Ultimately, as long as the country’s commander-in-chief is out of the country on private visits while his country burns, the likelihood that these killings will stop is only a pipe dream. You need strong leadership to lead diplomatic efforts, to improve border security, to rejig the internal security architecture, to strengthen relevant institutions…


In what has now become a frighteningly usual occurrence, the chairman of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Muhammad Abubakar and his daughter were kidnapped on the Abuja–Kaduna expressway and released days after allegedly paying a ransom of N60 million.

The huge sum paid as ransom points to a highly organised and sophisticated cartel (or kidnapping ring, for want of a better word), operating with little resistance along the Abuja–Kaduna expressway and the Rugu forest that runs from Birnin-Gwari in Kaduna, through Katsina State and ends in Zamfara State.

The bandits, by mustering the audacity to kidnap the in-law (who incidentally is also the father-in-law of the ADC to the president) of President Muhammadu Buhari just a few miles away from Daura, the president’s home town, have demonstrated, like Kenny Rogers once sang, that “if you can lie a little bit, you can lie a little bit more, and once you get away with it, it comes a little easier than it did before”.

Undoubtedly, these group of bandits have been emboldened by the humongous proceeds from their illicit acts and more so by the inability of the state to enforce restraint. These bandits, like the proverbial hunting dogs, have tasted blood and have acquired an insatiable quest for more.

While the situation in northern Nigeria is sobering, nothing in our national security strategy, nor the level of urgency in Abuja, gives any confidence that sanity will be restored. The hard truth, however, is that things will only get worse.

Why?

…while Nigeria is grappling with insurgents in the North-East, we might soon be dealing with a deadlier regional threat as ISIS continues to seek footholds in the Sahel.


Having lost territories and caliphates in Iraq and Syria, the dreaded jihadist movement now shows growing interest in Africa, and, in particular, the Sahel. It therefore wasn’t surprising that when Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, released a video footage (his first in nearly five years), he took time to congratulate Jihadists groups in Mali and Burkina Faso (both in the Sahel), and urged them to do more.

This therefore means that while Nigeria is grappling with insurgents in the North-East, we might soon be dealing with a deadlier regional threat as ISIS continues to seek footholds in the Sahel.

What is more shocking is the lack of regional or continental leadership by the Nigerian government in ensuring not just a safe and secure Sahel, but an African continent free from terrorism. While British diplomats are encouraging a smooth transition in Sudan, top Nigerian diplomats are absent, and so is the case in Libya, even though instability in these countries will lead to more insecurity in Nigeria.

Ultimately, as long as the country’s commander-in-chief is out of the country on private visits while his country burns, the likelihood that these killings will stop is only a pipe dream. You need strong leadership to lead diplomatic efforts, to improve border security, to rejig the internal security architecture, to strengthen relevant institutions and to guarantee the protection of lives and property. At the moment, this kind of leadership is non-existent in Nigeria.

Ayodele Adio, a communication strategist, writes from Lagos.