Tinubu How to fix Nigeria state

Tinubu: How to fix Nigeria state of horror

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THE grisly horror of broad day light mass massacre; multiple schoolchildren abductions, unmitigated terror and the hunger pang swilling across Nigeria, has finally converged to set aflame a nation on the tenterhooks. This is the damning fate of Africa most populous nation when last week Thursday morning, 286 students were taken by armed bandits on motorcycles who stormed the LEA Primary and Secondary School in Kuriga village, in Kaduna’s Chikun district. Idris Ibrahim, an official from the Kuriga Ward municipal council has confirmed that the abductors have demanded the sum of N1 billion ($625,000 dollars) for their release. We have been here before.

In April 2014, 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped from a Government Secondary School in Chibok, a town in Borno State. Some of the girls escaped captivity on their own, while others were later released following intense campaigning efforts by civil society organizations and negotiations by the government. The incident prompted Senator Bola Amhed Tinubu to disparage President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration as a failed state and government a few months later.

On September 9, 2014, preparatory to APC/Buhari’s upstaging, uprooting President Goodluck Jonathan’s Presidency from Aso Rock, Bola Ahmed Tinubu raised a hell of apocalyptic drumbeat of a nation on autopilot thus: “The festering Boko Haram attacks on the North East and massacre of innocent citizens is concrete prove Nigeria has no government”, Asiwaju twitted on his verified X (Twitter) handle.

Prior to 2023 Presidential election, Kashim Shettima, Nigeria’s current Vice President –  whom millions of Nigerians designated as the precursor of Boko Haram militia vowed to end the menace of insecurity – once elected as Vice President on a joint ticket with Mr Bola Tinubu. Those boastful twitches from Shettima about “artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and cybernetic” were primitively borrowed phrases with degenerate illiteracy seemingly meant to cover up traces of connivance in the horror of terror plaguing the country.

“I have been in the theatre of conflicts for 18 years, I will lead the troops, my principal is an economy wizard who has transformed Lagos into the third largest economy in Africa. He will concentrate on the economy.

“By God’s grace, I will handle the security, and not only handle the security, I will lead the troops to battle across the length and breadth of this country,” he said.

Presently, both President Bola Amhed Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima, are gloating in the wilderness of security carnage, of bloodbath, of a standstill economy, while other life threatening litany of woes have combined to stagnate the entire nation since they ‘grabbed power’. It would have been better Nigerians were never tugged through this path where dehumanized government, wears its failure as a badge of honour without signposting any direction out of the self-inflicted miasma.

Pointedly and severally, I have listed the root causes of insecurity in Nigeria – professionally– namely: poverty and inequality; political instability and corruption, ethnic and religious tensions, limited access to education and opportunities, poor infrastructure and resource management. There are measured menu of solutions and comprehensive nuanced approach which successive governments have ignored, including the present government, namely: address poverty and inequality through economic development and social welfare programs, strengthen democratic institutions and promote good governance, promote dialogue and understanding between ethnic and religious groups, invest in education and job creation, improve infrastructure and resource management.

Regrettably, one of the numerous alternate governments in Nigeria and non state actors – ‘Kidnappers’ Syndicate’ – have demanded from President Bola Tinubu and Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna State to pay another ransom of 11 Hilux Vans, 150 Motor Bikes and N40 trillion Naira so as to release 16 Kaduna State residents from captivity in a previous abduction last month. If you juxtapose N40 trillion ($25 billion dollars) ransom demand with the Federal Government proposed N1. 9 trillion ($1.18 billion dollars) 2024 budget for 11 security agencies and the Ministries of Defence and Interior headquarters, it means in 25 years, the entire federal government security budgets would be less than what the terrorists are demanding for ransom!

Only yesterday, President Bola Tinubu intoned that his government would not be cowered into paying ransom for the abduction of any citizens, including those recently kidnapped in virtually across the country, particularly school children. I’m against “Negative Empowerment” of the terrorists, as we call it in security parlance. The question is how committed and empathetic is the President given the fact that he went to Niger State two days ago to cause an airport to be renamed after him instead of visiting Kaduna State – a few kilometers away – to sympathize with the Kuriga school authority and families of the abducted schoolchildren? How were we to believe that Mr President is concerned about citizens’ plights where, according to Lagos-based Consultancy SBM Intelligence reported that over 5,400 Nigerians have been kidnapped since the debut of Tinubu’s administration in the last nine months?

These revelations below have further downgraded whatever little efforts the government has told the nation that it is making due to previous experiences toward stamping out insurgency. In September 2019, for example, the daughter of Dr. Umar Ardo, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s cousin and special adviser, was kidnapped in the heart of Abuja and was released only after a $15 million ransom was paid in bitcoin, according to PM News. In the same month, a Nigerian-American professor of political science who retired from a university in Mississippi and relocated to Abuja was kidnapped in downtown Abuja and wasn’t released until he paid a N8.5 million ransom. There had been several other unacknowledged abductions across the country where hundreds of millions of Naira were paid, forcefully into banks accounts.

According to SBM report in the study spanning July 2022 to June 2023, at least 430 civilians were killed, while over N5 billion was demanded from 3,620 persons in 582 kidnap-related cases under one year, according to a new report by SBM Intelligence. This, as a result of insecurity in Nigeria, has led to the country’s name missing from the 15 most peaceful countries in Africa, the 2023 Global Peace Index (GPI), has revealed.

The SBM report titled: “The Economics of Nigeria’s Kidnap Industry 2023 Update: Follow the Money,” also indicated that 19 security personnel were killed during crossfires while 121 of the suspects were gunned down.

In the report, SBM, an Africa-focused geopolitical research and strategic communications consulting firm, stated that it got the data from respondents and publicly available information, including regulators, trade associations, research partners, newspapers and government agencies. While admitting that the ransom demand figure could be far higher since many cases were unreported, SBM noted that of the N5 billion demanded, about N302 million was paid to the criminals, as reported by the ThisDay Newspaper.

“The Boko Haram insurgency is expanding westwards, and the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra’s agitation is becoming more dangerous. Ransom payment has become the dominant motivation for kidnapping due to Nigeria’s struggling economy, rising inflation and high unemployment rates.

“Between July 2022 and June 2023, 3,620 people were abducted in 582 kidnap-related incidents in Nigeria, and at least N5 billion ($6,410,256 as of 30 June 2023) were reported as ransom demands, while verified ransom pay-outs amounted to N302 million ($387,179), or six per cent of what was demanded. However, this figure could be higher due to underreporting,” it said.

Two weeks ago, sources at the Police Headquarters, Federal capital territory, Abuja confirmed to Trojan News Media that a team of Intelligence Response Team (IRT) dispatched to Delta State, to engage kidnappers seeking for ransom to free their victims were ambushed and killed on Monday, 26, 2024. If a whole team of intelligence police detachment were summarily grinded to the dust in the gory pictures of their decaying charred dead bodies in Delta forest, it means the Nigeria Police Force is still working largely by sight or faith, instead of being technically driven; courtesy of government failure in the era of artificial intelligence and geotagging.

Serious minded countries like Mexico has adopted advanced geotagging mechanisms in collaboration with the United States of America in several high-profile cases. The technology was pivotal in dismantling a notorious kidnapping ring in Mexico City. This shows the potential of cross-border technological cooperation, and Nigeria can replicate that with its neighbors, if truly the government is interested in dealing with security menace, head-on.

Geotagging as an effective tool in combating security challenges, which can be used by assigning a geotag to a digital photograph or video, a posting on social media, phone calls, etc. by geotagging the location of the individuals and pinpointed them instantaneously. It also helps in location-based monitoring and tracking; identifying high-risk areas and hotspots, enhancing situational awareness and response, facilitating targeted interventions and resource allocation and improving incident reporting and analysis. If terrorists and kidnappers are audacious enough to make calls as well as send account details of banks where ransoms should be paid after NIN registration exercise by all Nigerians of age, then those governing us must have their brain under their foot.

The enormity of the bloodbath and the flowing river of blood encircling the nation wouldn’t strike a note in the consciousness of the Presidency and his praise singers. Until Aso Rock, Nigeria’s seat of power and the Green, White Green flag are soaked in blood, the incessant wailing of terror victims will keep sounding like an orchestra staged in distance island!

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