How To Stop Reckless Killing Of Army And Police Personnel- Femi Falana
Last week, the security of the nation was once again put under severe test by the dreaded boko haram sect. In separate but co-ordinated attacks by the terrorist group 55 people including soldiers, policemen, prison officials and unarmed civilians were brutally killed in Bama, Borno state. The Bama prison was attacked leading to the illegal release of 105 prisoners. In a similar tragic incident, a cult group ambushed and massacred 46 policemen in Nassarawa state. Disturbed by the reckless bllodbath the President Goodluck Jonathan cut short his State Visit to South África and returned home to take charge of the embarrassing security crisis.
Apart from condemning the barbaric attacks by the terrorist organisations and commiserating with the bereaved families of those who lost their lives President Jonathan was reported to have held an emergency meeting with the country’s security chiefs. As usual, the Federal Government has assured Nigerians and foreigners alike of the securty of life and property in the country. While joining other concerned Nigerians to console those who have lost their loved ones I am compelled to call on the Government to embark on concrete measures to halt the worsening security situation in the northern part of the country. It is inexcusable to deploy ill-trained, ill-equipped and ill-motivated soldiers and policemen to war zones armed with only AK 47 rifles without bullet proofs, serviceable vehicles, communication gadgets to fight suicide bombers with more sophisticated weapons.
It is common knowledge that security personnel buy their uniforms and kits. Those among them who are posted to the north east zone are not provided with any accommodation while salaries and allowances are irregularly paid. No life insurance is provided. Family members of those who lose their lives are not officially informed while the meagre entitlements of the deceased are never promptly paid to their dependants. For the past three years, police stations and prisons have been targets of violent attacks by terrorists but the Government has not deemed it fit to secure such falicities. Last week, in a misddirected antagonism, angry policemen brutalised hospital officials in Maiduguri as there were no sufficient facilities for the embalment of the bodies of their colleagues who had been killed by the terrorists. It is totally unacceptable that the hospitals and other medical centres in the war zone have not been upgraded. When the UN building was bombed last year many of the victims were ferried to South African hospitals for medical treatment. Even though it was a shame for the country the Government did not bother since its own officials rush abroad for medical chek up and treatment. IOwing to official negligence many victims of bomb attacks die due to lack of adequate medical attention.
In view of the foregoing, the Federal Government should stop stop shedding crocodile tears having carelessly risked the lives of soldiers and policemen who are made to fight guerilla war without any training. The Federal Government should take urgent measures to train and equip the security personnel deployed to the battle fields , purchase helicopters for aerial survey of the north east zone, upgrade medical facilities including the provision of ambulances, fortify police stations and barracks as well as prisons and other detention facilities. More importantly, the Moble Unit of the Nigeria Police Force should be retrained and equipped to contain terrorism, kidnapping, insurrection and civil disturbances so as to limit the armed forces to the defence of territorial integrity of the nation.
If the Federal Government continues to risk the lives of security personnel and expose the lives of the civilian population to danger in the war against terror Nigeria may be sanctioned by the Security Council of the United Nations in view of the ongoing investigation into the Baga invasion being conducted by the Government of an influential member of the body. Locally, the Government is also liable to be dragged to local courts to pay damages to the victims of preventable deaths arising from the negligence of the State to secure the lives of nigerian citizens.
Femi Falana SAN.
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