I am deeply troubled

Not a week goes by in Nigeria without one reading, or hearing, about one terrorist attack in one part of the country or another. From the mass slaughter of police officers in Maiduguri to the recent attempt at desttroying the local UN building, followed by more killings of innocent Nigerians in Jos, and other parts of Northern Nigeria (with threats to spread the mayhem to other parts of the country); one is constrained to ask this simple question: when does the Jonathan administration expect to recognize the severity of this terrorist cancer that is fast spreading in the Nigerian society?

I have always wondered how any Nigerian government, civilian or military, would handle a real crisis situation; now I know. Nigeria has a major crisis in her hands and the government, at various levels, is busy burying its head in the sand; blaming unemployment, lack of education, and lack of basic social services for the reason terrorist organizations - referrred to as miscreants by government officials - are gaining a foothold in Nigeria. Are they really unemployed and uneducated? I doubt. They can afford to purchase bomb-making materials; put these material together to make bombs powerful enough to bring down the police headquarters building, and co-ordinate their plans so secretly perfect that our bloated and, appparently, inexperienced SSS could not stop them prior to their committing these dastardy acts. And they are uneducated and unemployed miscreants! If you believe that, you also believe in the tooth fairy!

The truth is that Nigerian governments have never had any contingency plans to tackle terrorist organizations, even after 9/11 when the rest of the world sat up and took note. Yes, security agencies exist, and budgetary allocations are made to these agencies every fiscal year; unfortunately, these allocations are neither applied to training nor purchase of required equipments to track down would-be terrorists and stop them before they act. Instead, these allocations are shared and pocketed by heads of these security agencies and their cohorts who believe that a wink and a prayer will keep Nigerians safe from terrorists. The genie is now out of the bottle, and everyone is profferring ridiculous excuses and reasons why Nigeria is under siege, when the truth is that the government, and the governed, never thought this day will come. Well, it is here.

The solution is not in throwing the military at Boko Haram; it is not in sending the police to Maiduguri to be slaughtered like Salah rams, and it appears it is not in an Aso Villa that is still wondering what the heck is happening. Unfortunately, it is not in building schools or creating fly-by-night employment programs in the North; it is not in dialogue with the leaders of the terror group or the emirs and governors, who long ignored -and still does - their responsibilities to the governed.

No! there are no quick solutions to what is happening in Nigeria today, because previous and current governments never envisioned it. The only option is for government to request external assistance in tackling this problem, while committing human and material resources to preventing a future occurence. This will require a lot of financial sacrifice heads of our national security agencies may be unwilling to make.

Remember, yesterday it was MEND; today, it is BOKO Haram, and tomorrow, it might be MASSOB, or some other group.


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