He adjusted his belt comfortably on his waist as he smiled appreciatively at the man in the mirror. His wife tenderly kissed him, dusted the stain on his badge and made sure that his beret sat well on his head.
“Daddy, please get chocolate for me today,” his daughter said.
“I sure will, my angel. Daddy will buy you the biggest chocolate bars today, ” he said in reply.
Little did he know that he wouldn’t return home alive as his vibrant life was snuffed out of him while discharging his duties along with his colleagues at a checkpoint by unknown gunmen.
She had just been promoted after several years of hard work and commitment. Her new rank fitted her perfectly as she looked forward to having a memorable first day in office on her new role. Just then she heard gunshots – her station was under a surprise attack! Bullets flew here and there as the officers engaged the attackers. She wasn’t fortunate enough as a bullet pierced through her chest. She could only watch helplessly in her own pool of blood as the station which was standing a few minutes ago was burnt to ashes.
The above scenarios accurately pictures the gory happenings that we have been experiencing these past few weeks – the attacks and killings of security personnel.
The three – letter question hanging on the sobbing lips and teary eyes of most individual is “Why?”
While the main cause(s) have not been identified since the attackers are still referred to as “unknown gunmen”, a few probable causes have nonetheless surfaced. What are these?
Whenever news of the gunmen’s attack is reported, the internet is usually divided in its response towards it. While many condemn those acts, a few others have applauded it as a welcome development, they see it as a just retaliation in response to the arrests and deaths of members of the secessionist group in the South East. Could these be retaliatory attacks? We just can’t tell.
Another probable cause could be as a result of a failed government. Despite boasting of being Africa’s largest economy, Bloomberg.com reports that “the jobless rate in Nigeria rose to 33.3%,” also adding that “a third of the 69.7 million strong labor force in Africa’s most-populous nation either did nothing or worked for less than 20 hours a week, making them unemployed, according to the Nigerian definition. Another 15.9 million worked less than 40 hours a week, making them underemployed.” So due to the failure of the government to provide employment, some have sadly resorted to crime, and what better way would crime flourish if not for the crippling of the security system put in place to combat it?
Furthermore, the porosity of the borders is also a likely cause. How else can one explain how the ammunition used by the attackers get into their hands without being intercepted by security officers. This is a probable reason for the security quagmire experienced today.
Additionally, it is equally important to acknowledge that the weak security system and failure to provide advanced technology in combating crime also gives the gunmen the impetus to continue their attacks because with adequate technology, the attackers can be easily identified, tracked and arrested, sadly the security personnel seem pretty under equipped and are often caught off-guard during such terrible attacks.
Consequences of Such Attacks
“No one scratches a sore and doesn’t expect to see blood”, the attacks and killings of security personnel have had devastating consequences.
Such attacks threaten lives and properties. Many have been killed; security officers and the gunmen alike, even innocent civilians caught in the crossfire have not been spared. Government properties like security vehicles and police stations have been burnt to ashes.
Also, these attacks have hindered so many business activities. People whose business places are near police stations and checkpoints are scared to go about their daily economical activities since they do not know when next an attack might happen.
A report by BBC News on April 28 says “Canada, Australia, US, UK give travel warning on Nigeria insecurity…” How worse it had become due to the attacks on security personnel, these barbaric acts definitely discourages both local and foreign investors, little wonder then why foreign investors are snubbing Nigeria in favour of other African countries, afterall who would want to invest in a country where the security personnel charged with the responsibility of securing others are not safe themselves?
These attacks, if left to continue would lead to a total breakdown of law and order and an escalation of other crimes in the country.
What then is the way forward?
Foremost, the government should try its best in ensuring that the unemployment rate among youths is drastically reduced because when everyone become gainfully employed, it would be difficult to see a substantial amount of people subscribing to criminal acts. This can be done by cutting down on unnecessary budgets while investing massively in education, agriculture and technology.
Security personnel should be adequately trained and modern technology for combating crime should be provided for them as they carry out their assignment.
The officers should likewise resist the tendency to abuse their power on helpless civilians as this only breeds hatred for them in the minds of the people.
Security at the borders also needs to be improved and civilians should try to comply with the directives given by these officers in order to avoid unnecessary confrontations.
The government should also try to engage in peaceful dialogues with secessionist groups and see how best to handle their worries, fears and concerns.
Finally, respect for established authorities should be taught at home, schools and religious centres, since these places play a pivotal role in shaping the mindset of those that pass through them.
In truth, no nation is a hundred percent safe. Also, every nation on earth have unique challenges which they are facing because the world’s situation is growing from bad to worse everyday with Nigeria being no exception. However, right here and right now, if everyone plays his part, the attacks on security personnel might drastically reduce.
Humble Ogbonna, a Diction and Phonetics Instructor with a passion for writing sent in this entry from firstname.lastname@example.org