearly not satisfied with the performance of the security heads. There is a general feeling that they have performed below expectations. It is instructive to recall that the service chiefs have been in the saddle since 2015. Five years is enough time to prove themselves. We have had enough of the killings and avoidable bloodshed in the country. Something drastic needs to be done.
We commend the president for his frank reading of the situation, his charge to the service chiefs to improve the situation, even though belatedly. The service chiefs should take the warning by the President with all amount of seriousness. They should sit up and inject fresh ideas into the system. At the same time, we enjoin the government to address any obstacles which may have hampered the security chiefs from performing their jobs satisfactorily.