The recent abduction of school girls numbering about 279 in Jangebe, Zamfara state, and their eventual release by the abductors, few days after they were taken away, in many respects yet again mesmerized the security architecture of the country, particularly in the northern region where no day passes without stories of abduction and killings. This has remained the trend since this administration came into power in 2015. The stories of Dapchi and Chibok girls abductions are still fresh on the minds of the people as many of the victims (girls) are yet to be rescued, many years after they were forcefully taken from their boarding schools. What is surprising is the quick succession at which the abductions of human beings in the country is taking place, and how easy it has become for the bandits to take their preys and finding their ways to the schools unchallenged and the manner also the school children are released afterwards.
The banditry in the north in many ways has brought untold hardship and misery to the people and in fact puts Nigeria in bad light, especially now it appears that some highly placed people are involved in these nefarious activities, according to the revelation of the Zamfara state Governor, Bello Muhammad Matawalle, who refused to mention names, but promised to do so in due course. Many would say Nigeria never had it so bad in terms of injuries, deep division, loss of human lives, destruction of means of livelihood of the people perpetrated by Boko Haram terrorists and other banditry groups now operating freely, especially in the North East and North West have inflicted on the country but yet, government somehow showed weakness when it granted amnesty to the so called Boko Haram members against the yearnings of the people.
Yet, the security problems persist and in fact, have become worse as the whole country appears to be encircled by these mindless and blood thirsty groups, whose ideology still baffles right thinking people of the country. When in 2009 the late President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua granted amnesty to the youths of Niger Delta, who then agitated against environmental degradation and the destruction of the eco system in the South-South region, owing to oil explorations, those involved however laid down their weapons and embraced the good gesture of government. But in the case of Boko Haram, if we should compare, whose crusade so to say is an aberration, as its only agenda is to stop western education in the north, and with all the attendant atrocities caused by these deadly groups, including mass killing of women and children and sacking of villages as many Nigerians, those mainly from the North-East and North-West who now live in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP), camps, the government in spite of all odds and the risk inherent embraced the so called repented ones, including the bandits, but all these entreaties really, have not assuaged these groups as the security problem continues.
Unfortunately, the inability of government to round up the Boko Haram elements, the so called bandits and the Fulani herders now carrying AK47, and roaming freely everywhere in the country, has resulted to other ethnic groups asking questions of their safety and their survival, leading to formations of vigilante groups at least to safeguard their environments from the intruders that may come unannounced, as everyone especially, the youths have woken up to the reality that government cannot protect all of us in the present circumstance. In fact, many prominent Nigerians who at one time held positions of honour had repeatedly called on Nigerians to protect themselves against bandits and killer herdsmen. The aborted arrest of the Yoruba activist, Sunday Igboho by the youths who dared the combined team of the military and the police from arresting their leader in Oyo last week, speaks volume of how red alert the people have become, especially when it is perceived that there is imbalance in the justice system like in Nigeria whereby people are treated based on where they come from.
Yes, we have heard again from the spokes persons of the government, especially the marching order read out by the National Security Adviser, Mohammed Babagana Monguno as directed by the President and Commander- in- Chief, Muhammadu Buhari and handed down to the top military brass to go all out to flush out and come down heavily on those terrorists, criminals and bandits causing mayhem, killing and raping people across Nigeria. The marching order for many Nigerians is not new, but what we think should be new is the tactics and the intelligence the new Service Chiefs would bring to the fore which should be also immediate to tackle the hydra-headed security challenge now ravaging and threatening the corporate existence of the country.
We demand therefore that the idea of granting amnesty for Boko Haram members, the killer herdsmen and the bandits should be halted forthwith since those earlier granted amnesty unfortunately went back to their former bad ways of life. No country unfortunately hob nobs with terror group and not talk of those whose ideology is nonsensical and in many ways presented the country as backward people and savages given that, the bandits and Boko Haram barbaric activities have brought unspeakable misery to the people of Nigeria. We also challenge the new military top brass to see the whole country as their immediate constituents and not treating any part of the country and people as conquered area given the marching order directed by the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, President Muhammadu Buhari.