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EDITORIAL: Nigeria, seek help now in fight against banditry, terrorism

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EDITORIAL: Nigeria, seek help now in fight against banditry, terrorism

If any Nigerian was in doubt about the commitment of the United States government to protect the lives of its citizens anywhere in the world, such was erased by the daring but successful move to rescue a kidnapped American in the northern fringes of Nigeria.

The rescue of the victim, Philip Walton, by the U.S. Navy’s SEAL Team Six only goes to send one message, the fact that the US places a high premium on the lives of its citizens anywhere they are in the world, and that they will do anything to secure them.

Americans must be very proud of their government, knowing that it will always look out for them whenever they are in trouble.

The rescue of Walton was not the first time the United States government had demonstrated such a commitment to the lives and welfare of its citizens. They have continued to show that they will move the earth, even in the face of repeated failures, whenever their citizens are threatened.

The manner in which they took out Osama bin Laden, the founder and first leader of the Islamist militant group, al-Qaeda, in 2011, who masterminded the bombing of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, where 3,000 people were killed, tells a lot about their determination.

In 2019, the US conducted an operation codenamed “Operation Kayla Mueller”, that resulted in the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the then-leader and self-proclaimed caliph of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist organization, who had abducted and killed some Americans.

We are convinced that the U.S special forces have been able to achieve these feats because its government has prioritized life of its citizens over rhetorics, and provided its military with the necessary funding and support needed to equip them tactically and technically.

But can we say this much about the Nigerian government? Can we say that our government places a high premium on the lives of Nigerians, both at home and in the Diaspora?

We don’t think so.

We are disturbed that, over the years, many Nigerians have been murdered in cold blood by such militant groups like the Maitasine Sect that held the North-East to ransom in the early 80s, Boko Haram insurgents, herdsmen and the so-called bandits, especially in the Northern and Middle Belt States of the country with President Muhammadu Buhari, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, appearing helpless on how to confront these menace.

We recall how on February 19, 2018, 110 schoolgirls were kidnapped by the Boko Haram terrorist group from the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi, Yobe State. Though 109 of the girls were reportedly rescued, the only Christian girl among them, Leah Sharibu, is still in captivity, despite assurances from the Nigerian government that everything, and anything, would be done to rescue her.

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In 2013, Boko Haram attacked and burned down a secondary school in Mamudo, Yobe State, where 29 male students and one teacher were killed.
In April 2014, 276 female students of the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, were also kidnapped by the Boko Haram group, and many of the captives have still not been rescued till date.

For years, suspected herdsmen have been having a field day in Plateau, Benue, Kaduna, Taraba and Adamawa States, killing indigenes at will, ransacking whole communities, burning down worship centres, homes and destroying farmlands.

Even more heart rendering is the fact that bandits have taken over Katsina State, the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, as well as holding sway in Zamfara, Niger, Jigawa, Yobe, Sokoto and Nasarawa States, becoming a law unto themselves, with the Nigerian government seemingly too astounded to act decisively in protection of its citizens.

The President who had vowed to protect Nigerians and take the war against terrorists very serious, has consistently failed to lead from the front, avoiding visits to the theatres of war and showing not enough zeal to ginger men at the war fronts.

We are appalled that Nigerians in different parts of the world have been discriminated against, attacked and killed, their properties destroyed and means of livelihood threatened.

In South Africa, Ghana, Malaysia, the UK, USA, Russia, France, Italy, and many other countries around the world, Nigerians have been made to bear the brunt of their hosts, with our government failing to demand justice or protect its own.

We note with great concern that successive Nigerian governments have, indeed, done more to blow hot air than respond in a manner that sends clear signals to perpetrators of terror and evil against the country and citizens.

The Nigerian state must borrow a leaf from the United States and place a higher premium on the lives of her citizens and realize that the core duty of a government is to protect her people.

We acknowledge that the military lacks the technical and technological know-how to tackle insurgency, and, therefore, urge that the Nigerian government should seek immediate collaborations with select super powers to assist in the fight against banditry and terrorism.

It is pertinent Nigeria reaches out more forcefully for help from its neighbours and other world powers in a collaborate move to stem the tide of terrorism and threat to its sovereignty. We are, however, not unmindful of various reports alleging that some countries had shown little or no interest in collaborative efforts owing to concerns that Nigeria could not be trusted with intelligence sharing. We urge the Buhari-led administration to rebuild confidence and apply hurried steps in the quest to return peace and stability to the country by any means possible.

Perhaps, an immediate task will be to reinvigorate the Multi-National Joint Task Force MNJTF fighting Boko Haram in the North-East. We cannot do it alone, as events in the past few years have shown that this is near impossible with the spheres of battle continually enlarging.

Another measured step in this direction is to strategically equip the military and other security apparatus at all levels to undertake the seemingly difficult mission of protecting Nigerians. President Buhari should know that the buck will always stop at his table. He should aggressively pursue collaborative efforts now!

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