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One week after a marathon meeting with leaders of Nigeria’s security team, the House of Representatives, yesterday, lamented rising insecurity in several parts of the country, especially Kaduna, Benue, Taraba and Plateau states.
The lawmakers took turns to criticise the action and inaction of President Muhammadu Buhari, restating their earlier call for a declaration of emergency on security.
While some called for the sacking or resignation of the National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd.) and the Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd.), others called for the shutdown of the National Assembly, partly blaming the parliament for not doing enough in its oversight of the executive arm.
This is coming a day after the Northern Elders Forum demanded the immediate resignation of President Buhari over killings across the country.
Placing a handle on the dire straits regarding the state of the nation, at least, 2,968 people have been killed, while 1,484 were abducted in the country from January to March 2022, according to data released by the Nigeria Security Tracker (NST). NST, a project of the Council on Foreign Relations, gathered data through weekly surveys of Nigerian and international media.
This is nearly 900 more than 2,085 persons killed in the fourth quarter of 2021 in violent incidents, which raised the tally of deaths to 10,366 in 2021, a sharp increase from the 7,063 fatalities in 2020.
According to the data, more people were killed in the Northwest than in other regions in the country. At least 1,103 people were killed within the period in the region.
The North-central region recorded the second-highest number of murders with 984 killed during the period, while in the Northeast, 488 were killed.
In the Southeast, 181 were killed during the period under review, while in the Southwest and South-South regions, 127 and 85 people were killed respectively.
Terrorists, locally called bandits, have been attacking and killing thousands of people in the Northwest since 2017. These assailants have attacked rural dwellers, destroyed their farmlands and in many cases only allow them to the farm after they have paid protection fees. They have also targeted travellers across the region in what is one of the most lucrative kidnap-for-ransom syndicates on the continent.
The data show that the North is the more violent region with 2,575 (86.8 per cent) murders, while the South recorded 393 deaths (13.2 per cent). Some of the most violent states are Niger with 840 deaths, followed by Zamfara with 404, Borno 392, Kaduna 332 and Kebbi 114.
ASSAILED on all sides with escalating insecurity in the country, the Federal Government, yesterday, blamed it on an ‘unholy’ collaboration between bandits and Boko Haram, as it said fighters of both groups have joined forces, leading to an increase in terrorist activities being witnessed across the country.
The Minister of Defence, Magashi, disclosed this while briefing journalists after the week’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Buhari. He stated that the attacks on the Abuja-Kaduna train and rail track, and other recent attacks in the North were carried out by joint forces of bandits and Boko Haram members working in unison.
“What is happening now is that there is a kind of an unholy handshake between bandits and Boko Haram insurgents. Preliminary reports of what transpired at the Kaduna train attacks show that there is a kind of collaboration between the bandits and the dislodged Boko Haram terrorists from the Northeast. I can tell you very confidently that the Federal Government is on top of this matter,” he told journalists.
On the government’s efforts to arrest the terrorists that carried out the train attack, the minister said: “Honestly, I think the security chiefs are working hard to unveil those that are involved and we will tell you very soon those that are carrying out these attacks.
“For both attacks in Jos and Kaduna, we will come and explain to the public what is really going on and our efforts to ensure that all these activities are stopped once and for all. We are really on top of the situation, we are planning hard and we will get it out as soon as possible.”
Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State had recently revealed that the train attack was carried out by Boko Haram terrorists in collaboration with bandits operating in Kaduna, Zamfara, Sokoto Niger and Kebbi states.
On the 72 hours ultimatum by families of victims of the train attack to secure their release or take their fate into their hands, and what the government is doing, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said: “I think the Minister of Defence has already addressed the issues. One, what the Federal Government is doing won’t be the subject matter of a press conference, because we have lives at stake and various arms of security are working night and day to unravel the mystery surrounding the attack as a whole.
“On the kidnapped people, what I can assure you is that the respective arms of government actually engaged as we speak, are working to get those victims released.
“It’s natural for anybody who is a father or a mother of a kidnap person to be worried and to be concerned, but at the level of government, we appreciate that and we are leaving no stone unturned, but to give you specific steps we’re taking, I think will be counterproductive and not going to aid or help those who are kidnapped or the security forces who are tracing them and ensuring that there’ll be no repeat of such attacks.”
This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.