The recent killing of soldiers, local vigilance personnel and villagers in Kebbi and Niger states has underscored the rising spate of insecurity in the country. The mayhem came on the heels of the January massacre in Zamfara State in which estimated 200 villagers were killed by suspected bandits. In one of the Kebbi attacks, 18 soldiers were killed on March 8, while eight others were injured in a deadly ambush on their patrol team by terrorists in Kanya community of Danko Wasagu Local Government Area of the state. Also, two members of the patrol team were declared missing after the incident.
The attack occurred while the State’s deputy governor, Samaila Yombe, and the army commanding officer in Kebbi were visiting the community. The terrorists also set ablaze one gun truck belonging to the Army and carted away some guns and rifles during the attack.
Elsewhere in Sakaba border town of Kebbi and Niger states, gunmen went haywire and killed 60 local vigilantes. The local security personnel were on a joint patrol along the area when they ran into gunmen who shot sporadically on them.
The ugly incidents in Kebbi and Niger states are instances of the deplorable security situation in the country. The country is, indeed, no longer safe for the citizens. The attack in Niger, in particular, can be traced to unheeded warnings and alerts. For quite some time, Governor Abubakar Bello has been crying out on the steady influx of terrorists into some parts of the state and has asked the federal government to come to the aid of the residents. Not much attention was, however, paid to his pleas, hence the latest mayhem in the state.
The onslaught on soldiers, local vigilantes and regular assault on citizens in Niger and neigbouring states show the extent the criminals could go in unleashing terror on the people. The situation cannot continue like this. We call on the security agents to rout the criminals without further delay.
The government needs to sit up to its responsibilities and ensure the security of life and property. Government should have monopoly of the instruments of coersion, especially in maintaining law and order. It should not abdicate this responsibility to non-state actors in whatever guise.
Good enough, President Muhammadu Buhari has given assurance that his administration will do its best to safeguard the security of the people and will leave no stone unturned in fishing out the perpetrators of the recurrent senseless and barbaric incidents and bring them to justice. It is time to walk the talk in giving Nigerians a peaceful environment. Let the President put his threats of dealing with the terrorists into action. Nigerians are tired of regular expression of regrets over the attacks by the hoodlums. Something drastic needs be done to check the menace of the criminals. We cannot continue to lose Nigerians and foreigners living in the country to faceless goons. It is time to take the fight to the terrorists and related groups. The country losing 18 soldiers and over 60 of its citizens within two days in peace time is unusual and should not be treated with levity.
Government should tighten the noose on those behind the attacks on the citizens. The rapidity of the violence and relative ease of success by the criminals require change of strategies and enhanced intelligence sharing among security agencies to be on top of the situation. The situation at hand calls for proactive measures in combating these criminals. Government should not only be reacting to their attacks. It is high time the government changed strategies and tackle the menace conclusively.
There is need to rejig the security agencies and ensure that the personnel are equipped to tackle the spiraling insecurity in the country. We call on state governments to augment the efforts of the federal government by equipping and funding the security agents. Security is a responsibility of all.
Security agents should know where the criminals and their sponsors are located. What is lacking is the political will to act. Let the authorities delineate the trouble spots in the country and increase the presence of security agents in those areas. In situations where the insecurity stems from misunderstanding among members of the communities, government should set up peace and reconciliation mechanisms to address the issues. Awareness should be stepped up to dissuade the youths from taking the path of criminality. Government should provide them with jobs to keep them busy. There is need to nip the rising culture of insecurity in the bud.