The story is similar all over the length and breath of the country like a powdered face; Nigerians are suffering sequel to the economic hardship pervading every sector of the economy that is a nose diving at an alarming rate. Paradoxically, the people are not deterred and despite the harsh economic situation , they still encourage themselves by clothing their pains and frustrations smiling just to ease off the tension and suffering. In all of these, Nigerians have created another escape route out of their sorrowful situation, they situate the situation and engage in fasting and prayers.
The stastistics are glaring for everyone to see the effect of the harsh economic realities in the country.
The World Bank economic rating of Nigeria is disheartening yet some unscrupulous politicians have continued to be the source of suffering and hardship in the land .
After the February 2019 general elections, reports had it that illegal weapons were used in some states of the country to disrupt the election exercise. During the exercise, security agencies claimed many of the hoodlums were rounded up and arrested.
However, after the last presidential general elections, there were eruption of violent crime that escalated around many States where political violence were reported. Lives were waisted during these elections violence, as illegally acquired firearms were deployed. Till date, security agencies are still battling to bring the insecurity situation pervading the highways under control. The “ boys” are on rampage ,kidnapping passengers, school teachers and students for high ransom. Unfortunately, the crime of kidnapping has turned out to be the most lucrative evil business in the country .
With each criminal outing fetching at least ten Million Naira per victim per day. With the availability of free firearms provided by evil politicians, the “ boys” are further equipped to strike more innocent and hapless Nigerians. No one knows the statistics of the illegal firearms are imported into the country before the presidential election and after the elections. Those arrested have not been interrogated for Nigerians to be informed of the master minds behind these criminal fellows. Simply put, no politician has been fingered as the sponsor or sponsors of the importation of illegal firearms. Only recently, the lndependent National Electoral Commission (lNEC) conducted two gubernatorial elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States and the reoccurring tale of political thuggery resonated again . Before the elections, it was reported that over 30,000 police men were drafted to over see the security situation in Kogi State and same police strength drafted to Bayelsa State. Surprisingly, the political thugs stormed some Polling booths located in local governments in both states wielding firearms and shooting sporadically. The activities of these armed hoodlums almost made a mockery of the election security arranged for the states, with the death of ten people in Kogi State..
According to Wikipedia, “In any election, authorities take steps to ensure that voters, candidates, pollworkers, observers, and other actors involved in an election experience the process free from fear or harm and to ensure that sensitive election materials are kept secure. The specific security requirements for a given election will vary greatly depending on the context. In places with ongoing conflict, or where there is a significant potential for violence, securing an election will need to address a multiplicity of factors and will likely involve deploying relatively large numbers of security personnel, such as police or military forces, to protect physical locations and individuals. In every election, there will be plans in place for the secure transfer and storage of election materials, especially ballots and ballot boxes. Safeguards to any technologies used in the election process should also be adopted to prevent hacking or manipulation”.
It further describes election security noting that, “Potentials for violence in election periods come from political, economic and social dimensions of a society. Effective violence mitigation plans often include identifying early warning signs, mobilizing citizen monitoring and mitigation efforts, dispatching properly trained security forces, coordinating among government agencies and educating the public, among other things. Multiple institutions, including EMBs, ministries of interior and other relevant bodies, may be involved in creating a secure election environment. These institutions work to develop, implement, and review security measures throughout the electoral process. Civil society, through CSOs, trade unions, religious and traditional leaders, and the media, also plays important roles in creating a secure electoral environment by mediating, building intolerance for violence and enhancing public confidence in experiencing secure electoral participation. In many countries, like Kenya and other countries, plans for electoral security take into account such activities by civil society. In Kenya, civil society and electoral contestants were included in coordination efforts so they could contribute to policy formulation .”
Regrettably however, security analysts are once more sounding a clarion note that, if the illegal firearms used during the Kogi and Bayelsa States gubernatorial elections are not urgently mopped up, then the new narrative would be that southerners and easterners may be subjected to cruel outing of the “boys” who now have free firearms that were not recovered by their political mentors and sponsors.
More worrisome is the fact that Kogi state shares boundaries with ten other states of the country. Which are Federal Capital Territory, Kwara, Enugu, Edo, Niger, Nasarawa, Anambra, Ondo, Ekiti and Benue states.
Also worrisome is the fact that all the adjoining highways in and out of Kogi are unpassably wrecked with high density forest along these highways. These bad roads make kidnapping an easy preoccupation for these jobless youths. lnfact, if security agents can mobilize over 35,000 police men and the Federal Road Safety Corps ( Frsc) can mobilize over ten thousand for a state election while the Military was also there to assist with a battalion, what this translate into is that, all the security agencies in the country, especially rye Police, DSS, Civil Defence and the FRSC including the Army should as a matter of national urgency, cancel Christmas holiday celebration from their calendar in the overall security interest of Nigerians. After all the second line of the national anthem commands thus “Nigeria call, obey.”