BY OUR EDITORS
The rising incidences of attacks on Police facilities, especially in the South East and South South regions of the country is, without doubt, a dangerous trend that must be confronted with all the seriousness it deserves to avoid the risk of the nation witnessing total descent to anarchy.
From January 2021 to April 19, there were no fewer than 18 attacks, some deadly, on police and police formations in both geographical zones by some renegades. These attacks occurred in seven states with Cross River and Imo witnessing the largest number of such occurrences.
We conjecture that these attacks are carried out to instil fear in the minds of the populace and make them lose faith in the government. Even more worrisome is that these attacks are well coordinated yet there has been no arrest let alone prosecution of culprits.
The police are constitutionally saddled with the responsibility of maintaining the internal security of the nation. So, it is from this standpoint that we consider it intensely disturbing that they are targets by unscrupulous elements who mastermind these attacks.
It is Lamentable, in our opinion, that the attacks on police are both suggestive of the deplorable state of security in the nation as well as proof of the increasing apathy and disdain with which some Nigerians hold the police.
Even worse is the fact that these attacks are coming on the heels of renewed calls for secession largely by some hitherto nondescript entities. First, it was an Asari Dokubo who declared what he termed as a new Biafran de facto government. In addition to declaring himself the leader of the government, announced names of some officials who he claimed would work with him to actualise his bad dream.
Few days after Dokubo’s, what is in our view, a wild goose chase, one Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho, declared Yoruba as a separate nation and demanded the secession of South-West states from Nigeria. Igboho claimed that the major resources of Nigeria were in the hands of Northerners, stressing that Yoruba were being killed and their land taken over.
“If the police attack us for that, we are ready for them. We do not want Nigeria again but the Yoruba nation. There is no essence for one Nigeria when the major resources in the country are in the hands of the northerners”.
But even before these people came out to make their secession threats, Nnamdi Kanu, the self-acclaimed leader of outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) had declared an independent state of Biafra and announced the severance of ties with Nigeria.
We recall that shortly after Igboho made his secession call, a group, the Arewa Youth Assembly (AYA), gave Yoruba citizens residing in the North three days to leave the region. There is absolutely no reason why an Igboho who declared Yoruba republic, Dokubo who announced the formation of Biafra de facto government and the members of the Arewa Youth Movement who issued the infamous quit notice, should not be picked up by the security operatives.
Plainly, these are danger signals that cannot be ignored as such actions must not be allowed to fester because they are capable of throwing the nation into chaos of an unimaginable proportion.
As a newspaper, we are worried that the nation is gradually witnessing intensification of attacks on policemen and their stations, an ugly trend that gained traction during the now rested #EndSARS campaign.
We hold the strong view that this unwholesome trend must be halted while there is yet time. The gradual slide into anarchy as exemplified by calls for secession, quit notice and heightened insecurity in the face of increased attacks on police stations and personnel, must be checked now and effectively too.
While these acts of lawlessness are going on, it is pertinent to raise questions regarding the intelligence gathering mechanisms of the security operatives. How is it that these attacks take place and very little is heard about the arrest of perpetrators only for the nation to witness yet another a short while later? Obviously, this is an indictment on the security architecture which, sadly, has almost relapsed into a state of complacency.
The police as an institution and, indeed, all other security agencies must strengthen their intelligence gathering capabilities and deploy same to round up those behind these attacks on police stations because until that is done, the public confidence in the police to even defend the citizens will continue to wane.
Government must realize now, more than ever before, that these security breaches need to be nipped in the bud without waiting for them to snowball into a bigger monster that will eventually consume us all.