Highways Of Horror

Jomecblog2022/01/28 20:05

Nigerian highways of terror have recently become a nightmare for many road users. At several locations, passengers are vulnerable to violent attacks by armed men. Several road users were killed and several were abducted, which in 2021 has intensified in recent times. Even railway operations have not been left out in light of the threat of armed men. Dozens of passengers were killed, injured or abducted when robbers opened or opens fire on passengers, as might be the case on Monday, December 13, 2021. In recent months, interstate highways have been vulnerable to attacks by armed men. Many road users who can afford airline tickets give up traveling for fear of attack. However, millions of unfunded Nigerians are stuck on dangerous roads prone to bandit attacks, indiscriminate ransom kidnappings and wanton killings.


Terrible highways reflect the cascading insecurity of Nigeria. Terror on Nigerian roads reflects the vulnerability of road users to terror. From vulnerable rural communities to forests of violence to insecurity on waterways to highways of horror, the lives and livelihoods of many Nigerians are threatened by terror. Reports of safety deployments and checkpoints on motorways have not ended the attacks encountered by road users. Indeed, security operations in violent hotspots can encourage the migration of armed groups. According to recent reports and revelations, the robbers who attacked the passengers on Monday, December 13, 2021, moved into the woods near the Kaduna-Zaria double carriage. Recall the ongoing combat action against bandits in the northwest and north central zone, including the shutdown of mobile communications at several locations across the area. Despite these measures, the violence of bandits seems endless, and peace in hotspots, a long way to go.


Nigeria must be safe for Nigerians. There is a need to increase security measures to meet current security needs. Every day, dozens are killed, maimed, abducted or displaced due to growing terror. The Nigerian government must fulfill its social contract to secure lives and livelihoods. There is a slippery slope that continued terror against helpless citizens may raise the need for an instrument of violence, which should be exclusively in power. Self-defense militia groups are already responding to violent clashes in various places in Nigeria. This trend can undermine formal security measures. Therefore, Nigerian security operatives need to be strengthened to manage these complications.


Maintaining its statehood implies the protection of its diminishing ‘monopoly’ of violence. The Nigerian government needs to address the proliferation of small arms and light weapons. In 2013, representatives of the member states of the African Union gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and adopted "Silencing weapons in Africa by 2020." Eight years later and counting, the conflicts on the African continent are still growing. From Burkina Faso to Burundi-Rwanda, Gambia, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Mozambique, violent conflicts are raging. The ongoing violence in the Sahel is another difficult challenge for the continent and its development partners. The Boko-Haram uprising, which began in northeastern Nigeria, has spread to Chad, Niger and Cameroon. The violence of bandits, kidnappers and unknown armed people seems to be endless all over Nigeria. Securing weapons in Africa, especially in Nigeria, has become increasingly difficult. Therefore, the government must investigate the urge to access weapons as a necessity for survival or as a means of carrying out publicly undesirable activities.


Existing combat responses to insecurity in Nigeria also need to be reviewed. Genuine efforts to assess security operations and crisis responses will help inform innovative approaches and reshape existing frameworks. The Nigerian government must seek local and international support to manage the wave of violence. In addition, the wave of uncertainty requires multi-layered and multi-sectoral responses. On the one hand, proactive security operations, early warning mechanisms, community engagement to increase cooperation will help alleviate growing violence. On the other hand, institutional capacity building and inter-agency cooperation will help security agencies respond more effectively to the wave of terror. Furthermore, Nigeria’s response to insecurity must be strategic and robust in order to achieve sustainable peace.


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