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Attacks on Presidential Convoy and Kuje Prison Ominous Signs of Nation under Siege, Afenifere Says

The pan Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, Wednesday said the attack on the advance Presidential team to Daura, hometown of President Muhammadu Buhari and the explosive attack on Kuje Prison in

The pan Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, Wednesday said the attack on the advance Presidential team to Daura, hometown of President Muhammadu Buhari and the explosive attack on Kuje Prison in Abuja, are affirmations that the insecurity situation in Nigeria is getting out of hand at a rate faster than is acknowledged by the authorities who should deal with it.

The National Publicity Secretary of the organization, Comrade Jare Ajayi, in a release issued in Ibadan, yesterday, regretted that the two attacks were not isolated as reports of terrorism attacks occasioning loss of lives, kidnapping, raping and bodily harms occur on a daily basis.

He stated that what set the attacks of Tuesday apart was its derring-do nature, noting it is another indication that the country is under siege.

According to him, “The nature of these attacks should send serious signals to the governments, to the security agencies and indeed to all Nigerians. The one on the Presidential Team seems to be a coded language by enemies of the nation that they are not afraid of anyone notwithstanding the status of such a person. For, it goes without saying that a Presidential Team would normally be fortified. So, for a group to attack such a team must be out of sheer bravado – which unfortunately further exposed how vulnerable our security situation is”.

Ajayi went further to state that the attack on Kuje Correctional Centre, like some other attacks that occurred in such areas, “appears to be a statement by those enemies of Nigeria that they can strike anywhere and at any time.”

“For, this Kuje attack, taken together with the fatal attack on a military team in Niger State last month, keeps reminding one of the build-up of the Afghanistan saga that led to the forceful take-over of government in that country last year. Everything needs to be done to ensure that such does not occur here”.

He added that were federal government to be sincere in the way it has been handling security breaches in the past, “the situation would not have degenerated to this sorry pass. By this we are referring to the kid-glove manner by which the government and its security arms have been dealing with those caught in banditry and terrorism”.

He stated that anyone around the President or governor ought to have a sense of safety just as the presence of government ought to be an assurance for the citizens regarding their security.

The attacks on the Presidential Team and on Kuje Prison, like the ones that had taken place in different parts of the country before, “make Nigerians to feel more and more insecure. On a number of times, armed bandits have attacked governors, particularly those of Borno and Benue. They have attacked transport centres like airport and rail lines as well as military and police formations. These are places one should have a sense of highest safety and security. Their attacks on religious places and on clerics too seem to have become a routine. In that kind of situation, people’s sense of helplessness became heightened.”

Aayi insisted that the organisation, like many other well-meaning Nigerians, have, on several occasions, warned against what is happening now, recalling a statement issued on May 5, while reacting to the assurance given by President Buhari during this year’s Ed el Fitri that insecurity has been curtailed in the country.

According to him, Afenifere was emphatic that the nature of the ongoing terrorism attacks has shown that the objectives of those behind it went beyond religion or even economic. “It is, without any doubt territorial and hegemonic in nature. Their aim is to ‘conquer’ indigenous people and impose their hegemony over them. Reports from some of the territories they have taken over revealed how they were forcing people to pay them taxes before those people could be allowed to carry out their daily activities.”

Ajayi maintained that it is the responsibility of the government that no external entity comes around to impose its force over the people of any area within its sovereignty, stating “unfortunately, terrorists are having the field day while those Nigerians look up to appear to be watching in helplessness”.

While prescribing effective ways out of the frightening situation, he advocated for an immediate setting up of local and state police, granting of free hand to security agencies to deal with the terrorists and devolving power to the states in a manner that would enable nationalities in the country to have greater leverage in the way affairs affecting their lives are being conducted.

“In other words, effective machinery must be set in motion for a proper restructuring of the country immediately while states are allowed to set up their own police forces as a short time measure to the insecurity ogre that is about to consume everybody”, he added.

Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan

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