The ongoing accelerating cases of deadly attacks involving kidnapping, rape, and bombing across the land have posed series of unbearable challenges to governments, individuals, security personnel, and other stakeholders as they are backpedalling political and socio-economic efforts toward the achievement of the Vision 20:20:20.
The matter becomes worsened on a daily basis. The public outcry on the spate of terrorist attacks leading to the death of about 20 worshippers at the Deeper Life Bible Church in Kogi state has been consolidated by another series of attacks a week after in our public higher institutions resulting in the massacre of about 46 students of the Federal Polytechnic,
Mubi and Adamawa State College of Health Technology and four other University of Port Harcourt students, who were burnt to death after being paraded naked a week later in Anuu Community, Rivers state.
Of course, the incident of Aluu-4 has not only thrown the parents of the victims into sorrow, but also triggered massive protests by enraged students of the university. The protest has led to a subsequent reprisal attack resulting in serious socio-economic loss as no fewer than 12 houses were set ablaze in the community, even as the university has been shut down by the school authorities.
In the analysis of a regular columnist, John Shiklam, to say the deadly attacks of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, are killing the economy of the North is an understatement. In most states in the North, the devastating socio-economic effects of the sect’s serial killings and bombings, especially in Borno, Yobe, Niger, Kaduna, Kano, Plateau (which is more of ethno-religious conflict), Kogi, Bauchi and recently, Sokoto, has destroyed economic and commercial activities with many people relocating to other places.
In the late January 2012, about 200 bodies were deposited in the various morgues following a bomb explosion that rocked Kano city. The attack was traced to the Boko Haram group. This was followed by several explosions and a gun attack in Bayero University also in the city leading to the deaths of no fewer than 15 people in April, 2012.
Similarly, in Maiduguri, Borno State, where the sect originated, the frequent bombings and clashes between Boko Haram and security agents have weighed down seriously on commercial and business activities as many businesses have reportedly crumbled, while many people have fled the state.
Recently, investigations revealed that cases of extra-judicial killings, torture, arson and arbitrary arrests, allegedly perpetrated by operatives of the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) in some parts of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, have become rampant. Similarly, some JTF personnel have been accused of forceful entry into houses, extortion and other human rights abuses allegedly perpetrated under the guise of searching for arms or hunting down suspected members of the dreaded sect.
Kano, which is often regarded as the ‘Centre for Commerce’ in the entire 19 northern states happened to be the worst hit by the ongoing national insecurity as it is gradually losing steam. About 80 per cent of the industries are reported to have been shut down as a result of power failure and the scary security challenges.
Counting the economic losses the attacks have caused the economy so far, the World Investment Report (2011) of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) shows that the Nigerian economy has lost some N1.3 trillion as a result of attacks by Boko Haram. In addition, the report reveals that foreign direct investment to Nigeria fell to N933 billion in 2010 from N1.3 trillion in 2009 representing a decline of 29 per cent. The situation is not only dimming the local economy but also scaring away foreign investments and increasing the cost of doing business in Nigeria
A professor of mathematics with the American University of Nigeria, Leonard Karshima Shilgba has laid blame of of insecurity in Nigeria at the door step of the political leadership as epitomised by President Goodluck Jonathan, who has huge resources at his disposal, which may be deployed to achieve great good or to inflict egregious injury on society.
Professor Shilgba does not see the crisis of bombings in Nigeria as being caused by Christo-Islamic tensions, but injustice and failure of government. He lamented that from the available reports, there are some government officials who are benefitting from the crisis, not least through the almost one trillion naira security vote in the 2012 budget, which vote was because of the Boko Haram threat.
It was reported in the observation of a famous socio-political writer, Clifford Ndujihe that the practical significance of a democratic constitution in the context of Nigeria, as in the context of the rest of Africa, lies partly in the nature and structure of our society. It is in this respect that Nigeria and Africa differ fundamentally from the U.S. and Europe. Whilst each of the original 13 colonies and, even more so, each of 50 states that make up the United States today, comprises peoples of different languages, races, religions and cultural backgrounds, each of those different peoples does not, by and large, inhabit a separate territorial area as to constitute a separate territorial entity, as is the case in Africa.
On the rising ethno-political tensions across the country, he further argued that the diverse ethnic groups comprised in the state in Africa, the Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba, the Igbo, the Ijaws, the Urhorobos, the Itsekiris, the Ibibios and other ethnic groups in Nigeria for example, inhabit each a separate territorial area, which constitutes them a separate territorial entity. Creating a nation out of a diversity of people each inhabiting a separate territorial area and constituting a separate territorial entity confronts a problem fundamentally different in nature and character from that faced by the Americans since 1787.
To end these challenges, Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) under the Chairmanship of Mr. Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State had called for a multi-dimensional approach to security issues, which include enhanced coordination and collaboration among security forces, effective use of technology and intelligence, value re-orientation, employment generation and sincerity of purpose. The forum however, identified that in order to combat the rising insecurity in the country there is the urgent need to create state police.
However, the proposal for the establishment of state police has been faced with several criticisms such as the likelihood of conflict of jurisdiction between states, especially where the conflicting states are run by different political parties; lack of uniformity in financing; and diversion of criminals and criminality from one state to another.
Abubakar Jimoh is the National Coordinator, Youths Against Disaster Initiative (YADI), and lives in Abuja.