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EDITORIAL

Kaduna airport attack: Time to strengthen national gateways’ security

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ONLY last Saturday, the nation woke up to yet another early morning terrorist attack that sent rude shock on the polity. This time the country’s international airport in Kaduna was twice the theatre of gunmen’s orgy of bloodletting that has continued in a vicious cycle, just within six kilometer radius behind its perimeter fence. Reports said two people were cut down including a security man engaged by Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) to watch over metrological gadgets in operation during a rain of bullet triggered in the premises by over 200 bandits.

ALTHOUGH its casualty toll may no longer jolt most people, giving that even in the year yet in infancy terrorists have turned many places into killing fields where far higher number of innocent Nigerians were sent to untimely graves while life still goes on, these merchants of death certainly upped the ante in the Kaduna airport attack in many respects that nobody may continue being tone deaf to this vicious orgy and similar carnages they wreck on Nigeria in continuation of the country’s security system that is rapidly falling apart. Or how could terrorists twice attack Kaduna International Airport just within hours, occupied its runway, hijacked flight system, seized navigation equipment, disrupted flights and openly confronted troops to further inflict massive damage to national psyche before they were repelled by a joint team of Army and Air Force troops?  

NATIONAL Light condemns the attack in all ramifications and warn that such existential threat should not be repeated anywhere in Nigeria.

OF COURSE, respite is better late than never in coming. That’s why it is gratifying that the invaders were overpowered by superior land fire and airstrikes leading to 12 bandits’ death.

BUT the shock their attack dealt on the polity will continue to linger in many fearful if disincentive respects.

APART from human cost and casting eerie clouds around airports, and ipso facto forcing air travellers to shun such facilities, a shoot-out by terrorists within strategic gateways such as airport vicinity sends even worse messages on the nation’s image to the outside world. From labelling Nigeria as an unsafe country or a nation in war with itself to taking a serious hit on the country’s tourist economy, the damage is egregious by all means. And, this fear is not unfounded because if this could happen in Kaduna that is home to major military security institutions – from I Mechanised Division of Nigeria Army to Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji and Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) not excluding Nigeria Army Training Depot, Zaria or Air Force Institute of Technology and Nigerian Army School of Artillery, Kachia among other elite formations – how will anyone trust less endowed locations to be safer?

INDEED, selecting an airport for terrorist raid or invasion and allowing the invaders to go scot-free deals many more sable auguries on national economy particularly crucial econometric parameters.

THIS is why it needs restating that safety and security at the country’s gateway should be accorded top priority and nothing should be taken for granted amid resurgent daredevilry of terrorists, bandits and their criminal affiliates outside the country in their onslaught against the nation’s integrity and sovereignty. But nobody should sit on the fence because security as a collective responsibility connotes that it business of every patriotic citizens that should not be thrust to security personnel alone.

ELSE, if terrorists succeed in taking over an airport, they could one day storm a government or radio house in a coup-de-tat of sorts. This was Taliban forces began their move to successfully takeover Afghanistan last August. Nigeria might not be too far off from a similar scenario unless proactive strategies are put in place to nip offensives by insurrectionists’ elements in their buds through adequate intelligence gathering that is technology-driven.

THERE is no better time to rethink or recalibrate Nigeria’s security architecture than now as the country gets ready for another general election just next year in similar way as United States responded to the 9/11 terror attacks that exposed its security fault lines. Government needs to urgently reform Nigerian security system along any line that may be more responsive and productive with minimal error margins, whether by giving more or lesser leverages to states. A stitch in time saves nine.

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