After an attack that left well over a hundred people dead in Yobe and Borno States last week, the American Embassy in Nigeria issued a warning about impending terror attacks from the Boko Haram Islamist sect, especially during the Eid el Kabir celebrations. Hotels in the Federal Capital Territory were named as specific targets. The National Security Adviser, Andrew Azazi was however quick to chide the Americans. In Azazi’s opinion, Nigerians had nothing to worry about as he said “the U.S. statement is eliciting unhealthy public anxiety and generating avoidable tension, the Nigerian government wants to advise members of the public that it will continue to ensure security of lives and property under its jurisdiction.”
If the dastardly acts of terror, especially suicide bombings which were hitherto alien to Nigeria are found dreadful by Nigerians, people find it more atrocious that the Government elected by Nigerians has not been able to do much about them. Why Nigeria’s security chiefs still have their jobs is something many Nigerians are wondering about.
Between January 2011 and now, records show that the Boko Haram sect has been linked with attacks that have killed not less than 425 people.
But since it is known that no one can give what he does not have, Nigerians have taken a cue from the Federal Government.
In late September, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) issued a warning that it would disrupt Nigeria’s independent celebrations, and that bombs would be planted in the Eagle Square. The Government quickly changed gear and opted for “low keyed celebrations”. All activities marking the 51st independence anniversary were marked within the confines of the Aso Rock Villa. The high point was the parade and change of guard right in front of the President’s office.
Nigerians know who to believe when it comes to warnings, especially those concerning terror attacks. Visits to the places mentioned as likely targets showed that it was not business as usual as there was a drastic reduction in the population of people seen there.
The Government needs to restore the confidence the people reposed in it in time past. Saying that the confidence has been lost is like stating an already obvious fact. With the challenges from the power, security and other sectors still unresolved, the Government is talking about the removal of fuel subsidy. Presently, every household is responsible for its own generation of power and water. The dependence on government for security is even far less.
The Nigerian Government needs to wake up to its responsibilities. We need more than “luck” to get Nigeria back to its position of pride.