The Journal Nigeria

Saturday, 2nd March 2024
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Nigerian economy

Nigeria has continued to witness the deadliest killings, as reports suggest that armed non-state actors have killed over 200 people in recent attacks.

Several illegal armed groups, ethnic militia groups, religious fundamentalists and fanatics are evidence of insecurity in Nigeria, and their atrocities have given rise to series of bombings, murder, arson, armed robbery, corruption, injustices.

Killings are rife, while kidnappings for ransom have become increasingly common in Niger, Bornu, Zamfara, Plateau, Kebbi, Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna, Plateau, Akwa Ibom, Ondo, Imo, Anambra States.

The Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) Boko Haram armed group often claims responsibility for the killing, including the recent Kaduna railway attack where some Nigerians were killed and others injured or abducted.

Boko Haram and ISWAP have killed, abducted and looted on a massive scale while fighting against the Nigerian military.

A counter insurgency expert, Zagazola Makama, stated recently on April 19, 2022, in Maiduguri that Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists have clashed, resulting in the killing of two commanders and 32 fighters in Sambisa Forest of Borno State.

He said that the invasion led to a heavy gun battle, which lasted for over two hours and claimed many lives.

In the South-east, the damaging effects of the Indigenous People of Biafra’s (IPOB) frequent sit-at-home order, both ‘legal’ and ‘illegal,’ are becoming worrisome and have a negative impact on the economy, social, education and other sectors, especially whenever the court case of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, comes up.

Though IPOB has announced the suspension of the weekly Monday sit-at-home order, it is still going on. It has prompted many to change their minds about the Biafra cause.

A prominent Igbo leader and elder statesman, Chief Mbazulike Amechi, who has always stood by IPOB, said it appears that some persons are making money from Kanu’s plight.

Former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, and the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, who is also the chairman of the State Council of Traditional Rulers, have lamented that some non-state actors have been giving orders stopping people from working, going to school as well as  writing critical examinations.

The weekly Monday sit-at-home has gone out of the control of IPOB leadership, the group has called on South-east governors to deal decisively with those still enforcing the Monday sit-at-home order. The governors seem at a loss for what to do, as those perpetuating the mayhem are faceless.

Traders and businessmen are counting their losses, as their colleagues in other zones are celebrating what they are losing due to the sit-at-home order. Consumers have moved to Lagos and abandoned Onitsha, Aba and Nnewi.

Pundits are constrained to believe that every armed robber in the South-east is now a freedom fighter in Igboland, as there is a great proliferation of firearms in the region.

Recall that Governor Soludo of Anambra State, at his inauguration on March 17, offered the olive branch to the separatist groups and unknown gunmen to make peace with them.

Soludo later set up a 15-member committee headed by Dr. Chidi Odinkalu to find a way of making peace with the agitators.

The committee is yet to begin its work, but the attacks and killings have continued in Anambra State. Gunmen had also set ablaze the headquarters of Soludo’s local government, Aguata.

The IPOB spokesman, Emma Powerful, described those still enforcing the Monday sit-at-home order as criminals and urged the South-east governors to deal with them as such.

“We have explained several times that IPOB has not authorized anybody to enforce Monday sit-at-home, which has been suspended since August 19, 2021. Anybody unleashing terror on innocent citizens under the guise of enforcing sit-at-home order is a criminal and does not deserve pity.

“Those shooting sporadically in the market are criminals and bandits using the name of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu and ESN to humiliate our people and demonize the movement. Their aim is to give the Federal Government an excuse to hold our leader perpetually in detention,” Emma Powerful said in a statement.

In Imo State, there have been incessant killings of security personals at police stations. Owerri Correctional Centre and headquarters of Imo State Police Command, Independent Electoral Commission Offices were touched, while the country home of Governor Hope Uzodinma was bombed and security men on duty were killed.

The Commander of Eastern Security Network (ESN), an outfit facilitated by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPoB), and six members of the outfit were killed during a shootout with security forces in the state.

They were also alleged to have carried out a series of calculated, violent attacks on security personnel and formations in the South-east and South-south regions.

In another statement signed by Emma Powerful, IPOB Media and Publicity Secretary, the separatist group said the governor, Hope Uzodinma, decided to kill Ikonso “because he refused his offer to head Ebebe Agu ghost security outfit formed by South-east governors.”

“Contrary to claims by the cowardly security forces who flee from terrorists but kill innocent citizens, they were not able to penetrate into the camp of Eastern Security Network, ESN. They only ambushed Ikonso but we promised them hell for this cowardly act!” Emma Powerful added.

Some illegal refineries have also risen in the region, between the southern oil states of Rivers and Imo which resulted in an explosion that killed at least 109 people, according to the police.

Kidnapping has also become a profitable venture among youths in Nigeria, as this criminal practice started in the form of hostage taking in the Niger-Delta region of the country. This was their clarion call to the attention of the government to the marginalization of the region.

This has seemingly become a variant of armed robbery with a high level of expertise in abducting people from their homes, students from schools and passengers while travelling in commercial vehicles for ransom.

Kidnapping has now remained a lucrative business and continues to spread to other parts of the country. Previously jobless youths that were recruited by political godfathers to cause chaos, steal ballot boxes, and even kidnap viable political members from opposing parties have now taken up kidnapping as a full-time business.

Another trending aspect is kidnapping for ritual which involves killing or severing the body parts of abducted persons for the purpose of using it as an object of ritual sacrifice aimed to acquire ritual money, favour, fame, success, power and protection

Ritual and spiritual penchant are also identified as the factors responsible for the incidence of kidnapping, as people are embarking in “get rich quick syndrome” against the societal value of hard work.

The fight against the insurgency appears to be a hard nut to crack because there seems to be a fifth columnist in the security apparatus fighting the insurgents. For instance,Major-General Mohammed was targeted and killed by the soldiers who blamed him for the deaths of their colleagues.

A court martial in Abuja has sentenced the 12 soldiers to death by firing squad for mutiny in 2014

The condemned soldiers are Cpl. Jasper Braidolor, Cpl. David Musa, Lance Cpl. Friday Onun, Lance Cpl. Yusuf Shuaibu, Lance Cpl. Igomu Emmanuel and Pte. Andrew Ngbede.

The others are Pte. Nurudeen Ahmed, Pte. Ifeanyi Alukhagbe, Pte. Alao Samuel, Pte. Amadi Chukwudi, Pte. Allan Linus and Lance Cpl. Stephen Clement.

The military are losing their personnel to the insurgents because there are fifth columnists who are fielding them with the troops’ operations and movements.

Lance Corporal Jibrin, an instructor with the Nigerian Army battalion in Geidam, Yobe State, was arrested for working with Boko Haram recently.

Lance Corporal Jibrin took his life after he was arrested for allegedly conniving with Boko Haram insurgents who attacked Yobe communities recently.

Jibrin, who disappeared from his duty post a few days ago, was said to have been sighted among the Boko Haram terrorists that attacked Geidam town.

Military sources said the soldier was tracked by an army intelligence unit and was found in Gashua, some hundreds of kilometers from his duty post.

“The Army authorities in Gashua were intimated and Jibrin was nabbed at a checkpoint after he boarded a bus to Gombe and disguised himself as a civilian.

“He was handcuffed and on interrogation he revealed a lot which led to the arrest of some of his collaborators.

“On transit to Geidam, he snatched a gun from one of his escorts, overpowered the other and shot himself,” Military sources said.

Army spokesman headquarters of sector II operation Hadinkai Damaturu, Lt Kennedy Anyewau, also confirmed the incident.

But an officer who pleaded anonymity gave more details about the incident.

“It is true that Jibrin was arrested and he later killed himself, he was a very skillful soldier, he was part of us and upon realizing that his moves became suspicious he disappeared.

“No wonder the last Boko Haram operation in Geidam shocked all of us because we had prepared for them but they took us unawares by using a new strategy different from what they are known for, they sneaked into the town silently without vehicle, and no sound of gunshot was heard.

“We suspected that they must have informants from within and after a beam light was set out the question mark falls on Jibrin,” the source added.

The military need to beam their search light on its personnel in the war theater, as many have become sold out to the insurgence cause and fielding them with military information. Thus, it appears that the insurgents are gaining the upper hand and seem invisible after their illegal operations.

For the South-east, those agitating for Biafra should know that they have shot themselves in the foot because a once peaceful region has become a theater of killings, arson, and has been set backward economically.

The weekly Monday sit-at-home order has now become an anthem that even the state governments have not been able to reverse, while the economic live wire of the region has nosedived. There is a need for the state governors to put their right foot forward to checkmate the activities of IPOB because there cannot be an ‘illegal government’ within a government.