The recent alarm by the United States over the infiltration of Al-Qaeda into the North West region of Nigeria should be given serious attention by the security agencies. The commander of the United States Special Operations Command, Africa, Dagvin Anderson, had warned that the Al-Qaeda terrorist group was expanding to the North West region of Nigeria and other parts of West Africa.
The alarm coming at a time of heightened attacks by bandits in the North West states of Kaduna, Katsina and Sokoto should not be taken lightly. Nigeria is already grappling with many security challenges such as the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East, the attacks by bandits in the North West and the killer herdsmen in the North Central region and the South. There is hardly any part of the country that can be said to be free from the pervading insecurity. Apart from armed gangs robbing and killing with relative ease, kidnappers have also been on the prowl. Due to the worsening security situation in the country, people are now living in perpetual fear as they are not safe on the highways and even in their homes. The rural communities are also not spared as they are regularly invaded by bandits. The farmers are also prevented from going to their farms for fear of being killed or abducted by either bandits or killer herdsmen or both.
The growing general insecurity must have been responsible for the nation’s poor rating in the latest Global Terrorism Index (GTI), which ranked Nigeria the third terrorism most impacted country in the world, coming behind Afghanistan and Iraq. Without doubt, the penetration of Al-Qaeda into the country will further worsen its security. The warning by the United States should, therefore, not be trivialised but given all the attention it deserves. The US does not raise false alarm on security issues. The latest warning is timely and must not be ignored.
Al-Qaeda is considered the most deadly and sophisticated Islamic terrorist organisation in the World. The group is transnational and fatalistic. Its targets include military and civilian settlements. Key infrastructure and national institutions are not spared in the group’s attacks. Therefore, no stone should be left unturned in preventing its operatives from entering the country. The assurance by the military authorities of being on top of the situation is heart-warming. The security agencies should not rest on their oars. The alarm by the US is a wake-up call for the security agencies to up their game.
We urge the Federal Government to adequately equip the security agencies so that they can effectively tackle the rising insecurity across the country. There is urgent need for the government to collaborate with the US and other countries in intelligence gathering and sharing. Nigeria can also enlist the expertise of other countries on how to tackling the insurgency and other security challenges. The government must do everything humanly possible to ensure that Al-Qaeda does not gain ground in any part of the country.
We enjoin President Muhammadu Buhari to do the needful and provide the military the needed tools to fight the rising terrorism. After all, the primary function of any government is to ensure the security of life and property of the citizenry. Moreover, the current administration had in 2015 promised to tackle insecurity among other issues. Therefore, the government must fulfill its promise.
We urge the military to prevent Al-Qaeda’s infiltration into the country. We believe that this is, indeed, the right time to overhaul the nation’s security architecture. It is time to evolve new strategies to tackle the rising insecurity. Besides, the government must take decisive steps to adequately equip the military and other security agencies so that they can effectively check the rising insecurity. The US alarm should serve as a clarion call on the government and the security agencies to come up with pragmatic measures to combat the looming danger.