We woke up yesterday to another gory tale. Ubakala Police Station in Abia State was said to have been razed down supposedly by unknown arsonists. Oh sorry – by unknown gunmen. Some precious people were said to have lost their irreplaceable lives. Life has never been this cheap in peacetime Nigeria.

To the Nigerian state and her policy makers, the unknown gunmen, a simplistic euphemism for IPOB, is at work again but as a concerned and educated Nigerian, there is something I can’t wrap my brain around in this whole freaking madness.

Militarily, Nigeria has never been a paper tiger. Bilaterally and multilaterally Nigerian military, reinforced by a support backbone of Nigerian Police, has always won laurels for excellent and gallantry performances in various foreign operations wether it is peacekeeping or peace enforcement.

Few years after independence when our military was still tottering, Nigeria excelled so well in arresting the drift to anarchism in the Congo that her peace enforcement commander, Aguiyi Ironsi got promoted to the rank of a general in the Congo but only to be demoted when he got home by the same Nigeria which he won laurels for.

I can’t therefore wrap my brain around the madness that Nigeria who did it in Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone etc is being daily dazed and rattled by the so-called unknown gunmen. That police formations at different command levels are caving in to intense violent attacks with little or no resistance even after months that such attacks having been following the same pattern and frequency is something that befuddles my cognitive analyses as a concerned citizen.

Our intelligence apparatus boasts of NIIA, DSS, Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI), various police intelligence bureau. Nigeria is said to have spent a whopping sum of ten trillion naira since 2015 on security. Yet, we cannot unmask and demobilize the unknown gunmen.

It was the bespectacled monster of a general, Abacha that is quoted to have said that where and when terrorism endures more than a day the government has a hand in it. I am not saying anything but pervasion of the state apparatus of life protection to an apparatus of life elimination has always been a salient but concealed feature of supine regimes in prismatic societies such as ours.

A cursory flashback on our recent history of the Abacha misadventure gives credence to this possibility. In the early 1990s when concerted pressure was on the Abacha junta to relinquish power, bomb started going up here and there. High profile assassinations became the order of the day. In a dismissive and simplistic pattern the Abacha government hastily accused NADECO just as the Buhari government is hastily accusing IPOB today as being behind the unknown gunmen. At the end what was the truth? The bombers were from the terrorist arm of the state – the Special Strike Force as peopled by the Al’ Mustaphas, Col. Omenkas, Col. Sambo, Sergt. Rochas etc. Why was Abacha bombing and terrorizing the nation? Regime survival!He was on a voyage of throwing up the excuses of insecurity to prolong and justify his clutch on power.

Looking at how events are nosediving to the cliff with our supposed leaders chasing after shadows, one would be tempted to say that the Nigerian State has always run a terrorist cell under a certain president but I will not say so but suffice it to call attention to the following historical realities:

  1. Kidnapping was first introduced into Nigeria’s crime lexicon on the 3rd of July, 1984 when Umaru Dikko was kidnapped in London on the orders of a certain military head of state. I don’t know if that presidential personality that ordered the Umaru Dikko kidnap is still on the presidential saddle today. Just figure it out yourself.
  2. Between 31st December 1983 and 27th August 1985, a certain military head of state perverted the NSO to a gestapo terrorist arm of the Nigerian state with a certain Tafindadi as the hatchet man.

I am not saying anything but suffice it to ask this simple question:

Considering the frequency and pattern of occurrence, and the vulnerability of our police force, is there something we need to be told about this unknown gunmen that the government is not telling us?

Ubani Dannie

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