Before Abuja becomes the next Kabul || Caleb Onyeabor

Newsie Events Media:

The attack on the Nigerian defence academy by bandits that led to the death of officers of the Nigerian Military is another sign of the weakness in Nigerian security architecture and the egregious state of security in the country.

The environs of the Nigerian Defence Academy are heavily militarized with presence of numerous checkpoints and soldiers. The vulnerability of what ought to be an impervious and unassailable zone to bandits calls for the loudest alarm. The rapacious and rancorous activities of banditry has evolved in the last 6 months. The armed sect that began by plying the trade of kidnapping, robbing and killing of defenceless civilians has moved a step up the ladder, demonstrating the audacity, the ability and the power to attack members of the military, military infrastructure and defence institutions and formations. Insecurity is on a different level when the military itself is not safe, when soldiers become victims and defence institutions become pervious. There is a big problem.

This is coming at a time when Afghanistan has fallen to the Taliban – a globally recognised radical islamist group. The bandits in Nigeria are advancing and showing every possible sign that they can be the African Taliban. The last time, the governor of Niger state raised an alarm that some local government areas in his state – a state which is the biggest state by landmass in the country – is under the control of bandits and terrorists. Some communities at the outskirts of Abuja has been overran and held hostage by bandits. What other sign do the government need before they see that Nigeria is moving faster than any other nation into becoming the next Afghanistan.

While the political and military leadership of the country are engaged in more garrulous than combative activities, the country is falling apart. This is like a repeat of the mistake of the last 10 years. The Nigerian government has failed to learn from a history that’s as close as 10 years. When bokoharam began, there were some elitist voices fanning defensive narratives and excuses in order to pressure government into treating the insurgents with a lighter and softer approach. They likened the insurgents to the erstwhile militants agitating for economic justice for the Niger Delta region. They even went as far as regarding insurgents that fell to Military power as martyrs of the northern region. Elites were going all over national and international podiums and media harassing the government into negotiating and granting amnesty to members of Bokoharam sect. All these put together distracted the government from taking the appropriate step of treating terrorists as terrorists. Not until the insurgents became so brazen enough to attack important places that the nation realized that it was in a state of war. From bombing vulnerable churches and civilian settlements, the police headquarters in Abuja was attacked. The UN building was attacked and several barracks were also attacked. By the time the country could pick up and put in a proper fight, bokoharam had become a formidable force.

The same thing is happening with bandits. The political and Military leadership are trying so hard to paint a picture of a problem of banditry when we have a problem of terrorism. They are working so hard to make us believe we are being confronted by a lizard when all we see is a rampaging Godzilla. They have tried to justify their misplaced hard approach on Kanu and Igboho as opposed to bandits through flimsy, ludicrous and hackneyed irrational statements. A group of people who dare shoot down a fighter jet and are bold enough to attack military institutions have other grevious plans that merely committing crimes for money.

Before Abuja becomes the next Kabul, the government must be ready to treat the bandits for the terrorists that they are. The government must react to this issue as it would to a state of war.

Before Abuja becomes the next Kabul, government has to get rid of pliant, compromised and enemy elements within the Nigerian Military. The manner with which these attacks are conducted have shown that it can not be done without the support of moles, insiders and saboteurs. This is the biggest single factor why the Afghan army fell to the Taliban. The Taliban won not because it was stronger, not because it had more men, not because it had more arms and weapons, the Afghan army had all these but fell simply because it was compromised. The war against bokoharam terrorists and its sister group which the government has been erroneously calling bandits has revealed more than ever, that the Nigerian Military has been compromised. A compromised military is the easiest to defeat.

Beyond the compromisation of the military, there is an even more serious problem of a glaring signal of a compromised government. These things would not be possible or so easy without the involvement of some elites. The elites are the real bandits. The bandits are the foot soldiers at the bottom of the chain of a network of persons who wants to run this country aground.

Security is beyond acquiring weapons and having soldiers who will man the weapons. The critical aspect of intelligence gathering has faltered over and over again. All these put together explains why what happened at NDA is most likely to happen again.

Nigeria’s national security is on state of emergency and even worse. We are witnessing a gradual and complete slide into anarchy. A stitch in time saves nine.

Caleb Onyeabor is a Nigerian intellectual, an avid advocate for political justice, social justice, and economic justice. Author of Diary of a Messed Up country. Follow him on Twitter via

Disclaimer: This article is entirely the opinion of the writer and does not represent the views of NEWSIEEVENTS.

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