The current spate of banditry , ethnic clashes , kidnapping and cultism in most parts of the country is giving many Nigerians a cause for concern .
The level of insecurity has become so bad that no part of the country is totally free from the grip of the hoodlums whose activities appear to be threatening to bring down the nation .
It is more disturbing that the killings and other criminal activities have risen at an alarming rate after the general elections. From Lagos to Kaduna, Katsina to Zamfara , Benue to Taraba, Imo to Ebonyi states , there appears to be no respite in any region of the country.
Apart from the Boko Haram that has turned the North- East to a theatre of war with their attacks on some communities in the states in the region , communities in Zamfara , Katsina, Kaduna and Sokoto states have become targets of bandits, kidnappers , marauders and other hoodlums .
None of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory is completely free from the threats of insecurity as those who are not being threatened by ethnic clashes are constantly terrorised by killer herdsmen , who go about destroying anything on their paths .
In Rivers State, cultism has wreaked so much havoc that most people do not feel secure in some parts of the state and other states in the South -South .
Kidnappers and robbers are on the prowl in the South – West and South – East while the Tiv -Jukun ethnic clash , herdsmen attacks and other crimes are giving the people in the North-Central nightmarish experiences .
This mounting state of insecurity , according to security experts , is a threat to the nation ’ s democracy and the existence of the country that fought a nasty civil war over four decades ago.
The Kaduna State Governor , Mallam Nasir el – Rufai, recently joined security operatives attached to him to comb the bushes along the Abuja -Kaduna Expressway in search of hoodlums , who have turned the stretch of the road to a dreadful place .
Due to the level of insecurity on the road , politicians and military personnel plying the road have reportedly abandoned their vehicles and forced to board the Abuja – Kaduna trains .
A former Governor of Kaduna State, Balarabe Musa, speaking on the issue, identified the poor economic situation triggered by corruption as the cause of the insecurity in most parts of the country.
He said , “ This problem was caused by corruption because the economic situation, which is forcing some of these youths to take up arms and engage in criminal activities , is a direct product of corruption .
People cannot earn decent living and they see how those in power are living .
So , they think the only way they can help themselves is to go into crime .
“The government is directly responsible for corruption and criminal waste of resources .
Corruption must stop and resources must be evenly distributed .
The solution is not in changing security chiefs ; it is about how the system is being controlled .
Does any Nigerian have any doubts that Nigerian leaders are thieves ? Except very few !”
The Secretary- General , Yoruba Council of Elders , Dr Kunle Olajide, speaking with our correspondent , traced the root cause of the rising insecurity in the country to inequitable wealth distribution which he also said had forced some youths to engage in kidnapping , armed robbery and Internet fraud to survive.
He said , “ I have been very worried about the rising spate of insecurity all over Nigeria .
I am particularly more worried when government officials , especially ministers , support the launch of ‘ operation this and that’ as a solution to this problem .
For me , it is like attempting to drive away the smoke and leaving the fire burning .
We have to address the real issue rather than going after the symptoms .
“ In my opinion , the reason for the insecurity in the land is lack of social justice and inequitable distribution of the national resources between the rich and the poor.
The rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer.
Unfortunately for the nation , this is happening in the era of globalisation when the whole world has become a small village .
The young man here has access to the Internet ; he sees what is going on in other climes .
They see the social injustice in their own country where nobody is concerned about their well – being .
They are jobless despite the pains their parents took to send them to schools .
No hospital to treat them when they fall sick ; they see their mothers and sisters die during childbirth and other disheartening things like that while the rich enjoy to the maximum on the other side.
“ The solution is not in buying fighter jets , arming the military and the police .
In fact , how many policemen do you think we need to effectively police about 200 million people ?
The policemen themselves are not happy because it is only their bosses ‘ at the top ’ that are enjoying the benefits of the resources allocated to them .
Those you see on the road are starving ; they are suffering ; they themselves are not safe. So , we have to address the problem of social injustice in the country . ”
A security expert , Mr Jackson Ojo , who is a member , International Institute of Professional Security , stated that the seed of the insecurity problem ravaging the country was sown some years back , saying it might take time to end the menace .
This type of thing will not cease wherever you see people who have lost confidence in the state .
People will take to self -help ; and self – help is always counterproductive anywhere in the world .
Some youths completed their degree programmes about 10 years ago and they are still unemployed .
What do you think they will do ?
They have been trained; their thinking has been widened and they should naturally use this in a positive way.
But they will use it in negative ways if they do not find productive ventures to engage in.
“ Apart from the graduates among these people terrorising the nation , there are also those who did not have as much education as the graduates ; they too should be productively engaged but they will find a means to survive if there are no productive ventures for them .
Many industries have folded up . The few ones remaining are not doing well ; that is why there is gross unemployment in the land . Poverty is the cause of this problem .
“ The way to go is to solve the problem gradually .
Bring the boys out of the creeks and battle fields and provide them jobs; then , you can ask them to lay down their weapons.
Without providing them with alternative means of livelihoods , you cannot disarm them . ”
The Publicity Secretary of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Mr Uche Achi- Okpaga , the reports gather that it was laughable that the same administration that deployed virtually all members of the armed forces for the general elections could be dilly – dallying on tackling the insecurity issues .
He said the problem had been there before President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office in 2015, adding that the administration , despite its promise to nip insecurity in the bud , could not do anything four years after .
Achi- Okpaga stated , “The problem has skyrocketed now and this means that they do not have any solution to it .
They have no initiative to arrest the problem . Lack of respect for the rule of law , justice and equity is the cause of this .
“ The economy is down and the people are angry. Under former President Olusegun Obasanjo , Nigeria got debt relief and the economy became the fastest growing economy in Africa when Goodluck Jonathan was the President . But now , we owe N 24tn .
The economy has nosedived and Nigeria is ranked the sixth most miserable country in the world .
All these are the causes of the problem .
“ The solution is a buoyant economy and to allow the rule of law to thrive . Restructuring is the way out and every part of the country will benefit greatly from this restructuring . ”
A former Air Officer of Logistics for the Nigerian Air Force , Air Commodore Ayuba Buhari (retd . ), said it was not enough to launch military operations against banditry and hoodlums .
He believed there must be the political will to go after sponsors and perpetrators of these heinous crimes to bring them to justice .
He said , “ The issue of insecurity in Zamfara State, for instance , borders on illegal mining sponsored by some highly placed indigenes of the state .
Foreigners will not just come into any community and start illegal mining without the support of the indigenes .
Some highly placed individuals who should be the protectors of the masses have been fingered.
“ In the South – East and South -South , kidnapping is rampant ; some of their political leaders are not helping matter. But I think with the series of operations that the army is conducting in some of these places , there will be sanity . But there must be political will to bring the sponsors and perpetrators to justice . ”
The Deputy Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party , Mr Diran Odeyemi, told our correspondent that the President ought to have retired the security chiefs if he had any solution to the problem .
Odeyemi added , “ What this shows is that the security chiefs are not competent to solve this problem .
If this is what the APC used to campaign and claimed victory , then Nigeria should believe that the next level will be disastrous .
Up until now , we expect the President to address the nation if the lives that have been lost matter to him . ”
But the Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress , Mr Lanre Issa – Onilu , disagreed with Odeyemi. In an interview he said , “We have absolute confidence in the security institutions in the country and we know that they are taking practical steps.
The President has read the riot act to them and we know that the issues which range from politics to social economic ones will be addressed soon .
We have the commitment of the security institutions in the country to tackle the issue and we are confident that they will do that. ”
Worried by the killings and other criminal activities in many parts of the country , the Senate , on Wednesday , resolved to support the establishment of state police in order to find a permanent solution to insecurity in the land .
Senate President Bukola Saraki said apart from passing the Police Reform Bill , focus should be on community policing.
“ But more importantly , we must go back to what a lot of us had been advocating here that there is the need for us to have state or community police . It is the way forward .
Otherwise , we will continue to run into these problems , ” Saraki had said .
The police spokesman , Mr Frank Mba, told speak that he could not comment on the Senate ’ s call for the creation of state police , but noted that the current leadership of the police had been adopting the principle of community policing to combat security challenges .
Mba stated , “ There is a massive operation going on in those areas now .
It is not as if there has never been security architecture in place before now .
However , what we have done is to put rejigged or reinvigorated security architecture in place .
It is a massive exercise going on now involving our tactical unit , our special forces and our special intelligence unit .
“ We are also receiving a lot of aerial support from the Nigerian Air Force .
They have been very supportive and they are providing not only aerial surveillance and aerial intelligence but they are also carrying out strategic strikes targeted at the bandits’ camps .
“ We are in synergy with the local communities , the traditional rulers, the vigilante groups and the Civilian Joint Task Force in the spirit of community policing. ”