Japheth J. Omojuwa : #BenueMassacre In Nigeria and A Failing National Security Structure

#BenueMassacre comes on the heels of repeated killings by herdsmen. So far, government’s response has been a disaster. There is a feeling of, ‘this too shall pass,’ on the side of the government but we cannot always wait for the news cycle to deflect responsibilities of government. If a government fails at security, it has failed as a government! I made a statement about the rampant kidnappings and herdsmen killings and someone reminded me that “but Boko Haram have been defeated!” I do not understand us at times, we excuse the failings of government using one illogical guise or the other. Should Nigerians now begin to trade death from one form of terrorism to the other? That 81 Nigerians got killed should bring a nation to its knees, but Nigeria – government and people – does not appear concerned. We have become used to tragedy we have even come to expect them.

Our national security as it is set up is not working and it will not work. Kidnappings were limited to a part of the country, they have now gained national spread. This particular menace is even more rampant than the media reports it, because many families preferred to sort their issues and negotiations without involving the media. The notoriety of the herdsmen is not new, they were ranked the 4th deadliest terrorist group in 2014 but our government has treated them like just another criminal gang. But these are murderers, they kill for fun. If the Nigerian government does not go after them and stop them, or at least drastically reduce their capacity for wanton destruction and murder, Boko Haram would be a lieutenant reality. The earlier this becomes an urgent matter of national security, the better. Beyond this, we need a robust security structure. A situation where gangs and terrorist groups are springing up like CSOs does not bode well for our social system and future. This country has battle development gaps to fill, it is so tragic that rather than focus on them, we must now at least survive the many avenues of murder and threat to our lives daily.

The Nigerian government must step up its efforts in safeguarding lives and property. President Buhari needs to know that the security of lives and property cannot be less important than whatever issues he has set as his top priority. Nigerians voted the last government out because of lapses like this, about time the current administration shows a marked difference from the old that was flushed out. About time that sense of urgency kicks in, across the board, not just on national security. Nigeria has waited too long, Nigerians are tired of waiting to catch the flight of progress and development.