The recently reported abduction of more than 400 pupils of Government Science Secondary School in Kankara District, Katsina State, North West, Nigeria is distressful and of great concern for the welfare and wellbeing of the kidnapped children. Our thoughts and prayers are with the children, their families and friends, at this most difficult time.
Whilst the precise number of the abducted pupils is still unknown, this abduction is yet another in a seemingly unending sequence of security breaches, banditry and terrorism against Nigerians. This points to the worrying ineptitude and an obvious failure on the part of government and our security and intelligence agencies to effectively and decisively deal with the bandits and insurgents that have laid siege on northern Nigeria for years.
It is scandalous and depressing that at a time His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces is holidaying in his home state, Katsina, ‘bandits’ with impudence would choose that same period to defy all security networks to carry out this dastardly act.
The callous action of the bandits coming 10 days after the gruesome execution of farmers at Zabarmari in Borno State is a scary reflection of the painful reality that Nigeria and her government can no longer secure the lives of the vulnerable in the country. The brazenness of this attack as well as others before it makes the call of #SecureTheNorth, #SecureNigeria, increasingly urgent.
It is on record that to date, Nigeria is still haunted by the abduction of school children in Chibok, Borno State and Dapchi in Yobe State with Leah Sharibu and others still unaccounted for. The unfortunate abduction in Kankara has added to the growing list of children who have been failed by the Nigerian state.
One of the pivotal responsibilities of government is the protection of lives and property of citizens but the President Buhari led administration, disappointingly continues to spectacularly fail in doing this. It is gravely embarrassing that there seems to be incompetence and cluelessness manifesting in the token actions and unforgivable inactions of the government and its security leadership which is gradually and dangerously pushing the country to the brink of anarchy.
Rather than honour the invitation of the House of Representatives to brief federal lawmakers on steps being taken to address the deteriorating security situation in the country, the President chose to pander to political sentiments and irresponsibly spurned the invitation in a typical demonstration of what many citizens increasingly consider as the disdain his government has for Nigerians.
The Kankara incident has provided another opportunity for the Buhari government to arrest this drift into a failed state. Therefore, we reiterate our call that the replacement of the Service Chiefs to inject a new thinking and critical urgency in matters of security, can no longer be ignored. We strongly recommend that the time has come to redouble efforts towards achieving a proactive and multi-agency approach to solving these incessant security challenges in our country by the immediate re-organisation of the operational architecture of our security and intelligence services.
More importantly, the federal government working with northern governors must urgently convene a security summit to find a lasting solution to the underlying issues and factors that breed banditry and insurgency in Northern Nigeria.
Nigerians are weary of empty assurances of tackling the security situation in the country. Now is the time for President Buhari to act if he means well for the country. This brazen kidnapping right on the doorstep of the President while he is safely holidaying in his country home is a direct assault and insult on the Commander- in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
It is our fervent wish that this shocks the federal government out of inertia and into rising to the occasion to rescue these children, capture and bring the kidnappers to justice, carry out a decisive and definitive security operation to #SecureTheNorth and effectively curb the troubling insecurity across Nigeria, then face the root causes of the insurgency decisively which mainly borders around lack of development, opportunities, education and social support.