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Cheering news from Maiduguri

We have regretted the woes that afflicted Maiduguri in a number of pieces on this page recently. Maiduguri has been without electricity for the past…

We have regretted the woes that afflicted Maiduguri in a number of pieces on this page recently. Maiduguri has been without electricity for the past three months when the Boko Haram insurgents blew up the towers in the transmission line feeding the city, inflicting untold hardship on the citizens. But there are cheering news now coming out of that direction.

Last week, the MD NNPC, Mele Kolo Kyari, visited the state to commiserate with the people and seized the opportunity to give the cheering news at the Government House, Maiduguri that a dedicated gas power plant is being planned for Maiduguri. The plant, which is expected to be ready in four months, will serve the current need for power supply not only to Maiduguri but other neighbouring towns.

This is indeed the most heartening news to the citizens of Maiduguri who have been groaning helplessly under the yoke of a total blackout for the past three months with no hope of resolving the issue until this bailout by the NNPC.

Of course there are details to be unearthed yet. There are concerns on the efficacy of transporting the gas. There are doubts on meeting the deadline, if it is a wholly government project, etc. Nevertheless, when one looks at the high-level entourage of the NNPC MD comprising the Head of Gas and Power Business in the NNPC, representative of Greensville Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) and officials of the Distribution Company of Nigeria including other stakeholders in the power business, one is convinced that the issue of Maiduguri blackout is being handled with the required expedition.

We give kudos to the MD NNPC for coming to the rescue of the beleaguered city. Needless to add that this page will keep a close eye on developments.

Anarchy unleashed in the land

One would think that there has been a malevolent spirit unleashing anarchy in the land in the last few days. Or how would we explain the rash of killings targeting both our police and soldiers in a number of states spread around the country? We have already resigned to live with the atrocities daily perpetrated by the Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East, the newly arrived bandits rampaging in other parts of the North and the spate of communal upheavals in the south-west. But targeting uniformed security men, killing them, burning their offices and attempting to raid their armouries, as it’s happening in the South-East, is clearly raising the bar.

What happened in Imo State could be rationalised to its recent volatile politics, but we cannot but put it down as a reprehensible act of violence against the state. We woke up to the story, last Monday, of the audacious invasion of the police headquarters in Owerri by a determined group of hooligans who arrived at the crime scene in buses. They were armed to the teeth with sophisticated weapons and found it easy to overrun the police state headquarters. Thereafter, they went after the correctional centre and bombed their way in to free all the prisoners there. In the annals of prison breaks, this heinous episode stands out as the most insolent in modern times that happened in the country. It was also the biggest prison escapes involving over 1880 inmates.

Following hard on the heels of the Monday event, the next day, Tuesday witnessed yet an attack on another police command in Ehime Mbano a few kilometres from Owerri.  Probably the same set of armed hooligans set upon the police buildings and reduced them to rubbles. In a report carried in the Vanguard of 6/4/2021, a witness was quoted as saying: ‘The hoodlums were singing secessionists songs’. And that’s introducing a new separatists dimension to the mayhem being unleashed in that part of the country.

While all that was going on another restive situation was brewing up in Benue State. Here, it was soldiers that were ambushed and killed. Five soldiers were sent to keep the peace between warring neighbours in Konshisha and Oju Local Government Area. The soldiers were ambushed and when nothing was heard from them another set of five led by an officer was dispatched. When nothing was heard from them also, a larger contingent went after them. To the dismay of their unit, all the soldiers including the officer were found murdered. Why they were killed and who did it is being investigated but it all adds up to the crimes against uniformed security personnel that is now becoming rampant.

It is obvious that both the Police formations and the military are having their cups full. Change of baton at the top hierarchy is definitely not only the answer. These nihilistic and secessionist threats must seem to be taken as seriously as they are. The new helmsmen in both and the police and the military must patently be seen in the arena, displaying their fresh approaches and generally giving the required leadership to their troops. And our political leaders must take the bull by the horns to stave the disintegration of this country. If it means taking more men under arms, so be it. We have a large pool of retired officers and men of the armed forces, many of whom would be glad to take up arms for the nation. Besides, there is a large number of unemployed youth.