Nigeria And The Burden Of Security Challenges: The Criminal Violence From The Oil-rich Niger-Delta

25 January 2011

By Yakubu Muhammad Rigasa

Protection of lives and properties of citizens is the paramount function of every responsible government in every nation. This may be the reason why some politicians cunningly but sometimes deceptively adopt the campaign strategy of making pledge to provide adequate security to the citizenry if elected. Security defined as the degree of protection against danger, damage, loss and criminal activity, and being the backbone of economic and political survival of societies has been the major priority by people-orientated administrations at various levels of governance. However, in Nigeria successive governments appear to be too feeble to uphold this unequalled function going by unfortunate happenings in the country that pose unprecedented threats to national cohesion. The infirmity of our government in securing lives of the common-man is increasingly manifested by misadventures that continuously wreck the nation a great deal of havoc.

Prior to the 1st October, 2010 bomb-blast which went off when Nigerians were joyously celebrating the nation's independence from British colonialism which ended in 1960, crises that wore religious and ethnic coloration rent the air in different parts of the country. In the cities of Bauchi and Maiduguri it was security agents that unleashed an unquantifiable harm to the structural hierarchy of a religious sect which opened doors to the subsequent reprisals that have desolated those places up to now. In Jos, the capital city of Plateau State, the unstable sad situation has been recurring intermittently.

The causative agent of Plateau's incessant unrest is originally traceable to ethnicity save for the fact that its escalating dimension clearly points to the tacit involvement of some political interests from within the state. All these are from the northern part of the country. In the south, however, the criminal violence has been from the oil-rich Niger-Delta region where unregenerate notorious militant groups carry out violent activities unhindered. They commit all the heinous atrocities that shame any decent leadership in the presence of international community. Kidnapping has become rampant in the area; oil bunkering is a famous lucrative trade; economic sabotage happens in various guises that defy the lethal weapons and expertise of all the task force agents deployed there and so on.

The security challenges in this country are so enormous that tackling them tends to be a herculean task to even a government that sits up to its full responsibilities. Treading the path of history will only leave one with tearful eyes as the stories only tell one about the ugly situation of our security outfit that fails to tenaciously maintain its hold on lapses that give fatal leaks to perpetrators of various forms of crimes. The unfortunate incidents which promptly occur into the mind of this writer were the notorious Maitatsine upheaval in Kano; the Kafanchan religious crisis of 1987 in Kaduna State; the Kala-Kato crisis of Bulunkutu, Kaduna, Bauchi and few other places; the 1992 Zangon Kataf ethno-religious violence which spilled over to parts of Kaduna metropolis and environs; the Odua People's Congress (OPC) ethnic turbulence in Lagos and some other South-Western states; the Kaduna turmoil ignited by anti-Sharia agitations in March and May, 2000 which also spilled over to some South-Eastern states in the form of reprisal attacks; the Beauty Pageant debacle; the current gun and bomb attacks here and there that savage our peaceful environment, and a host of other negative occurrences in the country.

It is sad that attacks of this nature and magnitude which Nigerians used to hear them happening in some countries are now gaining ground in their fatherland. Worse still is the inability of this administration to fish out those behind planting of bombs for proper prosecution despite the president's claim of knowing the culprits behind the Abuja independence anniversary bomb explosion. One of the major factors obstructing the success of halting this menace is unequivocally the failure by the concerned authorities to sincerely implement recommendations contained in the reports by investigation panels usually set up after each round of crisis to proffer ways of preempting its recurrence and penalizing those found guilty.

Let all concerned remember that for this country to develop, security system has to be upgraded to the best acceptable standard in order to effectively face the multiple security issues capable of derailing the system and destabilizing the nation. The president must call to order those regional bigots who heighten the tension, heat up the atmosphere and widen the dichotomous provincialism between segments of the country without making any attempt at ending the menace. The blame game must stop now!



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