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Spate of Banditry/Kidnapping: Security agencies as main culprits?

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Tinubu holds security meeting with service chiefs, NSA at State House
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Truth be told, the inactivity or inability of the police, the State Security Service (DSS), the Civil Defence, and even the military to be more proactive and sincere in addressing the embarrassing state of insecurity across the country is a fallout of the serial failures of our leadership to think deep on issues that affect ordinary citizens.

The unbridled kidnapping, mindless massacres, total annihilation of communities, and other heinous crimes being perpetrated with impunity across the country do not show a government that is in charge or a country that is at peace with itself. What are they governing if people cannot freely sleep in their houses or move around for fear of being butchered or kidnapped by a bunch of mindless lunatics?

Is governance not about people (the governed) and their welfare, which includes the security and safety of lives and property? In a nation where almost all the infrastructure in every sector of its daily existence has completely collapsed, what remains for such a country to be labeled a failed state?

Unlike armed robbery, which is sudden, almost unpredictable, and short-lived, kidnapping is a more time-dragging enterprise that involves several rounds of calls and answers (in negotiation) between the kidnappers and their victims’ contacts. It is primarily a GSM crime.

So why are the police and the DSS not taking advantage of the period involved to, in collaboration with the telecom companies and the National Communications Commission (NCC), track phone calls and use that to zero in, isolate, and pinpoint localities where these criminals may be operating from? Or should we assume that such technology does not yet exist in Nigeria?

Service Chiefs, IGP, explain security situation in Nigeria before Reps members

File photo of service chiefs and the IGP

Is the DSS not supposed to be interfacing with the Police in exchange of intelligence, and if they do, who receives such information—the NSA, Inspector General of Police, or state governors?

If it does not exist, the now-hydra-headed spate of banditry, kidnapping, and even issues of human trafficking has made it pertinent for both the Police and the DSS to interface for a cooperative fight against crimes and criminals who are daily becoming sophisticated for our analog and not very honest Police Force.

There is something behind these mindless attacks that the government needs to unravel if the government people are not directly involved in this conspiracy against the corporate and peaceful co-existence of the Nigerian people. It is a very terrible phenomenon.

The Senate, during its plenary session on December 30, 2023, lamented the reprehensible carnage that occurred in Plateau State, where scores of residents were brutally massacred on the eve of 2023 Christmas due to what the chamber perceived as the failure of intelligence on the part of security agencies in the ongoing war against terrorism in Nigeria.

While considering the motion, the upper chamber expressed disappointment that the security of lives and property, which is the most important constitutional responsibility of government, is suffering serious threats across the states of the federation.

We do not need special training to deduce from looking at the very coordinated nature of the killings carried out by the bandits and terrorists that they have continued to happen as a result of intelligence failure by our security agencies or outright complicity.

The nation’s highest law-making body deduced that the killings were so strategically planned and executed that weapons were kept in the affected villages long before the days of the attacks, saying that the attackers simply went to the designated locations, accessed the weapons, and carried out their dastardly acts.

The little information that has been established about these bandits is that they don’t live around the communities they usually attack. That simply means somebody imports them; somebody escorts them to their targets. They don’t even know the terrain; they are usually led by some people who know it. So who are these ‘leads’ who usually dress in military camouflage?

The disclosure at the Senate Plenary showed that these marauding bandits do not usually bring weapons into their target communities. Those weapons were domiciled in certain locations; all they did was go and pick them. That means there is something behind what is happening not only in Plateau, Southern Kaduna, Zamfara, and Benue but also in the Southeast. Who are these people, and why are they doing it? If you go there from the outside, you will think it is a religious war. No, it is not!

Pathetically, all those assigned the responsibility of managing the security infrastructure in the country are spending more time fighting and trying to pull down each other.

If the DSS boss generates intelligence on likely attacks by terrorists or bandits, is he going to share it with the Police High Command that his agency is in a political tussle with? The NSA, which should have been serving as the central point, is also not left out of the dirty agency politics around the President.

How can groups of killer squads hold meetings, plan attacks on communities or settlements, and go on to successfully implement them without any of our security agencies picking up even vague intelligence about such plans before they happen? It is incomprehensible! Either the top managers of some of our security agencies are part of the problem, or we have completely lost it as a nation of serious-minded people.

And until we get to the point that anybody who is assigned responsibility as security chief and cannot deliver is shipped out sentiments, we are not yet ready to address this menace. God bless Nigeria!

  • Izeze writes for National Daily and can be reached at: [email protected]; 234-8033043009

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