Time To Stop These Killings

Boko Haram

The horrendous loss of human lives that has assumed a daily affair across the country is an expression of the state of anomie to which Nigeria has descended in recent months. Indeed, it would not amount to exaggeration to say that Nigeria has become a huge killing field where murderers prowl with impunity.

Only recently, no fewer than 30 persons were reportedly killed following a communal clash in Toto Local Government Area of Nassarawa state. The most recent incidents with heavy human casualties include the attacks by gunmen in Gwaska, a village in Birni-Gwari Local Government of Kaduna State which claimed over 70 lives. Scores of persons were also murdered in cold blood in separate attacks in Adamawa State. The tidal wave of carnage, destruction and displacement of citizens appear intractable in spite of assurances by government that security agencies are up to the tasks.

It is bad enough that no one can say when the ongoing spate of killings will end in Nigeria as the monstrosity seems to be defying immediate solution. More worrisome is that the spates of killing are becoming hydra-headed with mushrooming of killer gangs whose motives remain as confounding as the horror they perpetrated. It is unfortunate that the security of indigenous communities in the North-Central states of Plateau, Benue and Nassarawa as well as in Zamfara states in the Northwest has been greatly imperilled as a result of frequent attacks by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen and Cattle rustlers respectively.

Although the recent killings by marauders have, no doubt, overstretched the security forces that are yet to fully contend with the Boko Haram terrorists, the unpleasant development has been allowed to fester for too long. It is therefore a sad commentary that efforts at tracking the perpetrators of these heinous crimes have not yielded reasonable results.

It is rather disappointing that the intelligence agencies have failed to track and fish out the criminals who obviously are not ghosts. Although the Federal Government has tried at different times to provide reasons why the wave of attacks have been difficult to curtail, it is however evident that no excuse would appear tenable in the face of wanton killings.

President Muhammadu Buhari had in a recent interview in London attributed the challenge to the infiltration of foreigners from neighbouring countries and in particular the remnants of militias trained by the late Libya strongman, Maumar Gadaffi. Considering the prevailing anguish and uncertainties across the county, no excuses will suffice than for government to ensure that the country becomes safer and secured for the citizens. The prevailing bloodletting in Nigeria gives credence to the uncharitable characterisation of Nigeria as a failed state where human live has become cheap and worthless for obvious reasons.

That Government has shown determination to contain the insurgency is not in doubt, but it is about time to put an end to the killings. The ferocious manner with which bandits are spilling blood and wasting innocent lives from place to place in Nigeria almost on a daily basis is an indication that a lot more still needs to be done to firm up the security architecture and intelligence to guarantee the protection of lives and property of the citizens.

We take due cognisance of government’s efforts to strengthen the military by creating new operational bases in some of the troubled spots in the country. However, the welfare of the personnel will be a greater motivation and that should be uppermost in the quest to reorganise the security agencies.

The Nigeria Police, as presently constituted, is so unwieldy and has shown clear difficulty in gathering intelligence as well as responding to local exigencies as the attacks occur mostly in remote villages. This further underscores the imperative for state police, which is better placed to handle the policing of the local communities.

While we urge government to remain committed to addressing the security challenges, we propose that equal attention be paid to engender social security through empowerment and employment to discourage crime. Government should create the enabling environment for the youths to be productively engaged, because an idle mind, they say, is the devil’s workshop.

The public too has a duty to partner government and the security agencies in ensuring safety of lives and property. The security system in any country is as good and efficient as the intelligence at its disposal. This is where the people must assist with relevant information while the security personnel must protect the identity of the people who may come forward to provide sensitive information that could help the security agencies.

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Author: Our Correspondents