At the cross roads

By Chioma Gabriel

These are not good times in Nigeria and security questions abound. There’s so much to worry about. From armed robbery, kidnappings and all manner of agitations, it is obvious that all is not well in Nigeria.

The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has just been declared a terrorist organization and many received same with mixed reaction. All kinds of agitations have been ringing and are still ringing across Nigeria. I have no opinion on that.

Recently, there was another report of interception of arms and ammunition making it the third time this year that arms are being intercepted either on the highways, the ports or elsewhere. It raises so many questions especially when much is not heard about these interceptions afterwards. Who imported them and for what purposes? The reports always either tagged them illegal arms or substandard arms and ammunition and then nothing else is heard about them.

In the past, Nigeria has had cause to report Iran to the United Nations Sanctions Committee over high calibre arms and ammunition intercepted by security agencies at Apapa Port. The intercepted arms and ammunition, loaded in 13 containers labelled as “packages of glass wool and pallets of stone”, according to LT. Col Sagir Musa at that time were said to have originated from Iran, a country under UN sanctions.

As we are all aware, proliferation of small arms and light weapons is increasingly and dangerously becoming a transnational organized crime in Nigeria with Boko Haram’s insurgency, re-emerging; Niger Delta crisis, ethnic agitations and escalating kidnappings, communal crisis ,armed robbery and herdsmen menace and now Biafra.

Some rampaging herdsmen carry Ak47 across their shoulders as if its their right under the Nigerian constitution and there appears to be some justified explanations about their doing so. They too should be tagged something based on their activities in states like Benue, parts of southeast, south-south and southwest Nigeria.

Reports abound of many arms and ammunition of various types, sizes and caliber being intercepted and confiscated by security agencies across borders in Nigeria especially parts of the north. The recurrent detection and recovery of cache of arms, ammunition and Improvised Explosive Device Materials either at the ports or on the highways should be paid serious attention. The source of the calibre of sophisticated weapons used by some of these outlaws to operate should be investigated.

It is still fresh how a Catholic Church was invaded at Ozubulu and worshipers attacked by gunmen who left many wounded and others dead. The last is yet to be heard of that attack on innocent worshipers and the police are still investigating.

It is no longer a secret that these “merchants of death” wield the most sophisticated arms, sometimes overwhelming the security forces with their state-of-art arms and ammunition.

It is also not impossible that those who make a business out of crisis engage in arms trafficking/ trading through covert and deceptive use of porous Nigerian borders of Cameroon, Chad, and Niger.

In the northern axis alone, there are reported to be over 250 footpaths from Damaturu/Maiduguri axis that link or lead direct to Cameroon, Chad or Niger. These paths are mostly unknown by security agencies, are unmanned, unprotected and thus serve as leaky routes for arms and ammunition trafficking in to Nigeria.

Nigeria is currently engaged in a serious fight against terrorism. The increasing number of ethnic agitations across the country has added to the challenge of the influx of illegal aliens, arms, ammunition and sophisticated IED materials into the country.

The vastness of the nation’s borders in the face of these challenges has not helped matters. Nigeria must come up with more innovative technology; sound policies and proficient process that will help protect our borders.

It is a tragedy that the exact number of illegal routes and means through which illegal aliens, arms and ammunition are trafficked in to the country remains a mirage.

Now concerning the agitators, we have all heard the news that IPOB, and others are now terrorist organizations. I think that should also include other agitators across Nigeria including those that threw stones at the MumuDon Do protesters at Abuja. Nigeria must be sanitized. No group or organization must exist besides the national assembly and the governors. Anybody who has anything to say should speak through their governors and representatives at the national assembly.

The same treatment should be extended everywhere across Nigeria so that peace should reign in our country. Even those agitating for restructuring should mind their language. We are good as we are. Everything is perfect. We need to maintain the statuesque. Nothing needs to be addressed .

Nest-ce pas vrai ? (Isn’t it true)

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