Missing Boys & Girls in Nigeria: Leadership Border Control Failure & Burdens of Poverty
In recent time, the ceaseless attacks by gunmen in Nigeria, who are known locally as “bandits,” kidnapping, raping and holding hostage hundreds of people including schoolboys and schoolgirls taken away from their hostels along with some teachers, especially the latest incident that occurred in the town of Kagara in Niger state, Nigeria, has been blamed on government’s lack of firm control over many territorial borders, as well as burdens of widespread poverty.
Speaking with Al Jazeera, Sulaiman Aledeh, a prominent Nigerian journalist and security analyst, was asked regarding his view about the northern Nigeria’s case of some missing schoolboys and similar cases and Federal Government’s reaction or active move since all these have been happening, Mr. Aledeh started off by pointing out the odd state the local government area administration is located and the difficulty of the locals gaining access to government and its security agencies for help. He also stated that there are penetrable, porous borders surrounding most parts of some regions in Nigeria.
Mr Aledeh said, “…don’t forget that in Nigeria there is total absence of local government administration which has made it very difficult for the locals to have anyone to run to, another thing here is that there is also a porous border surrounding most parts of that area.”
He further said, “If you look at what is happening internationally in places like Chad, Cameroon, especially in southern Cameroon. These countries have not been able to hold the security, military onslaught for too long to have pushed back the bandits, and because of the unmanned border positions we have seen in Nigeria, lots of people have actually come into the country in the guise of herders and of course now the name is ‘bandits'”.
“The thing here is that just a week before this happened, some travellers were kidnapped on the road and the bandits were asking for a N500m ransom. What people are saying here is that it has become a business for the bandits because governments and individuals over the time have been paying ransom to these bandits when they are being kidnapped, so it’s business for them making it so difficult for anyone to put a finger on where this is coming from.”
“No one knows the exact number of those kidnapped, but the security have moved in which is what people have been saying they should have done before now. Keep in mind this is the style they’ve been using to kidnap children from schools, so one wonders why we haven’t actually been proactive instead of reactive every time this happens.”
Asked about the intentions and the reasons why these kidnappings are being carried out, he said, ” the thing here is that poverty is one and of course lack of proper source of livelihood for the people.”
“Poverty is key here and of course the porosity of Nigeria’s border allowing infiltration into the country has also caused this, keep in mind also that the crisis in Libya which has actually given rise to arms and small weapons coming into Nigeria is also what Nigeria is dealing with at the moment.”
“So all these are on the plate for the country to handle, so we are looking at a situation whereby the new security chiefs will try as much as possible to be more proactive, change tactics and rejig what they have inherited from the last security chiefs.”