By Esther Atani, The Sight News
The first of the “Ember” months-September, often characterized by an increase in violence, crime and a general sense of unrest,is a harrowing time for most Nigerians and the past September was no different.
According to a Global Rights Media tracking of mass atrocities report for September 2019 released by Nigeria Mourns and made available to The Sight News, at least 260 Nigerians across 26 states and the capital lost their lives in the month of September 2019.
Violent banditry and kidnapping incidents occurred the highest in the month of September with over 25 occurrences recorded across the country. Bandits have emerged as the new bogeyman for insecurity in Nigeria, joining a long (and still growing) list that includes Boko Haram, cultists, herdsmen, kidnappers and militants.
A major highlight for September was the arrest of a serial killer who had left a trail of female victims in hotel rooms across Port Harcourt, Rivers state.
In different parts of Nigeria, banditry is used to describe different types of outlaw behaviour exhibited. In reality, banditry is a result of two underlying problems— ineffective law enforcement in Southern Nigeria, and the crisis of ungoverned spaces in Northern Nigeria.
The history of post-independence banditry in Nigeria can be traced to shortly before the civil war, when government broke down in some parts of the Western Region and there was a blurred line between political violence, crime, and organised insurgency.
Quite clearly, successive regimes in Nigeria have in different ways made efforts, mostly futile or counter-productive, to address the different kinds of banditry that they confronted.
Kidnapping for ransom has become a lucrative venture for unemployed youths, and looking closely at the factors responsible for kidnapping, one key factor that stands out is the epileptic economic situation of the country.
There was an unsettling upsurge in the number of kidnapping incidents reported and more worrisome was the tendency of kidnappers to kill their kidnap victims even after the ransom had been paid.
Another worrying trend is the increased reports of security personnel serving as accomplices to kidnappers, making these criminals harder to detect and punish.
At the heart of every violent act is need, need borne out of lack that goes unfulfilled, that is ungoverned by conscience or the patience to satiate a pressing need through approved channels.
As insecurity remains a major threat to stability, growth and development in Nigeria, there is therefore the need for security agencies to fulfil their constitutional mandate, and ensure the security and welfare of all citizens.
The presence of insecurity in any environment constitutes a threat to lives and properties, hinders business activities, and discourages local and foreign investors, all of which stifles and retards socio-economic development of a country. In Nigeria there has been a rising wave of insecurity since the country attained independence in 1960. This rising wave has not abated but has assumed a dangerous dimension which is even threatening the corporate existence of the country as one geographical entity.
Government must be proactive in dealing with security issues and threats, through modern methods of intelligence gathering, and intelligence sharing, training, logistics, motivation, and deploying advanced technology in managing security challenges.
The real panacea for solving the insecurity challenge in Nigeria is for the government to accelerate the pace of development. Development in this context consists of creating an economy with relevant social, economic and physical infrastructure for business operations and industrial growth, to provide gainful employment, high level of educational facilities, and medical care for the people.
In these attacks 212 civilians lost their lives while servicemen in the military and police force lost 48 officers with Borno state recording the highest number of casualties.