President Tinubu, save Nigeria from kidnappers

Mar 10, 2024 | Press Releases

The kidnap of no fewer than 287 pupils and teachers of Government Secondary School and LEA Primary School, Kuriga, Chikum Local Government Area and about 400 women and children from Babban Sansani, Zulum and Arabic Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in Gamboru Ngala, in Kaduna and Borno States respectively, reinforces apprehension that the climate of impunity and violent banditry in Nigeria is sadly enduring. 

This depressing state of Nigeria’s security architecture has been further accentuated when another 15 students were abducted in Gidan Bakuso, Gada Local Government Area of Sokoto State. Undoubtedly, these brazen acts by criminal elements less than a month after pupils and teachers of Apostolic Faith Group of Schools were kidnapped in Emure-Ekiti, Ekiti State is an indictment on Nigerian security agencies and the Federal Government of Nigeria.

In his inaugural speech on May 29th, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu assured Nigerians to make security a top priority and vowed to ‘’defend the nation from all forms of terror and criminality’’. Available records indicate that on this score, President Tinubu’s administration has abysmally failed to keep this promise in protecting and defending Nigerians from criminal elements. Data from the Centre for Investigative Journalism and National Security Tracker indicated that 5,135 Nigerians have died in the first seven months of the current administration while Civil Society groups under the aegis of Civil Society Joint Action Group, revealed that as at January 2024, 1,872 Nigerians have been abducted on the watch of President Tinubu.

The National Association of Seadogs, Pyrates Confraternity, NAS/PC condemn the latest act of abduction by criminal elements in Kaduna, Borno and Sokoto states. Abducting school children and those seeking refuge in IDPs is reprehensible and unacceptable. We empathise with victims of these acts of terror. We urge families of victims to stay strong during this trying period.

It is distressing that many a school environment, ordinarily a sanctuary of learning and knowledge has been transformed into a theatre of terror, fear and anguish by rampaging marauders. Also, abducting victims of terror, mainly women and children in IDPs camps, is the height of cowardice and barbarity by these insurgents. The implication of this unchecked terror in schools is grave for the future of students and schools in Nigeria.

Again, Nigerians are being made to go through harrowing episodes of serial abductions that should have been nipped in the bud if our security agencies are on top of their game. For eight years, Nigerians endured the heart-rending events of killings and abductions under the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.  Between 2019 and 2023, the Civil Society, Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC in a report stated that 15,597 Nigerians were abducted. There were justifiable assertions that insecurity festered under the Buhari Presidency because it was handled with kid gloves.

Sadly, Nigerians are experiencing a sense of déjà vu with the plethora of abductions under the Tinubu Presidency. While Nigeria’s security agencies had recorded success in its onslaught against insurgents in the recent past, such successes are being diminished with the unconscionable abduction of children and helpless victims of terror.

President Bola Tinubu should be worried that his directive for terror to be eliminated is having no effect. As the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, he should be concerned that criminal elements operating on multiple fronts are making a mockery of his authority as President over ineffective directives that have so far been unable to stem the tide of kidnappings and terror attacks.

We demand a master plan from the President and his security team on ways they intend to keep the country safe. His current handling of security challenges is not putting enough heat on criminal elements. There is an urgent need for the Tinubu administration to change tactics. Now is the time for the Tinubu Presidency to unbundle Nigeria’s policing system. It is crystal clear that the current centrally controlled Police with 371,000 personnel can no longer serve the purpose of protecting Nigerians. President Tinubu working in collaboration with the National Assembly should speed up the amendment of the Constitution to create State Police. The creation of State Police with locals who are familiar with the people at the community level and terrain would ensure efficiency in intelligence gathering to prevent crime before they happen or a swift response if it occurs.

We therefore endorse the moves by North-west governors to strengthen security of their states with the launch of community protection guards in Kastina, Sokoto and Zamfara. Other states ravaged by banditry should follow suit. This stop gap effort before necessary constitutional amendments for the take-off of the State Police are perfected should be encouraged and supported by the Federal Government. 

More importantly, Nigeria’s justice system should be revamped to fast track prosecution of suspects arrested for kidnapping and other terror related offences. Government, security agencies and Civil society must at all levels desist from recruiting negotiators to engage kidnappers thereby legitimising an abominable enterprise. 

The prompt rescue of kidnapped citizens and the interdiction of kidnappers and their confederates must be an urgent priority of the government and the security agencies. This is the most effective way to ensure deterrence. No Nigerian deserves the agony of being kidnapped when there is a government whose responsibility is to protect the people. President Tinubu needs to rise to the occasion and act as the President and Chief Security Officer of the country. Time is no longer on his side.

Abiola Owoaje

NAS Capoon


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