18 Sep

The week ahead – Security in Lagos becomes a concern

The wife of the deputy MD at the Sun newspaper, Toyin Nwosu, was kidnapped on Monday after a nine man gang invaded their residence at Okota in Lagos, robbing the family of their valuables. The kidnappers reportedly demanded for a hundred million naira ransom. Mrs. Nwosu was released unharmed two days later, and it is unclear if a ransom was paid.

On Tuesday night, no fewer than nine personnel of the Department of State Security (DSS) were killed by petroleum pipeline vandals at Arepo, Lagos. The men were ambushed as they were responding to a distress call over the resurgence of pipeline vandalism at Konu, a border town between Arepo and Ikorodu.

The President speaks on the economy
President Muhammad Buhari was in France on a state visit a few days ago, and granted an exclusive interview to French TV where he revealed there will be no further devaluation of the Naira. In that interview, the President supported the CBN’s policies on foreign exchange transactions and the ban on deposits to domiciliary accounts. He also gave insights into why he chose to work with civil servants and averred that ministers are “mere” appointees who are there ‘to make noise while the technocrats in the bureaucracy do the actual work’.

Security in the North
Still in France, the President confirmed that his government is negotiating with Boko Haram regarding a possible exchange for the abducted Chibok girls. He claimed the group has given tough conditions including the release of an IED expert who is currently in a government detention.

Meanwhile, as the President spoke in France, marauders, suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, arrived at Zakupwang, Fan villages of the Foron District and the Fan District of Barkin Ladi Local Government area of Plateau state and murdered twenty villagers, injuring several others. Following that massacre in Plateau, ten persons were yesterday killed in a communal clash between the Fulani and the Tiv in Taraba state. Three people are also missing after the violence which happened at Serkin Gudu, on the south banks of the Benue River in Ibi Local Government Area of Taraba. Reports suggest that the fighting started as a reprisal attack by the Fulani after they discovered the corpse of one of their own.

Across the river in Benue state, militants have continued to surrender weapons in the state’s amnesty programme. The District Head of Ushongo Town led other members of the community and brought six former militia members to the state Governor, Samuel Ortom, where they surrendered twenty eight AK47 Rifles with 243 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, and a promise to convince others to accept the amnesty.

The Nigerian Army continued its onslaught against Boko Haram in the Damboa area of Borno state. Troops intercepted 33 suspected Boko Haram members with large quantity of foodstuff meant for terrorists at Korede. Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Buratai and his entourage encountered dozens of land mines as they made their way to Dikwa over the weekend, with mines injuring a few soldiers as they advanced. The COAS made a symbolic showing of hoisting Nigeria’s flag that was removed by the terror group.

IDPs under the cosh
Seven people lost their lives last week Friday, while others were injured in two suicide bomb attacks by Boko Haram at the Internally Displaced Persons Camp in Yola, Adamawa state. The bombs were off inside a tent at the Malkohi IDP camp by two female suicide bombers. Thirteen people sustained injuries. In another development, Cholera outbreak in three Internally Displaced Persons’ camps within Maiduguri, Borno state, have left 16 people dead and 12 in critical conditions. The World Health Organisation, WHO, and UNICEF are reportedly tackling the challenge.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Since President Buhari was sworn in on May 29th, he has travelled to half a dozen countries and has formed the worrying habit of laying out his policies to the foreign media rather than to Nigerian media or directly to Nigerians. This way and manner of communicating to Nigerians from outside the country is untenable. We strongly condemn it, and urge the President to address Nigerians directly. He seems not to be in a hurry to, and that is an unhappy development.
  • The President confirmed, in France, that his government is talking directly to the Boko Haram Terrorists on the release of the Chibok girls. We make bold to say this is a fraudulent development and the President should sack whichever adviser or analyst made the claim to be speaking to the Boko Haram Terrorists.
  • As a state, Lagos is Nigeria’s biggest economic success story. Cases of armed robbery, and kidnapping, especially high profile cases will only serve to roll back whatever gains have been made in the last decade.
  • The Department of State Service has suffered another massacre of its men, the last one being the Ombatse massacre in Nasarawa state two years ago. Possibly the same vandals murdered policemen last week. There has to be proper articulation of the causes of pipeline vandalism, before a solution can be found and we urge the government not to relent in doing this. It is also important that we do not have a repeat of what happened in Nasarawa where the head of the DSS “forgave” the murderers of his men, and thus helped them escape justice. Such an action will be very bad for morale within our security apparatus.
  • The genocide in the North Central continues unabated with alleged Fulani herdsmen carrying out attacks on communities, which breed reprisals, and the cycle goes on. We find it worrying that there has been no word from the FG on this, and we call for the development of a workable plan to resolve this situation. The North East and the Niger Delta regions are not the only areas with deteriorating security situation, and Mr President must task his national security team to resolve the myriad of security crisis confronting Nigerians.
  • We seek to understand under what legal authority the Benue state government is pursuing a programme of amnesty for criminals in the state and caution against the entrenchment of this course of action as against the pursuit of law enforcement and justice at lawful courts for crimes committed. Because this sort of blanket amnesty is alien to the 1999 Constitution and will further encourage criminality and evil intents.
  • Intelligence chatter in February at the commencement of pre election offensive against Boko Haram indicated that some members had fled the Sambisa Forest and some liberated territories and may disguise as IDPs. It is disheartening that the Nigerian counter-intelligence apparatus is broken and cannot be counted on in the day of trouble. The bombings at the IDP camp are regrettable and should not happened if measures were put in place to avert such grisly outcome. The negligence at the IDP camp has manifested with the outbreak of disease at one of the camps. It is shameful, and more incidents of undercover terrorists, and disease are lurking if no action is taken.
  • We must however commend the Nigerian military for the string of successes against Boko Haram and also praise the Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Buratai for his exemplary leadership.
  • Finally, we repeat our call for the appointment of an economic team to help direct economic policy and steer us out of choppy waters.