About a month to the Chrismas festival we wake up to learn about attacks at airforce base by Boko Haram fighters in Maiduguri. Few weeks later, precisely a week to the Xmas D-Day another bombshell was dropped when another group of insurgents attacked another military base in Borno.
By Fatima Goni
The bad news was indeed scary. Scary on what might happen on Xmas Day itself when we recall past incidences where suicide bombers detonated explosives at religious centres during festivities.
While anticipating more deadly attacks from the suspected terrorists, the good tidings was broken at the eve of the Xmas Day by the Director Defence Information, Major General Olukolade that the terrorists had suffered loses as the military tracked and killed the insurgents who attacked the army barracks.
The military spokesperson was emphatic that the military operations to track insurgents who had carried out the pre-dawn attacks on Mohammed Kur Barracks, Bama, had led to the destruction of over 20 vehicles conveying escaping terrorists. The vehicles were the ones used during the attack on the barracks and were sited through air surveillance as the terrorists were making efforts to cross the borders back to their haven in Cameroun.
Although a good number of the insurgents escaped with bullet wounds while some had been arrested while over 50 of them died in the course of exchange of fire with ground troops in the ongoing operations to apprehend fleeing terrorists.
While there were media report over alleged abduction of wives of military personnel by Boko Haram, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno on a visit to Abuja told the media that that the affected women kidnapped by the Boko Haram sect in Bama, Borno State, had escaped from their captives.
He said: “Three women were kidnapped and luckily they escaped. So Boko Haram is not holding unto the women and kids as at the moment.”
While development were unfolding, just before the Xmas day, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed D. Abubakar reassured Nigerians that the Police had set in motion comprehensive operational strategies to boost security effectively during this year’s Christmas season and beyond.
In a statement issued by the Police spokesperson Frank Mba, it disclosed that all the strike Forces and specialized units of the Force, including the Police Mobile Force (Mopol), Counter Terrorism Unit, Special Protection Unit, Federal Highway Patrol and Explosive Ordinance Department have been adequately mobilized to join forces with the conventional Police Force in providing water-tight security.
The statement further disclosed “that covert operations, round-the-clock surveillance, and robust vehicular patrols are being intensified, while particular attention is now constantly paid to strategic public places, including places of worship, recreation centres, shopping malls, business plazas, motor parks, strategic highways, government installations and other important locations so as to forestall any possible criminal activity and guarantee the safety of the citizenry.”
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) also mobilised other stakeholders and state governments in a bid to efficiently manage disasters in the event of any emergency in Nigeria during the Yuletide.
While the assurances were being made, the sceptics continued to doubt the sincerity of security agencies to tackle likely security breaches during the religious festival.
It was therefore positive development that on Christmas Day there was never a report of insurgent attacks or suicide bombing or explosions during the festivity. Surprisingly to the amazement of most of us, our security men have indeed proved cynics wrong that they can actually put trouble-shooters in check.
Gladly, the story became entirely different and heart-warming as no single case of security breach was reported in any part of the country during the Xmas celebration. This is indeed a welcome development. If not for the efforts of the hardworking security personnel the State House Abuja could have been overrun considering the daring exploit of the Boko Haram in the past attacks in various states in Nigeria including Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi, Gombe, Kogi, Niger, Sokoto and Abuja. The attacks on United Nation House, the Police Force Headquarters, religious centres, and recreational centres among others are gory tales of the past as the activities of Boko Haram have now been confined to bordering towns to Cameroon.
The media and the public should continue to encourage and support our security in their war on terror by promoting peace, national security and political stability. While terrorism and insurgency remain a global challenge and a source of continuing concern in some countries, Nigeria has done comparatively better with remarkable progress in reducing the incidence of terrorist attacks within its borders to a reasonable level. The military have done so much to reverse the tide of terrorism
Security agencies should also continue to build on the successes they have achieved so far against terrorists and their sponsors.
With the recent security success recorded during the recent Chrismas Celebration, indications are that our security have not only lived up to expectation, but have displayed their readiness to secure the lives of its people using everything at their disposal.
While calling on government to continue to match its words with actions, to see to the end of insurgency in the country, Nigerians equally have vital roles to play in this regards. It is on this note that I wish to enjoin Nigerians, irrespective of tribe, religion, political or ideological persuasion to support genuine efforts aimed at making Nigeria a peaceful place for everyone, including foreigners. The task of building the Nigeria of our collective dreams and aspirations is for all Nigerians and solely that of those in authority.
Happy Chrismas and New Year to everyone
Fatima Goni, Kofar Dukawuya, Kano City, [email protected]