Terrorists are at the verge of overrunning Nigeria. That is the unfortunate sad truth nakedly before all of us.
Evidence suggests that they are in strategic offices and everywhere in the country – no bush in any part of Nigeria is save for farming anymore. We must acknowledge these facts without bringing in any sentiments of politics, religion or tribe so that we could in unison genuinely try to redeem the already hopeless situation. Above all, President Buhari must fairly and justly act now and decisively too, because it does appear that the security of this country has been compromised.
The manner terrorists successfully attacked the Kuje prison in Abuja and released their captured members is an international embarrassment and a disgrace that has exposed Nigeria to global ridicule as unserious country. The situation is inexplicable and unacceptable. When the implication will begin to manifest, it will be extremely devastating and too costly to this nation, economically and security wise.
How can a sane mind explain that a sovereign country with army, air force, police, DSS etc. and many secret security agencies at its arsenal did not get any tip when this evil of attack was even at its elementary stage of hatching, to talk of it being successfully executed? Where is the intelligence-gathering unit of this country? Reports have it that this bunch of terrorists operated for more than “2 hours 45 minutes” trying to release their captured members. This is intolerable and despicable, and it is a heavy indictment of accomplice on the part of perhaps some security agents/chiefs and some leaders of this country. Is this not terrible?
The tragic irony of it all that made the embarrassment and the disgrace so scary is that the ugly incident happened in no other place than the Federal Capital Territory Abuja – not far away from Aso Rock, the place President Buhari and his kitchen cabinets reside. If these terrorists could have a successful operation in Abuja, the message simply means that nobody is safe anywhere in Nigeria. Just a few days ago the convoy of President Buhari was attacked. Thank God that he was not in the convoy and that no life was lost. If the convoy of a president with all the military forces attached to him can be attacked: who is safe?
According to reports, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Dr Shuaibu Belgore said that the attack did not “come to” him “as a surprise because the security architecture in the entire country is very weak, especially in the North West, many amongst the security personnel operating on Abuja – Katsina/Zamfara routes are informants to terrorists.” Is this country not a joke?
It was reported that when President Buhari visited the attacked Kuje prison he was shocked and asked many questions. “How many inmates were in the facility? How many of them can you account for? How many personnel did you have on duty? How many of them were armed? Were there guards on the watchtower? What did they do? Does the CCTV work? How can terrorists organize, have weapons, attack a security installation and get away with it?” President Buhari was reported to have queried. The questions he asked are the right questions, however they are the same questions Nigerians and the entire world are expecting to get the answers from him and his security chiefs.
I also have many questions in my mind. Who where those on duty at the time of the attack? The attack was reported to have lasted nearly three hours; were the security forces like army and air force etc. informed? If they were informed, who informed them? If they were not informed; why? If they did respond; were they on time and also with enough military and right weapons? Are the Nigerian air force and military war jets not functioning? If they are not functioning; why? And if yes, why have they not been used to aerially attack and follow the terrorists until they have no place to hide? And why is the Nigerian government not finding it necessary to make it as a routine policy to use the Nigerian air force to aerially comb all the bushes that are hiding kidnappers, bandits and terrorists etc. – and also as a policy of response to any distress call of bandits, heavy armed robbers and terrorists’ attack? If this approach can be adopted, around 80 % of this nonsense would have been taken care of. But this is not possible in a place like Nigeria, and not because that the money is not there but because events have made it evidently clear that some highly privileged animals are secretly behind this pain of Nigerians. Meanwhile billions are mapped out monthly by both the state and the federal government in the name of security votes, which they actually use to secure only themselves and their immediate families.
A country where terrorists and kidnappers use mobile phones to negotiate how much should be paid to them for the release of their victims without being traced is a country where the security system is compromised or has collapsed.
President Buhari must do the needful now by first sacking the Minister, Federal Ministry of Interior, Ogbeni Adesoji Aregbesola and Controller General for Nigeria Correctional Service Haliru Nababa. Equally, he must fairly and justly investigate the security agents on duty on this day of the attack to ascertain the role they played and take the right action.
If terrorists could attack a presidential convoy, and also a place like Kuje prison for nearly three hours and successfully free their members without suffering many casualties, it tells it all that Nigeria is indeed a joke.
Uzoma Ahamefule, a concerned patriotic citizen and a refined African traditionalist, writes from Vienna, Austria.
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