For many Nigerians, the 9th National Assembly has been an utter disappointment, having put in nothing close to the robust legislative shift of the 8th Assembly which stretched the principles of checks and balances to its limits, keeping an indolent executive on pins and needles.
Leading the 9th National Assembly has been Senate President Dr. Ahmed Lawan whose unimaginative leadership has in the last four years put to bed any hope that the legislature can force an inept executive to get its acts together.
Now, fresh from a failed attempt to switch from the legislature to the executive despite having only very little to show for his time in the legislature, and his gripping battle to wrench the APC ticket of the Yobe North Senatorial District from the ferociously tenacious Mr Bashir Machina, Mr. Lawan has apparently been jarred awake by the July 5,2022 attack on the Medium Security Custodial Facility in Kuje.
A sacrilegious attack
At about 10am on Tuesday July 5, 2022, heavily armed gunmen who have since identified themselves as members of the Islamic State- West Africa Province stormed the Medium Security Correctional Facility in Kuje where they deployed devastating firepower to breach the prison`s security before setting free hundreds of inmates including sixty-four Boko Haram members some of whom were responsible for the Nyanya and Madalla bombing incidents which caused the deaths of dozens.
A shell-shocked country
The attack which happened right in the belly of the Federal Capital Territory and on the heels of the brutal killing of over thirty soldiers and policemen by terrorists in Shiroro, Niger State, has harshly reminded Nigerians of how horribly precarious the situation has become in the country.
An ominous cannon of questions
Shock has since slowly given way to a storm of questions. Nigeria`s President Mr. Muhammadu Buhari on a visit to the facility let loose a cannon of questions which caught many Nigerians cold, because if the one who should be interrogated about the security situation in the country has suddenly morphed into the one asking all the questions, who will reply him? Why indeed does the Giant of Africa favour a reactionary posture when it is clear that it is only a proactive posture that can keep its many enemies at bay?
Why should those who should keep the barrage of questions coming to ensure things are working smoothly be as bewildered as all others when another attack happens? Why do the tough questions always wait until something horrible happens?
An African idiom posits that it is the rat at home that tells the bushrat where fish is kept in the house. This much was alluded to when Mr. Ahmad Lawan, leading a National Assembly delegation to the Kuje prison on Thurday, June 7, 2022, spoke.
Mr. Lawan said the attack could only have been carried out with the active connivance of insiders within the facility while faulting the Nigerian Correctional Service for not providing Closed circuit Television(CCTV) at the facility. He then asked the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Correctional Service to include a request for the provision of CCTV across maximum and medium correctional centers across the country in its 2023 budget proposal to the National Assembly.
Given the collective amnesia of those who occupy the corridors of power in Nigeria and the country`s embarrassing power situation, it will be a big shock if serious measures are taken to secure the other correctional facilities in the country and preclude future attacks.
Snakes in the city.
With the Minister of Defence confirming that all sixty-four Boko Haram inmates held in the facility escaped during the attacks, Nigerians are now anxiously looking over their shoulders fully aware that venomous snakes have been let loose in a country where many had already been bitten to death. It also appears that the Nigeria`s war against terrorism continues to be severely hampered by the sabotage of the many saboteurs who have penetrated the security institutions.
The security lapses in Nigeria come from a place of leadership failure. This failure, as comprehensive as it is, features public officers at all levels of governance and also many years of repeated failure of governance.
Nigeria is under relentless attacks by terrorists. These attacks are confirming what many Nigerians have long suspected: that Nigeria`s security architecture is loose and largely unprepared to secure Nigerians.
Beyond rhetoric and the usual fighting talk, it will be interesting to see if much or anything at all will change.