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Bello saw Abuja attacks!

Those familiar with Nigeria’s security situation would not be surprised at the panic that enveloped the Federal Capital Territory FCT, Abuja following resurging terrorism attacks.

Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State saw it coming and warned of its consequences. But he was neither taken seriously nor steps taken to address his fears. In November last year, he cried out about Boko Haram infiltration of the state, hoisting flags in captured communities including Kaure village in the Shiroro Local Government Area.

He then warned that with the proximity of Kaure, a two-hour drive to the FCT, “nobody is safe anymore not even Abuja residents”. Before then, many Nigerians had variously expressed apprehension at the ease with which non-state actors compromise strategic national institutions. That was the prevailing feeling when terrorists attacked the Kuje Correctional Centre, Abuja for which Islamic State West Africa Province ISWAP claimed responsibility.

The security situation in the FCT took to the worse last week after the killing of two officers of the elite Presidential Guards’ Brigade and six other military men ambushed by terrorists as they went to investigate a threat to the Nigerian Law School, Bwari.

The killings coupled with reports of impending attack on the seat of government, heightened the air of insecurity leading to the shutting down of schools in the FCT. That should be the first of its type that schools within the FCT were hurriedly shut for fear of terrorism attacks. But it remains a big statement on the general level of insecurity across the country.

Given the ease the Kuje correctional facility succumbed to the superior planning and firepower of the terrorists, there is every reason to fear their capacity to make good their attack threats. Additionally, the ambush and killing of the officers and men of the Presidential Guards’ Brigade suggest that those who carried out the attack, had insider information on that discreet assignment.

Nobody is sure any longer of what is really happening. And if the FCT could succumb to the attacks witnessed in the last few weeks, residents have genuine reasons to feel sufficiently threatened.

Ironically, we are being told that President Buhari has done more than expected of him in ensuring the security of Nigerians. Presidential aide, Garba Shehu, while reacting to a trending video of terrorists flogging captives of the Abuja- Kaduna train attack, had itemized those fulfilled expectations in terms of moral, material and equipment support to the military.

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Even if we assume the president has given the military all the needed support in the war against terrorism, has that achieved the desired result? It is one thing to give such support and entirely different ball game to suggest it has brought about improved security in the country. Far from it!

So when we are told that the president has done more than expected of him in securing the country, one begins to wonder whether the author of such statement is operating from the moon.

The president could not have done more than expected of him on security when the very seat of government is so seriously assailed that schools had to be hurriedly shut down and residents thrown into fear and trepidation. He could not have done enough with the spate of senseless killings and kidnapping for ransom that have debased the worth of human life in this country.

Even if the context of that statement is to indict the military for their inability to secure the country having been presumably given the necessary support, the final responsibility for their failure rests squarely on the table of the president.

As the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, the president takes responsibility for the inability of the security agencies to secure the country. The ball stops on his court and it is his sole duty to hold his appointees responsible for their actions or inaction that is fast tilting the country to the precipice.

So it is just not enough to claim the president has done all that is expected of him to secure the country. The critical question is to what extent have those measures been able to achieve the desired result of securing the lives and property of the citizenry?

He could not have done all that is expected of him when the security of the very seat of government he occupies is regularly assailed and compromised by non-state actors with our security forces seemingly helpless. If the president has done his best in the face of the unceasing and embarrassing insecurity across the country, then his best has not been good enough.

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Nothing underscores this frustration than the threat by some senators to initiate impeachment proceedings against the president if within six weeks, he does not take substantial measures to address the biting insecurity that is about to consume the country. The security situation has got to a point that questions the ability and capacity of the Buhari regime to live up to its basic reason for existence.

It is increasingly raising serious challenges to the social contract theory- the bedrock on which the foundation of modern states rests. A government that is increasingly unable to discharge its part of this reciprocity will be hard put to command the loyalty of the citizenry. It is a serious existential challenge both from the point of view of the citizens and the government.

The situation has continued to evoke speculations as to whether there is an agenda behind the spectre of terrorism in the country. The ease with which well-armed foreign terrorists stray and take refuse in our forests and bushes from where they mount regular attacks on harmless citizens conveys the unmistakable impression of a state on the brink of failure.

Yet, we are busy disarming local vigilante services that maintain some semblance of security in the localities. Disarming the vigilante services without reining in the terrorists hiding at their backyards has exposed citizens to the mercy of all forms of marauders. There is an emergency on national security and the government must respond very decisively to allay fears of possible compromise and an agenda.

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