The killing of Ahmed Gulak, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and a former political adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, again by “unknown gunmen”, is a clear indication of the palpable state of insecurity in the country and a signal that no one, not the mighty nor the low, is safe anymore.
Reports of killings across the country have become a daily occurrence to the point where most incidents no longer make headlines. Even more troubling is the statement by the Police, about Gulak’s failure to travel with security escorts or notify the security agencies of his travel plans; again, an acknowledgement of the crass abnormality of insecurity that has befallen the nation.
This is another instance where Nigerians would be told they require the permission of security agencies to move freely within the country, as it would be recalled that following the killing of 43 farmers in Borno State, in November 2020, the presidency had criticized the farmers for visiting their farms without obtaining “clearance” from the security agencies. What then becomes of the average Nigerian that is unable to afford the luxury (now a necessity) of a police detail? With the sporadic attacks on police formations, particularly in the southeast, it has become obvious that the safety of even the security personnel is not guaranteed.
Although the Police have announced the arrest of some suspects allegedly involved in the dastardly act, the announcement should not signify an end to the investigation on the motivation of the perpetrators, particularly as the killers were speculated to be members of IPOB, the outlawed organisation that has since denied its involvement. The police need to show publicly and convincingly what makes the killers IPOB members; and whoever they are, they should be subjected to the full rigours of the law. The incident has further tilted the balance of the fragile peace on which the nation currently stands towards a precarious brink.
While a section of the public believes the killing to be politically motivated, as suggested by the Imo State governor, Hope Uzodimma in a press conference, others have been quick to advance the theory of the southeast and northern Nigerian discord, which has prompted the Arewa Consultative Forum to issue a travel advisory, dissuading Nigerians of the northern extraction from travelling to the South-East. This is an unhealthy development that can be redressed only by bringing the perpetrators to justice.
Gulak’s murder is highly condemnable whatever may be the motive, as no Nigerian going about his lawful business deserves to be gunned down criminally for any reason whatsoever. His death should not add to the statistics of unresolved murder cases in the country, the list of which is endless, including the late Attorney General of the Federation, Bola Ige, National Vice-Chairman of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Marshall Harry, PDP Lagos State Governorship aspirant, Funsho Williams and others. These unresolved cases, particularly as they involve high political figures, continue to question the competence and or integrity of our security agencies. Nigerians need answers, and the sooner one is provided the better. It will be in assuaging the already frayed nerves of many Nigerians who have become highly disillusioned by the dismal low value to which the Nigerian life has been reduced.
More importantly, Nigerians need their government to rise to the occasion and, as expected of any government deserving of the name, address the spate of insecurity across the nation. Nigeria is on the brink of a descent into a state of anarchy and the government is already late, but not too late, in taking the right measures to address the situation. The people have had enough of the talking without acting.
Stakeholders are all in agreement that the current security architecture has failed to address the nation’s security challenges and have propounded the decentralization of the Police Force to better aid community policing. Granted that the constitutional review process is on its way, Nigerians are worried about the true intent of the political elite who from experience have only stood to serve its own selfish interest at the expense of the common man. It is in the interest of the country that the exercise will not become unduly politicized to the extent of losing its true aims and objectives.
The international community is watching and the country’s leadership needs to demonstrate that it can secure the lives and property of citizens, and that government is capable of handling the country’s domestic issues as they arise. Security agencies have been the centre of focus for a while now and this is an opportunity for them to redeem an already battered image by employing international best practices in unravelling some of these matters. At a time like this when the country’s economy is tottering on all fronts, government more than ever needs to assure foreign investors of the safety of their lives and investment.
While Nigerians have not had the best of services from its security agencies, they must however realise that security is the job of every citizen, and as such, all must work to assist the security agencies, given their limited resources. People should promptly report all criminal elements in their midst to the relevant security agencies for appropriate action.