By Tahir I Tahir Talban
In what was a thinly veiled move at vanquishing arewa, Islamic extremism engulfed the entire North Eastern part of the country under the guise of Boko Haram and Iswap, waging the most deadly war Nigeria has ever witnessed, successfully annihilating thousands of lives in the region, defying all military and non military approaches to the war. No pogrom in the entirety of Africa, has seen to the massacre of lives and destruction of villages and property, the way Boko Haram and Iswap have done. This spread vociferously to the North West as banditry and kidnapping, practically turning arewa into a war zone.
The audacity, deftness and precision of the terrorists continues to overwhelm the country’s security architecture, despite the sophistication of the Nigeria Airforce, the equipping of the Nigerian Army with fighter-aircrafts, and the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
The first few months of this administration saw to some disquiet in the camps and operations of the terrorists. The legendary Abuja-Kaduna highway was safe for travel once again, and the NSA’s office reported that over 500 kidnap victims have been rescued from their transgressors. True, quite a number of routes in the North that weren’t plyable, became safer by the day, and the terrorists seemed cornered and decimated. The Nigerian Army was winning the war or so it seemed. Then came the dent of the ‘accidental bombing’ of over 150 innocent maulud celebrators in Kaduna by a UAV, and from then on, it seemed the war was back on full-throttle and the terrorists and kidnappers were having a field day.
Kidnappings have been on the rise recently, and Abuja and its environs seem to be the new theatre. From one person, to a whole family, to an entire commercial bus, kidnappings are taking place on a daily basis.
Sometimes dozens of residents from an estate are kidnapped with millions slapped as ransom for their rescue.
It is now prevalent that even when the ransom is paid, the victims are killed and their bodies deposited for their families and the security operatives to recover. Najeeba and her family were kidnapped and a ransom of 65 million was placed on them. The kidnappers killed her sister nabeeha and released their father who was seriously ill. Some family members and social media influencers tried to crowdfund to raise the money.
A friend to Prof. Isa Ali Pantami donated 50 million to the crowdfund of about 10 million to raise the 60 million. The kidnappers decided to up their demands to 700 million. Another family, The Yusuf Aminu family, was kidnapped, all 15 of them, with atleast 13 of them being 14 years old and younger. Another corper, Enegbuya Ester Otegiri, was kidnapped on her way from Enugu to Benue, where her PPA is.
A ransom of 50 million is being demanded by the kidnappers. Such kidnappings are all over the place where one or two people are picked. Another 45 people in 3 buses were kidnapped along Enugu-Otukpo Road. The kidnappers are asking for 15 million per person, or 675 million for all the passengers taken.
If the military operatives have not gone to sleep in the light of the successes recorded, then the kidnappers have doubled-down on their strategies and efforts. Our security architecture has to be awake to the modus operandi of these criminals. Everyone is asking the question, how do they use our communication infrastructure and get away with it? Can’t they be tracked and trapped? Shockingly, some kidnappers still use bank accounts to collect ransom from the families of their victims.
The system has to resolve the issue of using phones and bank accounts for kidnapping. Ordinarily those two are supposed to be sure enough weapons to pin down the kidnappers.
It has long been established that Boko Haram, Iswap and bandits are birds of the same feather. They have moved from annexing a zone or creating provinces, to making forays into towns and cities including Abuja.
These three monsters are capable of blurring or eroding whatever successes this administration records.
Security is number one for each and every country. So many milestones are being reached by The President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration, and all of that wouldn’t make any impact, or make any sense, if vast lands and regions of the country remain blighted by insecurity. Insecurity sets back the clock of development, diminishes all the good work of a government, and rubbishes all its credentials.
Our security networks need to up their game and bring an end to this insecurity business that seems to be embraced by so many Nigerians looking for quick money through whatever means.