For some five years or thereabout, the security situation in the North Eastern states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Yobe and Borno was quite disgusting.
This followed the killing of leader of the supposed Islamic sect, Mohammed Yusuf by some security agencies. Of course, some statesmen, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo made some personal efforts to douse further tension, but all to no avail. Since then, it has been one tragedy or the other. While the challenge subsided in both Bauchi and Gombe, it has remained ceaseless in the three other states with innocent lives being lost in what looks like a pogrom.
The accompanying human and material loss in this dastardly act cannot be quantified, not even with the state of emergency pronounced in the affected states. The extension of this rule appears not to have changed anything.
Frustrated by this development, Borno state governor, Kassim Shettima cried out and was quoted as saying the Insurgents are having an upper hand because they are not only better motivated but sophisticatedly armed than the military trying to curtail them and their activities. Of course, he was rapped by President Goodluck Jonathan who felt the governor was not appreciative. And as a show of concern, the lower chamber called for the relocation of the Army headquarters to the battle ground and a redirection of the military strategy.
And not long after, the insurgents again demonstrated their cowardly prowess in the neighbouring Yobe when it struck in a Federal Government College, Buni Yadi in a night massacre during which they killed over 50 innocent students of the school. It was indeed the height of man’s inhumanity to man since the insurgency broke out.
For the lawmakers, this is one tragedy too many. In a very quick reaction, Senate majority leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, said the killings were designed by the sect to plunge Nigeria into a “bleak and blank future,” describing the insurgents’ action as “crossing the border of decency.”
He said: “It is obvious that we are now dealing with a bunch of animals to whom human life is now totally meaningless and worthless because when you attack students, you are attacking the foundation of the country’s future.
“So, this attack, to me, is to plunge the nation into a bleak and blank future. There would be need for us to modify our security strategy to include hot pursuit; this is permissible in international law if your neighbour is not taking concrete steps to halt these insurgents as it’s now clear that they hit us from there and go back there to hide.”
In a similar comment, the chairman, Senate committee on environment and ecology, Senator Bukola Saraki, said he was devastated by the attacks, noting that the country had recorded another monumental loss.
While calling on both the federal governments and the affected states to establish a synergy on containing the insurgency in the areas, he said: “I can’t find the right words to describe the activities of this man-made locust that continues to wipe away our communities and children needlessly.”
Expressing its worry as a body, the Senate took after its lower House when it ordered the Army Headquarters to relocate its base to the affected states. It made the resolution when the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-General Kenneth Minimah appeared for two hours before its committee on defence and army to defend its 2014 budget.
Endorsing the committee’s directive as a resolution in a two-page statement, the lawmakers asked the army chief to relocate his office temporarily to the 7th Division of Nigerian Army in Maiduguri for urgent and appropriate steps to stop further attacks in the region.
The committee also directed the Nigerian Army to re-strategise on its mode of operation in order to curb the growing insurgency in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states by mobilizing all available military resources in fighting the insurgents.