When death comes to the guard, what shall the guarded do?

By Saheed Ibrahim
The death of the former Nigeria’s Chief of Defence under the Goodluck Jonathan administration, Alex Badeh might have been considered a national loss but come to think of it, is it just a loss or a divulgence of the level of insecurity in the country. If one of the top military personnel in the country that was in charge of defence, with all his security details could be killed like a nobody, what is the fate of a common Nigerian who walks around with no formal protection except hope that God is the only protector of lives?

Badeh, a Four-Star General in the Nigerian Airforce was assassinated by unknown gunmen along the Abuja-Keffi expressway as he was returning from his farm.

Before his death, there were many allegations against him. Notable among them were his involvement in the arms deal saga and evacuation of his family from his home town, Mubi before the town was attacked and captured by Boko Haram insurgents in 2014.

Away from Badeh’s narratives, the major concern here is the safety of every Nigerian. If a Four Star General could be killed in such manner, is there any hope for a common man in this country? Many reports have revealed that the life of every resident in Nigeria is not safe but the Federal government has refused to face this reality.

Many reports and occurrences have revealed that the Nigeria police and the Nigerian Army personnel are ill-equipped and lack the needed ammunition to deal with insecurity issues and fight the insurgents in the country. The soldiers have severally lamented severe shortage of food supplies and modern weaponry, late or non-payment of salaries and general indifference to their plight by their commanders – all which sometimes led to mutiny, abandonment of the war and low morale.

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All these allegations, the Federal government continues to refute and claims the soldiers have the needed weapons until the arms deal corruption saga was blown to the pubic under Goodluck Jonathan led-administration. A revelation that shows that the lives of Nigerians and that of the soldiers mean nothing to the ruling class. Who is deceiving who? We have been fooled enough and now our eyes are clear.

The Malete attack, among many attacks on the military, has shown that the Boko Haram soldiers are more equipped and puissant than the Nigerian soldiers – if we will not deceive ourselves. According to different reports, the soldiers that were lost to the attack were over hundred; although the Nigerian army claimed they were just twenty three. The gruesome murder of the soldiers were recorded and shared on the internet, something that sends panic, fear and despair to the heart of Nigerians – both home and abroad. Few days after the attack, another military base was attacked by the insurgents, leading to the death of thirteen soldiers.

When the Chibok girls were kidnapped without any trace in 2014, we thought we had seen it all until days, weeks, months and years passed by without seeing the girls. The insurgents continued to kidnap people in their hundreds – children, men and women – and all the Federal Government usually does is to Condemn, condemn and condemn  without any  proper action to curtail the activities of these enemies within.

All over the country, we have lost count of the kidnap cases. Recently, in Ondo state, travellers along Owo-Akoko road become preys to these men of these notorious kidnappers as many of them were kidnapped and the women raped.We now sleep with one eye closed and the other opened.

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With Alex Badeh’s death, we have nothing to hide and nowhere to run to. The cat is out of the bag: we are all formidable preys of insecurity. Perhaps, our leaders had thought they would not share from the unpalatable soup they have prepared with their greedy actions. No! It is just a matter of time. The era of deceit has ended, this is reality.

Nigeria has a population of over 180million but these millions of people are guided by about370, 000 police personnel: which gives a ratio of about 486:1 (four hundred and eighty six Nigerians to one police officer). Out of these officers, 2000 of them were deployed to Borno state to fight the insurgents alongside the Nigerian army but all we heard was that some of the police officers ran away from the region – who wants to die?Likewise we hear cases of soldiers who desert the army just because the war against BokoHaram seems unending.

There is an urgent need for us to sit and understand the fact that nobody is safe in this country anymore and forge new methods to deal with the security situation in the country. The people have the role to play but the leaders have bigger roles on their shoulders. A strong political will and “unpoliticising” the fight against Boko Haram, killer-Herders, kidnapping and other security issues in the country will not only safeguard lives and property but always create an atmosphere for all and sundry to grow and develop.

Saheed B. Ibrahim is a Masters Degree student at the University of Ibadan

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