The attack by yet to be verified gunmen on security facilities in Imo State at the beginning of the week has underscored the crisis of Nigeria’s insecurity. Armed bandits in large numbers unverifiably sighted as numbering near 100, attacked the Imo State Headquarters of the Nigeria Police, setting parts of it on fire, burning down vehicles and destroying security infrastructure. The armed gunmen also attacked the Nigerian Correctional Service facility in the State, releasing all of the 1,884 inmates of the facility and setting the building on fire. For the several hours that these facilities were attacked, the gunmen appeared unrestrained and there was no counter force to repel them. It would appear that Nigeria’s security crisis continues to deepen, with the report of bandits targeting security facilities and decimating them.
Several other incidents of insecurity have been reported in the country. At least 15 persons were killed by gunmen in communities in Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, in the dead of the night on Monday, March 29. The situation raises serious concerns, as security agencies still grapple with identifying the assailants. These incidents are indicative of a rapid rise of several criminal groups across the country and require prompt action on the part of the government at all levels, to prevent the situation from escalating any further. Nigeria’s devastating economic situation, unprecedented levels of unemployment and poverty under the Buhari administration, coupled with agitations by groups across the country are all critical factors to examine when addressing the root causes of insecurity.
Last week, Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor assured that the military would be deploying lethal force in the fight against insurgency and banditry. Also, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, who expressed concern over Nigeria’s deteriorating security situation, urged the Nigerian government to be precise about the efforts the United Kingdom can offer with regard to combating insecurity.