Have Boko Haram, bandits defied Nigeria’s military?

The Boko Haram elements, bandits, rapists and kidnappers, who all can be described as criminals and enemies of Nigeria, at least for now, appear to be released by their masters to inflict severe pains on the people and the peoples’ cries and agonies are there for all to hear and see.
The upsurge in banditry, kidnapping and bloodletting across the country, in fact, is quite frightening and worrisome. From Zamfara to Katsina, the bandits wreak havoc on helpless citizens. Many women had been made widows by the bandits and children became orphans. The bandits had injured many, destroyed houses and silos and raised the fear of hunger.

In Kaduna state, sometimes back, kidnappers have literally taken control of the Kaduna-Abuja Highway and rendered it almost impassable.
The country’s security agencies, meanwhile, look disoriented and overwhelmed by the enormous security challenges and the perpetrators of criminality and violence remain unrestrained.
Is the Nigerian state no longer capable of doing its main constitutional duty of catering for the economic welfare, and providing security to lives and property, of people within its territory?
Of course, going by the reality of the security situation in the country, people may be quickly tempted to say that the state has failed the citizens. And, on this assumption, because that’s what it is, the people could, sometimes, not be wrong as so many lives were lost, so much blood was shed and property worth billions were lost.

Yet, the reality and truth of the situation, which is unfortunate, is that contrary to the notion of many people that the state is incapable, the Nigerian state is quite capable of protecting its citizens and catering for their welfare.
This position, the Presidency, this week, has confirmed. It said that that government is up to the task of providing security for the country. In fact, the Presidency assured Nigerians that the nation’s armed forces are fully capable of dealing with the challenges of banditry and terrorism in the country.

In a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, the presidency called for more patience as the military takes appropriate steps to block gaps being exploited to unleash mayhem on innocent citizens.
Importantly, the statement said President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a joint military and police operation specifically initiated to rid Niger, Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara and Sokoto states of bandits.

It should be remembered that in order to demonstrate its capability, the government has earlier, about three weeks ago, launched what it called “Operation Accord,” all with the aim of addressing the issues of anti-state activities and protecting peoples’ lives and property.
Since then, success followed by another success is the story of the Operation Accord, under which umbrella the military has been dealing with the current security challenges.However, in spite of the efforts and gallantry of the security personnel, it’s appropriate for people to bemoan the increasing cases of banditry and kidnapping in different parts of the country, especially in recent weeks. The criminals should not be made to appear to be incapable of getting defeated. No, they must be apprehended and prosecuted and whosoever found guilty of aiding and supporting the criminal elements should be heavily sanctioned to deter others from doing the same.
Therefore, our security agencies should redouble their efforts to arrest the escalating insecurity. They should reengineer their intelligence gathering and sharing mechanisms and deal ruthlessly with the criminals.Of course, in this light, the need to adequately equip the Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies should not be underestimated so that they can tackle the insecurity in the country.  Still, when the government gets everything in place, Nigerians also need to heed Buhari’s appeal to them to be patient and supportive of the ongoing military operations in the country.

Like the president rightly said, many Nigerians are wounded and brutalised and, under such circumstance, it becomes easy and appealing to take to the streets to protest what could carelessly be termed government neglect of the people.Regrettably, such protests are capable of getting hijacked by the criminals to worsen the already dire situations. They could, as well, serve to unjustifiably distract the attention of security personnel from the ongoing military operations.Thus, what’s now needed is patience and cooperation with the security authorities. And, yes, we should not give up on the military, whose personnel have in the past proved themselves capable of managing and quelling crises within and outside the country. 

On ending violence against children…
As Nigeria joins the international community to celebrate the Day of the African Child, President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged the commitment of the federal government to protect children from sexual violence, domestic abuse and exploitation.The president called on Nigerians to celebrate the African child, who, he says, represents a better future for the continent.
“Nigeria is blessed with exceptional and remarkable children and this government is ever ready to help the Nigerian child achieve their dreams and build a better tomorrow,’’ the president said, and reiterated his administration’s resolve to give children access to quality and affordable education.
Children’s Day is an event celebrated in many places around the world. The holiday is simply set to honour children and minors. The International Children’s Day had its origin in Turkey in 1920 (April 23, 1920) and later in the World Conference for the Well-being of Children in Geneva, Switzerland in 1925.

Children’s Day was first celebrated worldwide in October 1955, under the sponsorship of International Union for Child Welfare in Geneva. The idea of a Universal Children’s Day was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1954.
In Nigeria, it is the right of every Nigerian child to be protected from sexual or physical violence and abuse, and to enjoy an environment conducive for learning and development.
Children’s Day is celebrated in Nigeria on May 27. On this day, governments host programmes, functions and events. Teachers also participate in these functions in order to show their love and affection for children.Therefore, with the day emphasising on the importance of giving love, attention and affection to children, people were not surprised this year, when the president expressed his concern with the recent spate of sexual and physical violence being perpetrated against the girl-child.
Violence against women and girls is rooted in gender-based discrimination and social norms and gender stereotypes that perpetuate such violence. Thus, the best way to end violence against women and girls is to prevent it from happening in the first place by addressing its root and structural causes.

Prevention should start early in life, by educating and working with young boys and girls promoting respectful relationships and gender equality. Working with youth is a best way to guarantee faster, sustained progress on preventing and eradicating gender-based violence, through the promotion of gender equality, girl-child rights and their enjoyment of human rights.
It also means making the home and public spaces safer for women and girls, ensuring women’s economic autonomy and security, and increasing women’s participation in public life and politics.
The government should encourage schools to work with men and boys in order to accelerate progress in preventing and ending violence against women and girls. They can then begin to challenge the deeply rooted inequalities and social norms that perpetuate men’s control and power over women and reinforce tolerance for violence against women and girls.

Awareness campaign and community mobilisation, including through mainstream and social media, is another important component of an effective prevention strategy of ending violence against the child-child.
In the end, it is the responsibility of governments to protect children and make their agencies support victims of violence and ensure that those who have infringed on their rights are punished.
This year’s Children Day commemorative activities with the theme: “Access to a Child-Friendly Justice System in Africa,” were held online due to the global COVID-19 pandemic which also forced school-age children to continue education through the electronic media.

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