Nigerians are increasingly bothered about the killings and general insecurity in the land as the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government appears incompetent to deal with this cancer ravaging the country
By Olu Ojewale
THE Nigerian political scene is currently and expectedly charged with a lot of movement of persons from one party to the other as politicians, scheme for political advantage. But it appears nobody really cares about the violence that has been taking the shine off the Nigerian democracy for sometimes now with killings in many places in the country.
In past months, weeks and days, hardly has a day passed without reports of violent attacks, killings, kidnapping among other crimes in Nigeria.
For instance, on Saturday, July 28, 15 persons were kidnapped by unknown gunmen in Maradun Local Government Area of Zamfara State.
Two days earlier, bandits had taken over three districts comprising more than 18 villages and towns in Zurmi Local Government Area in the state.
Sanusi Rikiji, the speaker, Zamfara State House of Assembly, who addressed journalists in Gusau, on Sunday, said that the security situation in the state called for serious review.
“Security agencies should do more and more to deploy enough security personnel in Zamfara; we need permanent security stations in the affected area.
“We thank the federal government’s immediate intervention on this issue. As I am speaking now the troops, security personnel, have been deployed to the affected areas in Zurmi.
“They have started restoring normalcy in the area. We appeal to the people of the area to remain calm as government in collaboration with security agencies is working to maintain peace and stability in the areas,’’ he said.
Indeed, on Sunday, July 29, President Muhammadu Buhari announced the deployment of a 1000-strong security force to Zamfara to check the worsening security situation there.
The security force includes the army, air force, police and civil defence. The president also ordered the deployment of two fighter jets to the state, which will operate from a base in nearby Katsina State.
The Premium Times reports said that hundreds of people had been killed in the past year by bandits in Zamfara. The attackers also often burn villages and kidnap for ransom.
Late in July, Boko Haram insurgents started bombarding the Nigerian military. To underscore their readiness to fight to the death, the jihadists reportedly launched horrendous attacks on Nigerian soldiers in Borno and Yobe states.
They first ambushed a military convoy in Bama, Borno State before attacking a military base, both within a space of 24 hours. In the ensuing fighting, scores of soldiers from the 21 Brigade were displaced. Aside from those missing in action, an AFP report said the corpses of 10 soldiers were recovered after the skirmishes, in addition to the members of the Civilian Joint Task Force who died.
Perhaps, to contain the damage, the military authorities tried to hide the extent of damage to life and property. Although the military officials later confirmed the incident, the casualty number is hazy.
The second attack, which occurred in nearby Yobe State, a day later, was just as devastating for the military. This time, the jihadists used their huge number to overwhelm the 81 Division Forward Brigade located at Jilli, Geidam. The base also lost some of its equipment to the insurgents. The base reportedly has over 700 personnel, with most of them just deployed from Lagos in the theatre of war. Initial reports said less than just 100 troops were accounted for after a fierce encounter that lasted for more than two hours.
As if that was not bad enough, the Police command in Bayelsa confirmed the theft of a set of three-year-old twins on Monday, July 30, by unknown persons at Ekeki Motor Park in Yenagoa, the state capital.
Asinim Butswat, a deputy superintendent of Police, and the public relations officer of the command, confirmed the incident in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, on Tuesday, July 31, in Yenagoa, capital of the state.
Butswat said the assailants stole the babies and ran to an unknown destination.
“We have alerted our tactical team for investigations and the perpetrators will be brought to book,” he said.
Narrating the incident to the NAN reporter, Fumi, the victims’ eldest sister, said it took place at a time Modupe Joseph, their mother, went to a mini market in the area to buy salt.
She said: “Our mummy went to Etegwe-Tombia area of Yenagoa to buy salt to cook corn.
“The four of us were left in the custody of one Aisha Ahmed at the motor park.
“Suddenly, one man approached me and gave me N200 to buy food for my siblings but I refused and told him that we have already eaten,” she said.
Modupe said that the man persisted and made her to collect the money and proceeded to buy the food. “Unfortunately, before I could return, the man had carried my twin brothers away,” she said.
She said that the assailant came in a black Sienna bus, which he parked nearby.
In Abia, the state Police command on Monday, July 30, reported that it had arrested 43 suspects for various criminal offences including kidnapping, armed robbery, murder and defilement.
Anthony Ogbizi, the state commissioner of Police, disclosed this while briefing journalists in Umuahia on the efforts of the command to rid the state of violent crimes.
Ogbizi said that the arrest was a result of efforts by the command to ensure a peaceful and crime-free society.
“Some of the suspects are notorious. They have been arrested before in connection with crimes and later released but here they are today for similar crimes,” he said.
He also attributed the arrest to the improved synergy between the police and the state vigilance group.
Some of the suspects included alleged members of a confraternity called Aro Confraternity, a syndicate that specialised in car theft and other crimes.
That notwithstanding, the general state of criminality has become a source of concern for everyone in the country because the federal government appears to be incapacitated to handle the recurrence.