After more than a decade during which terrorists have pounded many states around the country, including those just a stone throw from Abuja, Nigeria`s capital city, it appears the terrorists have decided to march on Abuja.
This development is set to test the resilience of every thread that has held the country together since 1914.
A tightening noose
On March 28, 2022, terror leapt into a train travelling from Abuja to Kaduna. Nine passengers died of gunshot wounds while more than six dozen others were abducted. An entire country was left shell-shocked by the nature of the attack.
On July 5,2022, the Medium Security Custodial facililty in Kuje was attacked by terrorists who later identified themselves as belonging to the Boko Haram terrorist group. When the dust settled, hundreds of some of Nigeria`s most dangerous criminals were loosened upon the country, including some64 Boko Haram terrorists.
On Sunday May 24 2022, an attempted attack by armed bandits on the Nigerian Law School in Bwari, Abuja was foiled. But this was not before about three soldiers succumbed to wounds sustained from bullets fired by terrorists.
On July 25,2022following intelligence reports that terrorists were finalizing plans to attack schools within Abuja, the Federal Government ordered the immediate closure of schools. In public secondary schools within the FCT, exams were hurriedly concluded and schools forced to embark on early holiday.
Like pangs, the horrendous memories of the Nyanya bombings of 2014 which killed about 88 people and injured about 200 others are coming upon residents of Abuja.
Note must also have been made that in Niger State which borders Abuja, terrorist have taken over many communities. What more could be done to the Giant of Africa that has not been done?
A pall of palpable fear
There have long been whispers that terrorist cells now litter the Federal Capital Territory. Indeed, there were reports that before the attack on the prison in Kuje, some of the terrorists who participated in the attacks resided in Kuje for months, disguised as menial labourers and okada riders.
Fear has indeed gripped residents of the Federal Capital Territory about what the proximity of the terrorists who have been closing in for years now means for their safety.
The fear is exacerbated by the fact that residents do not trust that the security agencies are up to the task of defending them.
For many years, calls to rejig the country`s security architecture to cope with rising security threats were roundly ignored. And now, it appears that the time has come for the country to reap what it sowed during those years.
The people who have failed Nigeria
If as it appears terrorists have been strategizing for years on how to attack the Federal Capital Territory and hit critical national assets, it is because Nigeria`s seat of power will no doubt be such a prize trophy for them.
With the seats of the executive, legislature and the judiciary all within the Federal Capital Territory as well as a host of other critical national as well as international assets and expatriates, there is no doubt that any attack, no matter how minor by terrorists, would not only cause Nigeria maximum embarrassment but would also send out a clear message that nowhere is safe in the country.
There is also very little doubt that the terrorists who are swiftly closing in have in their crosshairs many of those who have failed and continue to fail Nigeria.
If the long-suffering people of Kaduna, Zamfara, Katsina, Niger and Borno States were all along small fish for the terrorists, it appears that an advance is finally being made on the big fish.
Maybe, the extraordinary events will finally force Nigeria stir from its slumber, and force it to summon the devastating response it is no doubt capable of.