Nigeria is ridden with crime, every now and then the bodies of its police men and other security personnel get ridden with bullets as well.
Before terrorism began a full-scale assault on Nigeria in 2009, the country was not always convulsed by crime. As with any other country on the journey to its best days, there was the occasional crime here and there and whenever a pattern emerged, the authorities were always quick to check it.
Terrorism came and altered everything however, and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, the Giant of Africa found itself confronting an existential crisis. What began as a joke has since become Nigeria`s defining challenge. Boko Haram which was the flagship terrorist group in Nigeria has since splintered to spit equally deadly terrorist groups into the terrorist storms of destruction ripping Nigeria apart.
Because Boko Haram pioneered terror in Nigeria and showed other groups who were hitherto hesitant that great gains could be made in plucking up just a bit of terrorist courage, those groups have spread their tentacles all over the country, whether they are either operating in varying degrees or finetuning the terms of their operations.
As Nigerians have experienced firsthand the ruthless hand of the terrorism, the heavy responsibility of securing Nigeria and Nigerians has fallen up the shoulders of Nigeria`s security agencies and its gallant men and women.
Even before terrorism came, the Nigerian Police had a battle on its hands in maintaining law and order in Nigeria. In a country where the rule of law has historically struggled and lawlessness is the sweetener many government officials slip into their teas every morning, the government agency tasked with maintaining law and order was always going to have its work cut out. This has proven to be frighteningly true.
The same lawlessness that the police is supposed to fight has ensured that institutional corruption at the highest levels leaves the force short of funds, morale, discipline and professionalism while confronting mountains. This impossibly poisoned chalice has created a force of many monsters that Nigerians have come to loath. The EndSars protests of 2020 betrayed the starling depth of this loathing. This love-hate relationship has proven a debilitating setback to the police and Nigerians who are supposed to be partners in crime fighting.
Yet, in spite of the surprisingly high number of bad eggs within the police, Nigerians recognize the heroic sacrifices many police officers who have stayed true to the country make every day in the line of duty. That many of them go out daily and never return to their heartbroken families is something many well-meaning Nigerians never take for granted.
In the forbidding forests of Nigeria`s Northeast and Northwest, gallant Nigerian soldiers have continued to secure Nigeria in the face of malevolent terrorism, many times at the cost of the ultimate price.
With every community attacked, with every army base breached by the terrorists, soldiers are usually the first responders and victims. The toll on them has been among the heaviest in the country. Yet, they continue to fight tooth and nail in defence of unpardonably vulnerable Nigerian communities.
When the corona virus swept through Nigeria and the rest of the world in 2020, the emphasis was heavy on increasing the hazard allowances of health workers to keep them motivated on the frontlines of the battle against a deadly virus. Many of them started to earn more as a panicking country suddenly awoke to their value. Many of them were claimed by the virus in the process.
If what is sauce for the goose is to be sauce for the gander, and if Nigeria is root out terrorism from the country, there is no doubt that the welfare of the men who battle everyday on the frontlines must receive prime consideration. Because they are always in the line of fire, they deserve to at least know that in each moment, the Giant of Africa has their backs.
The battle Nigeria has on its hands against terrorism and other crimes remains a big one. The least the country can do is to appreciate and take proper care of those who defend it and keep the terrorists at bay. Without them, the country would have been long overrun.