‘As security flees the land …’ – Godwin Etakibuebu
Only someone who is domiciled in another planet and pays occasional visit to planet earth that will argue if security still has ownership in Nigeria. Nigeria as a country is now a monumental casualty of absence of security even as Nigerians have forgotten what security represents, because latter had taken a flight away from the land.
What is left for here, on the geographical piece of land called Nigeria, is bloodbath and death, and this is not in short supply at all. Unlike in the past, when it was anathema for young ones witnessing violet deaths – every teenagers, if not most toddlers, now know what death, in all its ramification; including violet death, means.
I was told a story of a four-year old who asked the mother very recently “why are people just being killed everywhere and anyhow”. The mother told me that she could not give any reasonable answer to the toddler because she never anticipated that he [the son] “knew much about happening around us to pose such question”.
Life in today’s Nigeria, as a matter of fact, has no value and sanctity. This is all over the country, from the desert of the North to the swamp of the South and through the Middle Belt of the two great rivers of Niger and Benue. People are not just dying but being slaughtered every moment and minute of each hour.
Yet, there is no hope of reversing this horror. Governance has no answer to the challenge. There is no commitment from any constituted Authority, assuring the citizenry of congenital move to put an end to the mayhem. The best we hear from leadership is resigning to fate, saying “let us pray because it is only God that can solve the problem for us”. Here lies our collective tragedy.
This state of hopelessness was compounded last week in Taraba State, where some Security Agents of the Federal Government on legitimate duty to arrest a notorious kidnapping kingpin [who combined kidnapping to banditry and all other criminal vices] were brutally attacked and killed by another Security Agents of the same Federal Government. The event opens up a vista to the actual absence of security from the land. For those that may not have gotten the orgy details of the melodrama of total criminality displayed by government agents in Taraba State last week, I am doing a recapping of the event below.
Police operatives of the Intelligence Response Team [IRT]; a specially created unit of the Nigeria Police Force for tackling of hard crimes like kidnapping, robbery, banditry, insurgency and other vices, and put directly under the office of the Inspector General of Police – with track record of achieving, over the years, was in Taraba State [from Abuja] to arrest a suspected Kidnapping mogul, Alhaji Halisu Bala Wadume.
The policemen, led by an Assistant Superintendent of Police [ASP], Supol [superior police officer] Felix Adolije, got into Taraba State, reported duly to the State Police Command Headquarters at Jalingo [the State Capital] about their mission, moved to Ibi town and arrested the multi-millionaire kidnapper suspect. On returning back to Jalingo triumphantly and gallantly, with the suspect handcuffed on both hands and legs, was when the bizarre happened as soldiers from the 93 Battalion of the Nigerian Army on the Ibi-Jalingo small road, opened fire and killed 3 of the policemen [with one civilian in the vehicle]. The gory side of the incident was the escape of the high profile suspect, Alhaji Halisa Bala Wadume, a leeway made possible by the ”generous intervention of the men of the Nigerian Army”.
Men of the Nigerian Army; men highly trained on security matters with the Nigerian peoples’ money to safeguard and protect Nigeria’s Territory and its people, killing policemen; another of the Nigerian Government’s Security outfit – men also trained with the Nigerian peoples’ money in securing lives and properties, for no justifiable reason than to “free an arrested notorious Kidnapping kingpin”, would most likely defile a lifetime interpretation.
Can there be any other scenario of ascertaining total absence of security from Nigeria than this? The fallout of what happened last week in Taraba State is most likely to plague the country inimically for a long time to come.
While the Federal Government is more embarrassed in this show of shame, the Military [the Army in this case] is accusing the Nigeria Police Force of instigating the Nigerian Public against it, because of the statement made by the Police Public Relations officer; DCP Frank Mba, when the latter explained the facts of the case to Nigerians. Wait a moment. Does the Army High Command ever think that Nigerians need any Frank Mba’s press release to assimilate, digest and interpret the event of Taraba State before coming to conclusion?
No, we are wiser than what leadership by coercion; as the case in today’s Nigeria typified, is making of us. We might have been shredded but we refused to be gullible. It is for the fact that we are still riding the normalcy of God’s given wisdom that Nigerians are not sympathizing with the Chief of Army Staff; Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai’ s warning to his officers and men “to take precaution when they are on pass”, in a circular letter with reference number AHQDAIOPS/G3/240/232 issued yesterday and titled, ‘Need for troops to be circumspect in dealing with members of the Nigeria Police.’
This is what the CAS letter says. “In the aftermath of the unfortunate incident involving troops of 93 bn, Takum and members of the Intelligence Response Team of the NPF at Ibi LGA of Taraba State on August 6, 2019, inciting and inflammatory comments are being made by the NPF on the regular and social media platforms”.
“This is capable of inciting the rank and file of the NP to exhibit aggressive tendencies against NA personnel. Accordingly, all troops on IS (Internal Security) duty as well as personnel travelling in and out of uniform are to be circumspect in their conduct to avoid escalation.”
“Consequently, formations and unit commanders are to educate troops to be cautious in their dealings with members of the NP in view of this development. Troops travelling on pass are to endeavor to do so in mufti.”
Nigerians are far from the opinion that the Nigeria Police Force statement on the facts of how its men were killed by soldiers of the 93 Battalion, for whatever reasons of “rescue operation” the soldiers might have given, is instigating hatred against the Army and its men. We know that sinners flee when there is no one chasing them.
What is happening in Nigeria remains one very huge absurdity that cannot be defined, because security has fled the land.
It is now a country of anything goes!
Godwin Etakibuebu; a veteran Journalist, wrote from Lagos.
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