On Tuesday the 5th of July, exactly one month after the Ondo Church massacre, terrorists launched an attack on the Kuje Prison in Abuja. According to eye-witness reports, the terrorists used bombs, machine guns and grenades to free over 600 inmates, including 150 Boko Haram fighters. On Wednesday 6th of July, the Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP) claimed responsibility for the attack.
So far, reactions from government officials and security personnel have been unsurprisingly vague. No one seems to understand how terrorists could attack the prison or speak about what’s being done to find them. When asked for a timeline to expect more details about next steps to ensure that all escapees are returned back, the Minister of Defence, Maj Gen Bashir Magashi, replied “Very soon”.
The extremely lax attitude from government officials about tightening security measures has left many of us feeling hopeless and afraid for our safety. In the midst of extreme violence, religious extremism and terrorism all our politicians seem to offer us are reassuring statements. Why aren’t they alarmed? Better yet, why aren’t they doing anything?
But perhaps the most shocking statement from the terrorist attack on Kuje prison came from President Muhamuduu Buhari, yesterday evening. In a statement issued on President’s official Twitter, President Buhari revealed he was saddened by the attack and disappointed with the intelligence system. In the tweet, he goes on to ask “ how can terrorists organize, have weapons, attack a security installation and get away with it?”, showing once again the President’s knack for evading responsibility.
On a scale of ‘meh to extremely’ how worried do you think we should be if our President tweets about how he doesn’t understand a national security measure? I’m going for ‘extremely’.
2022 has seen an uptick in violence and insecurity across the nation. From the Kaduna train attack in March to Deborah Samuel being burnt alive in Sokoto in May, the future of Nigeria seems to be hanging by a very thin thread.