The recent spate of attacks on Nigeria, especially on critical infrastructures, are worrisome. It has gotten persons within and outside government talking and looking for solutions.
Members of the 4th Estate of the Realm are also not keeping quiet. Hence, the National Association of Online Security News Publishers (NAOSNP) is lending its voice to the matters arising with a view to seeking lasting solution to a problem that has claimed too many lives.
We have sorrowed, mourned collectively and individually as a nation burying victims of premature killings by heartless and inhuman terrorists. The more people wailed, the more joy and happiness the terrorists feel and inflict us with more pains. The recent attack on critical infrastructures like targeting airport and railways show how audacious the terrorists have become.
The bombing of a Kaduna-Abuja bound train last Monday night and on Sunday preventing Azman airline from taking off at the Kaduna airport are indications that the terrorists have advanced their technological innovations. If not checked by the security forces, it might not only be calamitous but will spell doom for the country.
Could it be that the military has lowered the guard as some critics believe? Or the “technically defeated” axiom has gone into their consciousness and they think they can obliterate the terrorists without much resistance?
Though the military is not clueless but every efforts seem not to have been enough to comprehensively knock the criminals out of proportion or existence. Every day, terrorists are inflicting pains on Nigerians. The more proactive our military become, the deadlier the criminals assume. The more of them that our troops obliterate, the more they seem to regenerate and multiply. Despite the procurement of weaponry and armaments by the military in the last few years, recent terrorist attacks have pointed to the fact that whatever strategies that is evolved needs sharpening and redefinition.
The fact remains that the military need to do more than it is presently doing. Beyond aggressive confrontation, this is a time to explore both local intelligence gathering, and at the same time, employ sophisticated security technology. It should also watch its deradicalisation programme not to shoot itself on the feet as many of the so-called ‘repentant terrorists’ may still be loyal to their traditional lineage – terrorist network.
Besides, the military must take cognisance of those who are voluntarily turning themselves in as terrorists. Boko Haram and ISWAP networks might use them as a bait to gather information, anaylse and sieve such information and use it to hit back hard on the military at the slightest opportunity.
Again, the military must not ignore some disgruntled elements within the ranks that might want to constitute a clog in the wheel of progress by divulging classified information to the terrorists either as sympathetic followers or for monetary gains.
Last Monday’s incident, (28th March, 2022), is the second in a series of attacks on the railways. The first being in 2021 leading to shooting at a moving train. It is unfortunate that since then, no decisive step seem to have taken place to nip it in the bud. After the train was shot at and another rail line bombed, we ought to have deployed a helicopter to monitor the movement of trains.
If the narration from victims that the terrorists spoke Fulfulde language was true, it goes to show that while combating terrorism within the country, efforts should be made to tighten our borders with neighbouring countries. What is the Nigeria Immigration Service doing to get firm control over movement of unregistered foreigners? Go to our streets and see the number of Nigeriens, Chadians, Beninoise, Cameroonians, Malians and Sudanese citizens who have no means of identification? These are working tools in the hands of terrorists and they allegedly carry out reconnaissance mission for them before attack. Until we mop up these unregistered and monitor other registered individuals, peace might elude us.
The attacks on a train with 398 passengers is a huge affront on our National Security. But how the number of the passengers rose to 970 as alleged is a pointer to the security agencies to contend with and the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) in particular to analyse and deal with frontally.
The unfortunate thing is that where the bandits are giving headache along Kaduna-Abuja road, a very heavily forested area, is not up to 30km along the highway. How come we can’t police a place of not more than 30kms as a country? How come we can’t put intelligence assets and keep terrorists away or get them neutralised?
In the Army alone, there are over 100 Major Generals, tens of Vice Admirals and Air Vice Marshal in both the Navy and Airforce respectively. What are they doing? In the Nigeria Police, you probably lost counts of Commissioners of Police. Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGs) and Deputy Inspector of Police (DIGs). Are they there to wear just ranks and allow terrorists to overwhelm the rest of us?
Let it be understood that every security Committee at the National Assembly has failed us. They only bark when occurrences of this nature happens. Are they legislating over dead people or those that are alive? This seasons of giving ultimatum to the military at the slightest occurrence of attack is tragic and unfortunate.
Sadly, watching the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, spoke on Tuesday tells a discerning mind the sorry state of affairs. He said he was very angry that the devastating incident of a terrorist attack on the Abuja-Kaduna rail route could have been avoided if his ‘colleagues and people’ had not frustrated his efforts to forestall it.
“We knew what the problem would be. We knew we needed to have digital security equipment. We applied for it because if we had those equipment, you will see nobody on that track. And I warned that lives will be lost. Now, lives are lost. Eight persons dead, 25 persons in the hospital. We don’t know how many persons have been kidnapped. And the cost of that equipment is just N3 billion. The cost of what we’ve lost is more than N3 billion. We’ve lost tracks, we’ve lost locomotives and coaches. We’ve lost human beings. And the equipment is just N3 billion. To fix all the things on that track now, will cost us more than N3 billion.”
Minister Amaechi’s utterances is only an indication that something is wrong with us as a nation, we have all failed ourselves. These are, certainly, bad times for our country. Terrorists, bandits, kidnappers are not friends but our enemies.