Just before bombs went off in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, terrorists invaded a popular resort, the Kajuru Castle in Kaduna State on Good Friday, 19th April, kidnapping tourists and killing two other people in the fracas.
The event was not only a tragedy but also an embarrassment as one of the victims was a British lady, Faye Mooney, while the other was Nigerian, Mathew Oguche. They were said to be partners and were just in the country as part of their humanitarian aid work.
Not only will Nigeria as a whole have to deal with knotty diplomatic correspondence explaining it’s role in the laxity which allowed a British citizen get killed on Nigerian soil, the nation at large stand the risk of loosing tourist revenue as the British and American governments/embassies raise the red alert to warn their citizens to steer clear of travelling to Nigeria.
Aside the intrinsic benefit which adequate security provides for the citizens of any host nation, there are no longer any qualms that Nigeria is loosing tourist revenue to flashes of violence as well as to well organised crimes perpetrated by unscrupulous elements.
For some time now, marauders who seem to be gunning calculatedly for natural resources, land grab or ransoms, have been raiding villages and settlements in the north for months. Strangely enough, the federal government thought it may not be important enough to deploy trained policemen and soldiers to quickly rat out these criminals. In fact, it took a group of protesters, in a widely publicised demonstration, to get the federal government to release a statement on action. Despite half-hearted effort to make the Abuja-Kaduna highway safer, citizens are still not yet convinced that kidnappings have been curtailed on that high-traffic route.
Two weeks ago, the entire cabinet and the President of Mali resigned over their inability to provide adequate security and for allowing the careless murder of over 100 Fulanis of Malian origin by terrorists and marauders. This is how leaders should be held accountable for security lapses.
An entrepreneur and ex-CEO of Socketworks Technologies, Dr. Aloy Chife, also weighed in on how insecurity made him abandon his retirement plan to site hundreds of hectares of farm in Nigeria. Instead, he set up his mega-farm in Ghana.
Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, once estimated that the economic impact of Boko Haram activities alone in the North East has cost the country N274.5 billion while the loss of agricultural production is put at N107 billion. In the same vein, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, submits that the federal government and the six North-East states spends an average of $3.2bn per annum on security interventions. This amount is equivalent to about 8% of combined spending by the federal and state governments in the country. This is not ideal as it is too wasteful and non-strategic for a nation like Nigeria which needs all the money it can get to survive the weight of its population.
Spending so much on security while reports of kidnappings, raids and killings are still being reported consistently is not a sustainable objective. Nigerians can no longer tolerate the burden of fear; citizens can no longer regard as normal the lackadaisical attitude of the leaders who should take their primary work of securing the lives of citizens more seriously. The country can no longer bear the weight of economic losses as well as that of human lives lost due to increasing insecurity.
It is high time the president took responsibility by restrategizing the nation’s security and replacing security chiefs where necessary.
Featured image source: Pulse.ng