Nigeria is going through one of the worst times in its history. The country is currently being bedevilled by a plethora of problems including an unimaginable level of corruption, a wobbling economy, galloping inflation, high unemployment rate and a very poor exchange rate of the Naira to the Dollar and other major currencies of the world.
Social services are almost dead with Nigerian students wallowing at home on account of the lingering strike action by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). Healthcare service is in a comatose state with the dearth of facilities and infrastructure as well as poor remuneration, which has left more than 9,000 doctors emigrating from the shores of this land in the last two years, leaving the country with an unacceptable doctor:patient ratio.
There is also the problem of a very high debt profile, where the country is servicing its debts with more than 85% of its total earnings, oil theft that is depriving the country of much-needed resources, but by far the most serious of the problems confronting Nigeria as a nation, is the issue of insecurity.
The problem of insecurity has almost pulled the country to its knees. Bandits, herdsmen and terrorists are wreaking havoc across the country such that one cannot consider anywhere or place to be safe. These terrorists visit homes, churches and mosques, maiming, raping and killing innocent Nigerians. Sometimes they raze entire communities, kidnapping people, including traditional rulers, who ordinarily should be revered.
They also raid schools, kidnapping school children in their hundreds. Between 2014 and date, there have been at least six cases of high profile school abductions. In April 2014, a total of 276 teenage girls were abducted from a secondary school in Chibok, Bornu State. Another 110 students were kidnapped from a secondary school in Dapchi in 2018. Five of the girls died while in captivity, the others were later released except a Christian girl, Leah Sharibu who is still being withheld because she refused to renounce her faith.
In December 2020, over 344 students were abducted from an all-boys secondary school in Kankara, Katsina State. It was the turn of Jangebe next, where on Friday, February 26, 2021, a total of 317 students were kidnapped from Government Girls Science Secondary School, Jangeba in Katsina State. In May, 2021 136 students and teachers were abducted from Salihu Tanko Islamic School, Tegina, Niger State while 120 students were abducted from Bethel Baptist High School, Damishi, Kaduna on July 5, 2021.
The most recent of these high profile kidnap cases was on March 27, when the terrorists laid siege on a Kaduna-bound train. At the end of the attack, eight persons were shot dead, 25 seriously injured and over 100 abducted. More than a month later, nothing has been achieved.
When the present crop of service chiefs were appointed, President Muhammadu Buhari gave them marching orders to relocate to North East, the epicentre of insecurity in the country but nothing came out of it. Even when the insurgents were officially designated as terrorists so the military can swoop on them in full force, still nothing has changed.
Meanwhile media managers of the Nigerian Army, Navy and Air Force inundate us with press statements, extolling the bravery and exploits of our officers who, they claim, are killing the terrorists in their numbers or smoking them out of their hideouts into submission and renouncing their membership of Boko Haram.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed attempted corroborating the military media men when he told Nigerians in December 2015 that Boko Haram insurgents have been largely defeated. He said the terrorists have been decimated and technically defeated, adding that they have been decapitated and now lack the capacity to launch the kind of horrendous attacks they used to launch.
In spite of the assurances of government officials, the supposed efforts of the military and the annually increasing hefty budget to fight insecurity, the situation has not improved, as a matter of fact, it has worsened as the terrorists have become more daring, as security installations, particularly Police Stations and check points, are now their favourite targets.
They attack these security installations, kill police men and cart away their rifles. On Tuesday, August 24, 2021 the daredevil terrorists attacked the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, killing two officers and abducting one. On Monday, May 10, terrorists brazenly breached Aso Rock security and gained access into the residence of the Chief of Staff, Prof Ibrahim Gambari. Nigerians now live in fear.
It is in the midst of the fear Nigerians now live in that President Muhammadu Buhari, in his Sallah message, told Nigerians that the war being waged against the terrorists would soon come to an end, assuring that “victory was in sight”.
Nigerians do not know what to make of Buhari’s statement. Should they believe the president, especially against the background of a previous assurance by Lai Mohammed? Is the war against terrorism actually coming to an end in Nigeria? Only time will tell.