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THEWILL EDITORIAL: Abuja Under Siege by Terrorists?

The Ansaru terrorists’ group,

July 31, (THEWILL) – Reports on the security situation in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja are quite disturbing. First, terrorists attacked the Kuje Correctional Centre and set free more than 879 inmates. The terrorists operated for several hours with little or no resistance from the guards at the facility, many of who had, in fact, left their duty posts a few hours before the attack.

Not less than 69 escapees were confirmed to be Boko Haram insurgents. Many have since been recaptured and security beefed up at the correctional centre.

Then, last Sunday, a terrorist attack in Bwari Local Government Area where a Federal Government College is located, prompted a statement from a panicky Federal Ministry of Education urging parents to evacuate their children from the school with immediate effect.

On the same day, terrorists ambushed a contingent of the Presidential Guards Brigade, killing two officers, Captain Samuel Attah and Lieutenant Ibrahim Suleiman, and wounding several others.

For residents of Abuja, especially those living in the suburbs, life has become one huge nightmare. The city is now notorious for being a convenient launching pad for terrorists. Viewed closely, the attacks on the Kuje correctional centre and soldiers of the Brigade of Guards, an elite defence corps, as well as the forced closure of educational institutions in the FCT, leaves one wondering if Nigeria’s administrative headquarters and seat of government is under siege by terrorists.

In context, this connotes a very bad omen for national security. The reason is that, in martial parlance, a country is considered conquered once its capital city or seat of government has been captured by enemy forces. It shows that the terrorists, hitherto confined to the suburbs, are now strong enough to invade cities.

The terrorists were even bold enough to threaten the life of the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Nigeria Armed Forces!

Although that verdict on the exposure of FCT to captivity is far from reality, it will require a stretch of the imagination to fault a likely possibility.

Sometime in 2021, Governor Mohammed Bello of Niger State, which is 120 kilometres to the FCT, cried himself hoarse alerting Abuja to the possibility of a terrorist attack because 50 communities in five out of 25 local government areas in his state had been overrun by insurgents, who had taken to imposing levies on the communities, raiding the people’s food barns and raping women with impunity. Abuja paid deaf ears.

Not too long ago, terrorists attacked the presidential convoy in Katsina, a few hours before they invaded the Kuje Correctional Centre. Again, Abuja practically did nothing, except to issue the usual general statement restating President Muhamadu Buhari’s commitment to eliminating terrorists from the country.

If the attacks on the Nigeria Defence Academy, which is Africa’s foremost military institution, and the yet-to-be-found-crashed fighter jets, is added to these accounts of attacks on hard targets, it is easy to conclude that the terrorists had done enough dress rehearsal to launch a daredevil attack anywhere in the country.

The Federal Government does not need to be reminded that one of the reasons why Nigerians voted it into office was to safeguard their lives and property from terrorists.

Still, the protection of the life and property of the citizenry is one of the constitutional directives for the existence of government in Nigeria. It is bad news that the nation’s capital city, a symbol of unity, strength and faith, has become the den of terrorists.

In all these, the principle of accountability and transparency appears to have been lost on the government. No appointed or elected official has even been held accountable for some of the lapses that have caused this dreadful situation, which has led to the killings of innocent Nigerians and the kidnapping of many others for ransom.

On this note, we call on the government to sit up and rescue Nigerians from the abyss that their country is heading to, especially as rag-tag terrorists appear to lay siege to Abuja.