29th December, 2011
The admission by the National Security Adviser, NSA, General Andrew Azazi, that it was absolutely difficult to man every point when there are security problems in the country may not be absolutely true.
The bombing on Christmas day of St. Theresaâ€™s Catholic Church, Madalla, Niger State, in which over 35 people died in the twin blasts was a meticulously planned job, and intelligence should have nipped the plan in the bud.
As usual, the NSA told newsmen that they were working to ensure they are ahead of the situation, and that there was need for security awareness, a need for public participation and cooperation between security men and the society to enable them make progress. All very good, but we believe that a more proactive approach is required to stem the tide of bombings.
The approach of our security agencies, especially the police, to intelligence reports, have been quite annoying. These same terrorists had, a few months ago, killed about five people in Madalla, a report which we believe was suppressed for whatever reasons by the authorities.
For these misguided individuals to strike twice in one place in a matter of months shows that the concerned authorities are negligent in the course of their duties. It shows that they have refused to do their jobs, and that they may not even be ready to tackle the Boko Haram problem for whatever reason, a situation which may snowball into something we never thought of.
It seems the rest of the world are more concerned about the problem, considering the way they have reacted to the Boko Haram bombings. According to reliable reports, a December report by the United States Congress said Boko Haram has morphed from a group of homegrown criminals into worldly terrorists with capability to forge international links.
The danger keeps growing as countries like France, the United Kingdom and the USA are stepping up assistance to Nigeria in areas like explosives forensic and intelligence gathering, but the countryâ€™s approach to the problem seems lacklustre, to say the least.
We must not forget that the problems that decimated Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan and others began just like this. Our thirty-month civil war and the death of millions of Nigerians should always be at the back of our minds; and with good reason too, considering the reaction of Christian leaders and opinion leaders in southern Nigeria.
While some have urged Christians to defend themselves, others have not been so blunt but have promised reprisal attacks if churches continued to be the targets of these senseless bombings.
Our security agencies must do more than they are currently doing to stem this ugly trend before it engulfs and throws us into another senseless orgy of violence.
Tempers are rising and the atmosphere is tense, and each day the situation worsens.
Nobody really understands what the aggressors want but if it is not a problem between the poor and their northern leaders, then it is between Christians and Moslems or worst case scenario: something between the northerners and southerners â€”a real grave situation.
Whatever approach the security agencies have adopted, we believe they can do better and get to the root of this violence being visited on innocent Nigerians, but which many Nigerians believe is being handled with kid gloves by those in authority.
Some of the leaders of this violent group are well known but we wonder why nothing is being done to bring them to book or why those who were brought to book got just a slap on the wrist. This problem needs to be handled better before it plunges us into another senseless war.