The precarious security situation in Nigeria is soaring. The recent travel restrictions by the United States and United Kingdom handed to their citizens is very instructive and adds weight to the ugly situation.
Insurgents, bandits and criminals remain undaunted unleashing terror on innocent civilians including women and children in the North-east, North-central and North – west. Interestingly, this has spread to Southern parts of the country, though sparsely. This is inspite of daily reports of military air and land strikes at flash points reportedly ‘neutralising’ criminal elements within targeted range.
It is absolutely needless to glamorize issue of life and death. Nigeria has continued to witness barbaric killings, displacement of large number of hapless peasants who are hurdled at different internally displaced places – their homes, means of livelihood destroyed while dare-devil killers continue to prowl.
The Federal Government of Nigeria led by the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) does not need a prophecy to know that beside the overwhelming public dissatisfaction and indignation, members of the international community have equally spoken unambiguously and taken their position on the precarious security situation in the country.
For instance, the United Kingdom and United States have passed votes of no confidence on the management of security situation and subsequently issued restrictions warning their citizens against travelling to and within Nigeria. This does not need esoteric or conspiratorial interpretation by APC and Buhari’s spin doctors nay apologists; it is a validation of reality that should stir this government into convincing action so as to arrest this ugly development.
According to advisory statement on the website of the United State Department of State, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) listed 12 states as high risk areas bordering on COVID-19 pandemic, “crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping and maritime crime. Some areas have increased risk.” A level 3 Travel Health Notice was therefore issued accordingly.
‘’Do not travel to Borno and Yobe States and Northern Adamawa State due to terrorism; Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano and Yobe States due to kidnapping; Coastal areas of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers, Delta and Rivers States (with the exception of Port Harcourt) due to crime, civil unrest, kidnapping and maritime crime,” the statement said.
The statement expatiated further that “Terrorists continue plotting and carrying out attacks in Nigeria, especially in the Northeast. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting shopping centres, malls, markets, hotels, places of worship, restaurants, bars, schools, government installations, transportation hubs, and other places where crowds gather. Sporadic violence occurs between communities of farmers and herders in rural areas.’’
Travel restrictions by foreign countries means a lot to the economic, political and social life of Nigeria. It is capable of truncating foreign investment campaign of the present administration, frustrating humanitarian support programmes and many more. The ultimate damage to the ordinary people can best be imagined.
That this international bad image and pressure is mounting from our most priced development partners when COVID-19 cases are on the increase in the country is certainly ominous. This government needs help from former leaders, experts outside government and strategic partners to help it think and strategise; however, it carries on as if everything is alright, especially as it pertains to national security. The time to reach out and think outside the box is now before it is too late.
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