By Oji Odu
Given the recurring spate of killings, invasion and alleged occupation of parts of Middle Belt states and parts of the north, and the non chalant and indifferent stance of Federal Government to the problem in spite of several security deployments, why should the the President Muhammadu Buhari government continue to deploy security personnel to the areas that have been invaded by fulani herdsmen or bandits with the attendant pathetic loss of lives and properties? Of what use are these deployments when the perpetrators of the killings continue with their nefarious activities, that they seem to taunt government, “ Catch me if you can.”
Who dares go after them, and why can’t government do so? Even after some of the alleged killers are said to have been arrested, the story ends there, as most of the time there are no prosecutions, convictions and punishments. This has prompted many to believe the complicity theory between the perpetrators and government.
Following yesterday’s Zamfara attacks by suspected bandits with over 80 people dead and still counting, President Buhari has ordered adeployment of a thousand-strong mixed force, comprising the army, air force, police and the civil defence to launch counterattacks on the bandits terrorising the villages and towns of the State. The President also ordered a fresh deployment of fighters jets to Zamfara.
Following the directives, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has begun the deployment of fighter aircraft to Katsina, the airport with the closest proximity to Zamfara State to make for immediate and effective response to the menace posed by the bandits which made earlier response impossible because of lack of fuel depot in the state. “This had not been possible in the past because there was no fuel depot facility in Katsina, but NAF has devised a way around the problem”, Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant(SSA), Media, to the President explained.
Shehu said the President has also authorised the NAF to engage deploy advanced sattelite technology to help accurate detection of locations and movements of the bandits.
“The government had to go to this extent because of the limitations of conventional surveillance, as the use of satellite technology could make the task of NAF less problematic. Following directives from the President, at the weekend, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadiq Abubakar, was in Gusau where he met the Deputy Governor of the State”, he said.
The Magazine’s findings reveal that recent killings in Benue and Taraba States elicited federal government responses. President Buhari met with the Benue State Governor, Samuel Otorm on the matter, to assure him of the Federal Government’s commitment to protecting farmers and communities. He also directed the Inspector General of Police to relocate to Benue State.
Since the first week of January, immediately following the January 1 attacks, the IGP deployed to the affected areas, 10 units of the Police Mobile Force,10 units of Police Special Forces (‘Tactical Operation Units’), and Counter Terrorism Units. Others include- conventional Policemen, Police Explosive Ordinance Department (EOD), Special Police Joint Intelligence and Investigation Teams, and Police Aerial Surveillance Teams (Police Helicopters).
Five Mobile Police Units were deployed to protect Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in neighbouring Nasarawa State with the Nigerian Army deploying Special Forces to Benue, Taraba, and Nasarawa States.
In a recent chat with Paul Ameh, a Sociologist, he said: “ Indeed, these deployment have become lame ducks because they are ineffective. They are toothless bulldogs.
“ They are always constituted after the deed has been done, and they just go there, stay for sometime and are deployed to other areas that have been attacked and destroyed. Sometimes, they are accused by those they are supposed to protect of complicity, following more attacks in the areas they are stationed.
“ Unfortunately, the President has deployed 1000 security personnel to try and solve the recent Zamfara riddle which did not start yesterday and which has claimed hundreds of lives, while about 30,000 policemen were detailed for the just concluded Ekiti gubernatorial election, described as Ekiti “Buyer Election. It shows where the priority of the Federal Government lies.”
However lamenting, Adiza Mohamed asked: “What is the use of these deployments when they cannot stop the hearless killings? What is the need for these policemen, soldiers et cetera when they are deployed after the killings of helpless men, women and children, and destruction of properties worth billions which may never be replaced by some of those affected in their life time?
Of what use are they when they can act only when the Federal Government says so, which is why they either look the other way while the innocent are butchered, or abandon their posts minutes before the attacks? I thing the Federal Government istoying with the lives of Nigerians that voted them into office.”
Will the hyped deployment of 1000-man strong security outfit to check the Zamfara menace be the needed emergency turnaround that will check the inhuman killings in various parts of the country for whatever reasons? Only time will tell with mounting skepticisms it will.