Who is truly in charge? Otesanya David April 4, 2022

Who is truly in charge?

Who is truly in charge?


Who truly is in charge

The events that occurred in the past few days in and around Kaduna State beg the question, “what is the life of a Nigerian worth?” But it also begs another question, “who is in charge?”

At a time when the political elite is laser-focused on the 2023 elections, armed men are equally focused on their efforts to undermine state actors and seize de facto power.

On Monday, March 28, an unprepared country was hit with a foreseen reality when a train with almost a thousand passengers on board heading to Kaduna from Abuja was attacked by terrorists. The attack led to the loss of a yet-to-be-determined number of lives (government sources claim it’s eight dead), left at least 26 people injured, and a yet-to-be-ascertained number are missing, likely kidnapped for undoubtedly hefty ransoms.

It is disturbingly ironic that this attack came only hours after the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed celebrated the ‘success’ of the Buhari administration in providing a safe and comfortable means of transportation for Nigerians. This leaves one wondering whether a train system that lacks the necessary security apparatus is worth celebrating and in its turn leads to questions about what messages the terrorists are sending to Nigerians.

It is even more disturbing that all these attacks happened in the same state where the governor claimed that his government knows the whereabouts of the bandits, listens to their conversations and has their phone numbers.

This same state has more military installations than any other state in the country. The obvious question that emerges is, “why have these bandits not been apprehended, and why are they able to carry out their activities with such impunity?”

While national attention was still focused on the train attack, the unrelenting bandits struck again in the same Kaduna-Abuja axis. In the second attack, the terrorists ambushed the Gidan train station along the Abuja-Kaduna rail track where they planted Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) on the tracks.

These attacks, especially the second, go a long way to emphasise the breakdown of the country’s security apparatus. If the first attack caught the security operatives unawares, which it should not have in the first place, the second only showed that the security operatives are either unwilling, unready or simply incapable.

In the “good old days” of Nigerian certainty, extra money in one’s pockets meant some level of immunity to attacks, as money gave the possessor options. Once the roads became a den owing to the incessant killings and kidnappings, trains and air travel became the rave of the moment. Not anymore, a former deputy governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Ibrahim Wakkala, was just one of the high profile victims of the recent attack.

It is important to note how the narrative is changing as the Kaduna Airport has been attacked three times in recent times, the first two in March 2021, and then the day before the Kaduna rail attack. It is important to note that the rail line had also been attacked three times in less than a year.

The first attempt by the bandits on the rail system was an attack on the Abuja-Kaduna rail line in October 2021, about six months before now and yet, ‘the required digital security and crime prevention equipment that could forestall such disaster was not approved’, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation, claimed.

According to Mr Amaechi, the cost of the unapproved items is N3 billion, a meagre amount compared to the not-so-beneficial petrol subsidy that gulps trillions of naira – an action that portrays the government as an entity with misplaced priorities.

But Mr Amaechi’s attempt to deflect responsibility by blaming an unnamed colleague for not approving the purchase of some unidentified security equipment falls flat.

In his fight with possibly the NSA, Babagana Monguno, he, and several others have failed to realise that the first set of persons killed in the attack were soldiers from the Nigerian Army who responded to the distress call. The best surveillance equipment cannot stop terror attacks if security agents are not up to the task.

On his part, President Buhari, again, ordered service chiefs to deal “ruthlessly” with terrorists, conclude all the processes for the implementation of the integrated security surveillance and monitoring solution for the Abuja to Kaduna railway line, as well as extend coverage to the Lagos-Ibadan railway line, and also speedily repair the damaged lines and resume normal service without delay.

These orders add to previous marching orders issued by the President, and the lack of implementation on any tells a story in itself: Buhari is not in charge of anything except perhaps politics. The country has been carved up by its real rulers, armed gangs of terrorists.

Since the incident, there is nothing the government has done that has inspired confidence. With enough blame to go around, it is just a matter of time before the next big incident hits.

Nwanze is a partner at SBM Intelligence


Source link

Write a comment