The Kaduna highway, which is approximately two hundred kilometers from the nation’s capital, Abuja, for many months has been in the news. The highway is now the harbinger of criminal gangs, owing to incessant criminality, kidnapping, banditry, including rape of young Nigerian girls. This happens virtually on daily basis, so also in other parts of the country unabated. This, unfortunately, has become a daily occurrence and nothing concrete is being done by those in authority, to permanently address this hydra headed monsters that are having a field day.
The abduction and killing of eight students of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, last week, is yet another case in point, which up till now, the whereabouts of the victims remain unknown. Also the recent abduction of some very senior police officers on their way to Zamfara State, without trace, to say the least, is highly embarrassing and ridiculous. While that was happening, in faraway Cross River, five people, including an Ex-lawmaker’s wife, husband to a journalist and three others were also abducted and taken to unknown destinations.
Eye witness account of the inglorious operations of the kidnappers, on Abuja-Kaduna road, hinted that often times, the hoodlums operate freely for hours, without any challenge from security operatives. We seem not to have learnt from these myriads of security challenges facing us because we have failed in intelligence gathering and application. A lesson we can draw from the recent successful rescue mission by American soldiers, who stormed the North Western part of Nigeria, to free an American citizen, reportedly kidnapped by terrorists in Niger and moved into Nigeria.
Yes, the US soldiers were well equipped, but one thing that worked on a mission like this is intelligence gathering, which America is reputed for. Even at that, securing lives and properties of citizens, in this scientific age is not rocket science. The way our security operatives go about this, makes it look like a very difficult thing to do, by continually making excuses for failure, while the country gradually slides into lawlessness; with criminals having a field day, as law abiding citizens live in perpetual fear.
Every year, huge sums of money are budgeted for security, but unfortunately, the country continues to record abysmal performances from its security operatives, simply because such monies end up in the pockets of individuals, and nothing is done about it. Yet, every time, we continue to hear that we have degraded and decimated the hoodlums, which is not true. Unfortunately, we have forgotten that every sector of the economy wholly depends on how safe and secure a country is.
We challenge the present government, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari to do the needful, by ensuring that the criminal elements ravaging all the nooks and crannies of the country for once are brought to account, before the country slides into anarchy. Today, Nigerians are not only asking for food, but also for security. There is total breakdown of security in the country, leaving one to wonder the fate of the ordinary man, if senior police officers can be abducted for days without trace of where they are at present.
The deployment of sophisticated security equipment for surveillance on highways and identified hotspots, at this critical period the country is going through serious security challenges, may not be a bad idea. Having a secured and peaceful environment, is the only way the government can attract the much needed direct foreign investment going forward. This yuletide season especially, requires extra security across the country, as it is the period when crime rate is at the highest. The media, including The Catholic Herald, in the past had stressed on the security problems the country is currently facing.
The interesting thing is that, something can still be done, since it is never too late to fix things, so long as the present government is determined to right the wrongs of the past. We expect the authorities to curry the relationships of the locals on intelligence gathering, for effective policing in the country. It is important for the government to win back the confidence of the people, and that can be achieved when lives and properties are safe and secure.
We demand the unconditional release of the students of Ahmadu Bello University, kidnapped on Abuja-Kaduna highway and the senior police officers abducted in Zamfara, as well as those kidnapped in Cross River State i.e. the wife of the ex-lawmaker, the husband of the journalist and three others. We also call on the law enforcement agencies to be more proactive, and not allow the recent development in the country to dampen their spirits in discharging their constitutional duty, even as we call on the government to support the security agencies all the way, to achieve optimum results in safeguarding the country all year round