In the past few days, a groundswell of anger and indignation has enveloped Nigeria over the cruel circumstances in which 22-year-old Miss Oluwabamise Ayanwole was killed in Lagos State. As if in a long bad dream, Nigerians were still reeling over the sheer evil perpetrated by her attacker(s) when news of the killing of 63 local vigilantes in Zuru Emirate, Kebbi State filtered in. Yet again on the same day, Nigerians were jolted by the tragic news of 19 soldiers reportedly killed when gunmen attacked the convoy of Kebbi State’s Deputy Governor, Samaila Dabai Yombe at Kanya community in the state.
Before Ayanwole and the Kebbi killings, Nigerians had been wringing their hands over the gruesome murder of Timothy Adegoke, an MBA student in Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU). Adegoke’s young life was snuffed out in his hotel room in Ile-Ife, Osun State, apparently for ritual purposes. Similar outrage had been expressed over the brutal manner in which a five-year-old pupil, Hanifa Abubakar, was killed by her school proprietor, one Abdulmalik Tanko who had body mutilated. Also in another recent sordid killing, gunmen brazenly attacked a cattle market in Abia State, killing eight defenceless traders. There have been reports of other senseless killings across the country; many of which did not make mainstream news.
The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) is deeply concerned about these repeated gut-wrenching killings across the country. It defies logic that blood-thirsty murderers can openly unleash a reign of unbridled terror, killing innocent citizens in a manner that suggests that sanctity of life has finally taken flight from Nigeria on the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari.
It is extremely frightening that in a country supposedly with a functional government, citizens are at the mercy of ritual killers, kidnappers, and vicious gunmen whose purpose of making life unbearable for the people is being met with no semblance of resistance.
Rather disappointingly, the responses from those in authority to these perils have, as usual, been perfunctory and totally lacking in empathy. Nigeria Police’s handling of the investigation into Ayanwole’s death gave room for suspicion .The Lagos State Government’s reaction to her murder has been curiously lame and unsatisfactory. A state government that should by now be extremely worried that an essential component of its public transport system has been brought under intense public scrutiny has carried on as usual, with occasional dramatic expressions of faux outrage. The implication of Ayanwole’s death on the BRT is that the basic safety of the teeming citizenry, who daily shuttle around the bustling metropolis using the BRT services can no longer be guaranteed. This is an opportunity for the Lagos State Government to reassess the safety of the BRT and leverage on the advantages of technology using CCTV and other electronic equipment to monitor the BRT and keep Lagosians safe.
As of the time of the killings in Kebbi, Governor Atiku Bagudu had abandoned governance in his state to continue his preoccupation with internal party shenanigans in far away Abuja, leaving the hapless folks who entrusted him with their mandate to a very sorry fate.
Sadly, President Muhammadu Buhari, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces has not fared any better. Away in the United Kingdom on another medical trip, his reaction to the Kebbi killings through his spokesman, Garba Shehu which stated, inter alia, that; “I will do all it takes to tackle this monster decisively”, can no longer reassure Nigerians. Similar statements in the past over activities of vicious criminal elements have not mitigated the continued orgy of murderous violence across the country.
Nigerians expect their governments at federal and state levels to rise from their worrisome slumber, reconnect with the letter and spirit of their constitutional responsibilities, and face up to the worsening threats to the lives of their citizens. To this end, we implore the Nigeria Police to ensure the judicious prosecution of the suspect held for the murder of Bamise and flush out other members of the gang if any to ensure justice is done. Also, the ongoing prosecution of the suspected killers of Hanifa and Adegoke should be diligent and sincere. The governments of Lagos, Osun and Kano States must take more than a superficial interest in the prosecution of accused persons in the callous murders of Bamise, Hanifa and Adegoke respectively. Convictions of the accused persons in these cases would serve as a strong deterrence to would-be murderers.
We restate our previous position that the issue of community policing can no longer be treated with levity. The security agencies as presently constituted are overstretched, and cannot meet the basic responsibility of ensuring security of life and property. Regardless of the misgivings against multi-level policing, its advantages far outweigh its perceived shortcomings. It remains the best bet to solve the myriad of insecurity challenges confronting the country.
We urge President Muhammadu Buhari to devote more time at his duty post, and rescue this country and its citizens from the menace of rampaging killers. His leadership capabilities have been called into question severally in the past. He still has time to urgently change the narrative by providing crucial leadership in moments of grave concern. He should seize the initiative and ensure that all those that have killed innocent Nigerians are hunted down and brought to book. Sanctity of life is non-negotiable and should be the priority for President Buhari.