That Nigeria’s security apparatus is at its lowest ebb is an understatement. Despite the huge amount of money allocated to security by this administration, the effect is nearly unseen going by the reality that surrounds us. Currently, the nation is battling insurgency, banditry and the newest and deadly entrant, kidnapping.
Even though kidnapping is not a new security challenge, it has assumed a life of its own and is getting bigger than the reported activities of Boko Haram and the Fulani herdsmen. The kidnapping industry in Nigeria is booming massively as millions of naira are exchanged daily between kidnappers and the families of victims’. This has gone unreported because the families will rather pay ransom than informing security agencies due to lack of trust.
The case of the recently released Zamfara twins has brought to fore the danger in our hands.
The Zamfara twins were kidnapped in their community along with a family member. Their abductors contacted their families and placed a ransom of fifteen million Naira (N50 million) for their freedom. When all means to raise the funds failed, a member of the negotiating team took to Twitter for help and the ransom was raised from Twitter users – after which payment was made and they were subsequently released.
The girls are free, however, we have a huge problem on our hands. The swiftness with which the money was paid has further emboldened the kidnappers to abduct more individuals and, they will surely have a field day doing that. Security forces have obviously been overstretched and sometimes misused and, it seems we have started paying for it earlier than predicted.
The Nigerian police that are saddled with internal security in the country have been abused and rendered ineffective.
A recent statement credited to the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, revealed that we have 340,000 police officers in the country. Out of these, about 35% are on special duty protecting one ‘big man’ and carrying the bag of ‘another woman’, creating a situation where the chunk of our men have been cornered by a few elite. The effect of this can be seen in the presence of officers of the Nigerian Army in almost all the states in the federation carrying out one operation or the other which should have been the responsibility of the police. Not done with that, Army officers are now deployed for electoral duties while some privileged Nigerians now have soldiers in their convoy.
All these and the fact that the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps have also started showing signs of failure indicate that there’s real danger ahead.