Monday, April 10, 2017


11th April, 2017

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on Friday appraised the ongoing face-lifting exercise at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and confirmed that 80% of the refurbishing has been done.

Meanwhile security agents virtually line up the road between Kaduna Airport and Kaduna town as police vans are stationed almost at every kilometer thus making the road absolutely impregnable. Added to this is the unassailable rail and road transportation network put in place to move travelers from Kaduna to Abuja. Battle-ready and fierce looking security agents and their vehicles can be seen every ten kilometers of the road while surveillance helicopters hover in the air.

To date, there has not been a single incident of robbery or kidnapping along Kaduna-Abuja road since the commencement of this security arrangement. It will be recalled that this same route was notorious for its lack of safety. It was a den of robbers and kidnappers.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) commends the Federal Government (FG) for the water-tight security network which is now in place in that axis. It is simply fantastic and sophisticated. Yet we are constrained to describe it as cosmetic, bourgeois and a window-dressing rehearsal at best.

We must ask FG some pertinent questions. Why did it take FG so long to wake up to its responsibility? Is this security arrangement real or cosmetic? Is it for every rich or poor citizen or for the capitalist compradour bourgeoisie? Does any poor Nigerian travel by air within the country? Are we going to see more of this even in other parts of the country or is it a case of ‘the more you look the less you see’?

MURIC commends the Inspector General of Police and the heads of other security agencies for the civilized manner their men treated travelers along the Kaduna-Abuja road during this period. No vehicle was stopped on the highway. No motorist was asked to show his or her particulars. Every traveler was given red carpet treatment.

This has prompted us to ask: are these security agents who line up the Kaduna-Abuja route Nigerians or are they seconded to the country from one of the advanced democracies of Europe and the Americas? Or are they aliens from other planets?

The Nigerian system is fraudulent, exclusive and deceptive. Why did we allow robberies and kidnappings on our roads when our security agents are capable of making this type of arrangement? The basic responsibility of government is to ensure the safety of lives and properties but the reverse is the case in Nigeria. We are stupefied that this massive security network can be put together in a matter of days.

We know it is all in the interest of the rich and powerful. It is in the interest of the ministers, senators and lawmakers who cannot land their jets in Abuja while the repair work is still on. We are not deceived. How many poor Nigerians travel by air?

A state governor was recently reported to have more than 200 policemen around him alone. Some senators parade more than ten or fifteen policemen. That is why the poor man has no policeman to protect him. The IG should tell us how many senators have been kidnapped. How many lawmakers have been subjected to trauma by hoodlums?

The answer is ‘none’ simply because some powerful but selfish people have arrogated to themselves the limited number of policemen that are available. They have perfected the theory of the hegemony of the Nigerian political class by compartmentalizing Nigerians into ‘those who should be protected’ and ‘those who should not be protected’. Who allowed such frivolous luxury at the expense of the rest of us? Why should so many policemen surround a tiny cabal? Is it because they are powerful politicians? But should the rest of us continue to live in fear, abandoned to our fate?

Nigeria had 310,177 policemen with about 33,000 in the Department of State Security before Buhari came on board. Mr. President found this inadequate and an additional 10,000 policemen were recruited. This is commendable but it still falls short of the United Nation’s recommendation of a minimum of one policeman to every 448 citizens (police/citizen ratio 1.448).

With our current population of 193 million citizens as at January 2017, Nigeria has fallen below the 2007 rating of police/country population ratio of 1.538. Buhari’s target must be this global best practice of ratio 1.448. Nigeria needs to add at least another 100,000 policemen before the end of 2018 if we are going to take security very seriously. Buhari must ensure that this becomes a fait accompli.

MURIC charges President Muhammadu Buhari to allow the change mantra to manifest in the area of security. Nigeria’s security is presently for the rich and powerful. The poor are helpless. They are not safe. They are denied protection. They are denied justice. They are attacked by robbers in their homes and kidnapped when they dare to go outside. They are harassed by security agents on the roads. Buhari must put a stop to this.

Finally, we demand a replica (or something akin to it) of the Kaduna-Abuja route security scenario everywhere in Nigeria. Mr. President must direct the IG to withdraw excess policemen from governors, senators, lawmakers and the rest of our oppressors who have turned the poor into ordinary human shields. We the poor people of this great country wish to feel the impact of Buhari’s change in the area of security. We are not safe until this happens. Who feels it knows it.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

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