The inevitable is beginning to happen. The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is on the verge of a lockdown due to looming threats by terrorists. Abuja, as the federal capital, is generally regarded as the safest place in Nigeria and the reasons are not far-fetched. A whole Brigade, an elite, select and well-trained corps of soldiers, with the singular responsibility of protecting the seat of power is headquartered in Abuja. So, it’s given that Abuja would be the safest place in Nigeria. Is it?
Recent events have shattered that myth. Last month, in a daring move, Boko Haram terrorists attacked the Kuje Correctional Centre and released all their members. According to reports, the terrorist operated for close to two hours and there was no fight back from the security services.
Shockingly, three weeks after, no one has resigned or been sacked by President Muhammadu Buhari on account of the major security breach and national embarrassment.
Rather it has been blamestorming between the intelligence agencies and the other arms of the security infrastructure. The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Idris Wase, had disclosed that the Department of State Services (DSS), issued not less than 44 security reports ahead of the recent attack on the Kuje Correctional Centre, Abuja. Yet, no action was taken by the authorities.
On Sunday night, the troops of the 7 Guards Brigade which provides security for the Presidential Villa and the FCT were attacked by gunmen suspected to be terrorists.They were ambushed while on patrol along the Kubwa-Bwari Road in the nation’s capital. Sadly, two officers and one soldier died as heroes battling the insurgents.
Also, the first batch of the 2022 Call to Bar ceremony of graduates of the Nigeria Law School, could not hold at the premises of the headquarters of the institution in Bwari, Abuja, as scheduled, following threats of attacks by terrorists.
An alarm patterned after standard security alerts from security agencies, warned that terrorists were planning to attack the FCT, Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna, Kogi, and the Lagos States. The alert said the Islamic State for West African Province (ISWAP) has mobilised fighters and high caliber weapons, particularly, rocket-propelled Grenade (RPG) launchers, anti-aircraft (AA) guns, and general-purpose machine guns (GPMG), which they intend to deploy for the offensive on Katsina State.
We recall that before this, the Federal Capital Territory Command of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) had issued a similar alert. Subsequently, the ministry of education ordered the immediate closure of the Federal Government College, Kwali, in the FCT over security threats. In a statement issued on Monday, Ben Goong, director of press and public relations in the ministry of education, attributed the decision to a security breach in communities around the school.
Similarly, the FCT authority has issued a directive for all private schools in Abuja to be closed indefinitely. The directive was a response to the growing threat of attacks on the capital city. Also due to its proximity to Abuja, the Nasarawa government has ordered the immediate closure of primary and secondary schools in the state over “security threats”.
No doubt, the fear of an impending attack in Abuja by terrorists has heightened fears in the capital. Sadly, this brings back sad memories of pre-2015 when bombs were going off in Abuja and its environs. In our considered opinion, under no circumstances should the federal capital return to that inglorious era. The military should never allow the insurgents to operate active cells in Abuja.
Indeed, measures taken so far seem to indicate that the security agencies are powerless against the insurgents. In our view, shutting down schools and other places is a sign of weakness, a panic measure. Are the schools going to be shut down forever?
We are persuaded to suggest that this is the time for the President to take action. This is the time to arrest this carnage. The president is not doing his legacy any favour by the lethargic response to the worsening insecurity in Abuja and country as a whole. It is time for him to wield the big stick.
We are perplexed that no one has been fired for the Kuje prison break and we urge the president to, as a matter of urgency, put the feet of the complacent public officers on fire. It may not solve the whole problem but it will surely be a warning sign that laxity will neither be tolerated nor accepted.
Second, it is worrisome that the military in several cases fail to act on intelligence report and are in most cases reactionary. This has to stop.
The milliary should take out the insurgents in Abuja and its environs. This is the time to show who is boss. Abuja should maintain the standard of being the safest place in Nigeria .