– TARABA AND THE TANTRUMS OF TERRORISMTHISDAYLIVE – THISDAY Newspapers
So, Nigeria has now become so loose and lawlessness that foreign terrorists having had their fill of blood and gore in the countries where they primarily operate now come in to slaughter innocent villagers?
It recently fell the turn of the good people of Manga in Takum local government area of Taraba State to feel the razor-edge of terror. However, in their own case, unlike countless communities in Nigeria`s north-east, north-central and northwest, the fingers of culpability are pointing not to homegrown terror but foreign terror – one so emboldened by Nigeria`s vulnerability that it has decided to join the bazaar of death and destruction.
As 11 people including a traditional ruler lay dead in Manga, Ambazonian separatists soldiers from neighbouring Republic of Cameroon have been fingered as bearing responsibility for the lethal attacks.
Although a leader of the separatist group, Ambazonian Governing Council, has denied their involvement in the attack, blaming the Cameroonian government instead, it beggars belief that while citizens of the so-called giant of Africa lie dead, blame is being passed between a separatist group and the government in a country suffocating under an aging dictator.
It was always going to come to this. It was always going to happen that killer vultures would also come to wreak havoc on Nigerians from outside Nigeria.
As Boko Haram terrorists and killer bandits have slaughtered their way to local and international prominence, there was always the terrifying chance that a weakened security architecture would encourage other criminals within and outside the country to participate in the killing orgy.
As has always been the case, it is the rural communities that are most vulnerable. In Nigeria, living in rural areas is very hard work: road networks are either poor or non-existent; power supply is either epileptic or outrightly unavailable; healthcare is shockingly poor, and a lack of quality education is a signage of extreme privation. These feature prominently in Nigeria`s rural communities and rural citizens.
Rural communities, in spite of their striking poverty used to be places of warmth and welcome where one could escape from the cut-throat bustle of cities. But not anymore. Rampant insecurity and rampaging killers have ensured that the tremendous tranquility that used to be a feature of rural areas has been replaced by ceaseless gunfire.
Nigeria`s insecurity nightmare has especially struck Nigeria`s soft underbelly – the rural areas. Majority of IDPs used to live in the rural areas. Many of those who have lost everything to terrorism used to live in rural areas.
Boko Haram and bandits occupy some of these rural areas where the menace they pose is clearly palpable. Something must be done urgently.
A country with terrorists anywhere is a country with terrorists everywhere. It is no secret that today, many of Nigeria`s public officers are stuck in and around the Federal Capital Territory. They simply cannot visit their respective villages for fear of bandits and Boko Haram terrorists.
As insecurity has garnered temerity in Nigeria, gaining territory in the process, there has been a lot of public frustration about whether those tasked with securing lives and property are not breaking enough sweat to secure Nigerian tax payers.
While the security personnel on the battle fronts fight valiantly at great personal cost, it is doubtful that the government is getting its security priorities right. It appears that those tasked with the responsibility of beating back terror are round pegs in square holes.
It is not just Manga that must be kept free of the invaders. Every rural area in Nigeria must be kept beyond the reach of killers foreign and homegrown alike. For the sake of rural children, killers must never be allowed to operate anywhere.
Kene Obiezu, Keneobiezu@gmail.com