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Editorial

Nigeria: A distraught nation of sorrow and lamentation in search of solution

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By Dr Moses George

Nigerians woke up on Sunday to the sad news of the kidnap of over 30 persons on the bridge linking Kaduna town to Millennium City in Kaduna State. In that incident, one person was reportedly gunned down as he tried to escape from the scene. The perpetrators of this dastardly act were said to be heavily armed men in military uniforms who pretended to be checking if people complied with the covid 19 safety protocol of wearing face masks.

In another incident that happened on Thursday at about 6 PM, a naval officer and a woman travelling together in a car were killed along the Lokoja — Okene expressway in Kogi State. Few days ago before this incident, suspected bandits reportedly killed one GSM Abubakar, an Nigerian army officer along the same highway. .

GSM Abubakar, was an army captain attached to the 353 Artillery Regiment, Ojo, Lagos. He was travelling from Lagos to Jaji near Kaduna to participate in this year’s junior officer’s course at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, The late Captain was travelling in company with his wife and mother when the sad incident occurred.

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These days, it is almost impossible to keep up with the senseless killings that are going on all over Nigeria. Every other day, Nigerians are greeted by reports of gory killings that benumb the mind. Daily, lives are terminated prematurely through armed robbery, assassinations, kidnapping, cultism and insurgency. Sadly, Nigeria has become a nation of sorrow and lamentation.

While Nigerian government appears to be doing nothing much to curb this menace, apart from issuing statements after statements to condemn such acts, similar incidents continue to occur all over Nigeria almost on a daily basis. This has provoked the United States government into issuing a statement through Michael R. Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of State, calling on the Nigerian government to “do more to strengthen ongoing efforts to address this violence, hold those responsible accountable, and protect  civilians.”

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In a report by Amnesty International, the death toll from herdsmen attacks alone in January 2018 was 168. That report also said that in 2017, herders were responsible for 549 deaths. Another report put together by Sunday Vanguard newspaper said Nigeria recorded 1,351 violent deaths in the first 10 weeks of 2018. In January, 676 persons were killed, 526 in February and 146 as at March 10. The North – East, where Boko Haram has continued to unleash mayhem has the highest casualty figure.

This unabated killing implies that Nigeria’s security system has either collapsed or is not working effectively. It is disheartening that with all that is happening, large numbers of police officers have continued to be assigned to protect VIPs, political office holders, executives and corporate organizations. This is absurd and the ugly trend must be reversed immediately. Police officers must be allowed to return to their normal policing responsibilities immediately.

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While the restoration of order and peace to this cracked polity is a task that the government must be undertaken with every sense of responsibility, it is unfortunate that the Buhari administration, like most of its predecessors, appears not to have any concrete solution.

It is expedient that Buhari should put his security chiefs, especially the Inspector General of Police and Director-General of the State Security Service on their toes. He should set targets for them to achieve.

This administration should as a matter of urgency embark on a systematic programme to mop up illegal arms and restrict their further entry into the country. Statistics show that Nigeria is home to 70 per cent of the 500 million small and light weapons that is currently circulating in West Africa. Nigeria’s government must take all necessary actions to end this mindless violence now.

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