Says prison congestion national scandal From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday met with a delegation of the justices of the Supreme Court, where he made case that a new approach be applied to hasten the decongestion of prisons in Nigeria. The justices were led into the meeting by the Chief Justice…
Nigeria is a complex country, so complex that it is hard to lay hands on a particular area that one can claim to be our strength, not even the unity we enjoy. This is a country that is not aware of its past and is completely disengaged from its history. Many volatile issues have caused the unfortunate shedding of innocent blood, yet we have allowed such issues to repeat themselves incessantly. Also, issues have reared up and tried to unite us yet we have refused to hold on to such gains that are in the overall interest of the country.
When the military was drafted to Maiduguri, Borno State, in 2009 to quell the unfortunate violent disagreement between the Mohammed Yusuf-led radical Islamic group and the police, sequel to a clampdown on its members, the feud that ensued degenerated into a bloody encounter, which compelled the then President to direct the military to wade into the fracas.
As is usual with the military, they professionally “captured” the leader of the sect, which was already blossoming into a formidable force. The captured Yusuf was then handed over to the police. There and then, the story changed, like that of the lion and the fox, who, after killing and eating the chicken left in its custody tried to pass the blame on the lion. The police claimed it was an accidental shot that killed Yusuf, and that was the genesis of the birth of the Boko Haram terror group, which mushroomed into a well-armed terrorists organisation with an ideology that enticed and engulfed virtually every youth in the North-East part of Nigeria. As the sect grew in leaps and bounds, the immediate past government of President Goodluck Jonathan was very reluctant, as politics was added to the imbroglio surrounding the Islamist extremist group, whose orientation was to wage a jihad against the Nigerian state.
As the 2015 election drew nearer, the Jonathan administration embarked on a clandestine approval billions of naira, claiming it was for weapons and jets, only for the discovery to come up later, according to a government inquiry, that the funds were shared among political leaders and the top echelon of the armed forces. With the current administration of President Muhamadu Buhari, the military was able to end the insurgency, however, at a great price.
As we count our losses, it is necessary to also count our gains because no wise hunter forgets the sleepless nights he went through before killing a leopard. The Army and the Airf Force have made us proud just as they have by their gallantry reclaimed their prestige. Nigerians respect and believe in their military. The question is, shall we go to sleep like the hunter who thought his catch had been incapacitated, and slept off only to be woken by the roaring of his prey? Regretably, we are a forgetful people who only eat food once it is served and never remember how the food was prepared. I will not be surprised if no historian is comparing notes of the wars that have shed blood in the country. I will not be wrong to find that nothing is being done to counter the ideology of the sect among northern youths that are multiplying like bees. I will not be wrong if the government at the federal and state level in the affected ares forget that thousands of innocent lives were lost in nine years of terrorism that rendered millions homeless. l will not be wrong to find the federal government forgetting to upgrade the military and its personnel, in readiness for another similar situation. We should not forget that the group had alleged links to al-Qaeda, but in March 2015, it announced its allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The last we heard from the military was that they had dispersed into other states of the country and other neighbouring countries. As l write this piece, news filtered in of two female suicide bombers stopped in their tracks as they went to bomb a market in Maiduguri. The country has a lot to do in respect of ensuring the total annihilation of Boko haram.
Efforts must be made in ensuring that our boarders are secure. It is in times like this that nations rejig their security strategies and policies. The porosity of our borders, especially in the North and West has created a lot of security challenges that need to be resolved immediately.
One might consider the suggestion of establishing a boarder force whose duty would be overseeing the security of our boarders, under the management of the Nigerian Immigration Service. Also, government should hold a conference where all the leaders of religious institutions (Christians and Moslems) and educational institutions are enlightened on the destructive effects of Boko Haram’s ideology. Until all these steps are well taken and implemented, we cannot beat our chest that we have eliminated Boko Haram.
Abuja residents were overjoyed during the Christmas season when the security of the city was heightened. Every nook and cranny of the federal capital city was well manned by the police. The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mohammed Mustapha, must have done a lot of homework. He must have understudied the strategies of his predecessor, Mr. Wilson Inalegwu, and improved on them. Such improvements in securing the Federal Capital Territory should be commended. It is such meticulous attitude to work that brings about improvement, instead of the nonchalant attitude of some state police commissioners who are not ready to improve on what they met on the ground. The entire festive season came and passed with no noticeable criminal incident. No kidnapping, no robbery and no scare of terrorist attacks. Abuja city dwellers slept well, but the roads were a different matter as reckless driving became the order of the day due to decongested roads and highways.
Security File encourages the FCT Police Command to keep up the good policing work.