National Security: A Panacea For An Indivisible Nigeria
The survival and effectiveness of a state is paramount to self serving interests of certain individuals, no matter how highly placed they may be in the society. It is important that the general well being of Nigerians is not sacrificed on the altar of possessive minded leaders. This therefore raises an important question of the will power of the Nigerian government in addressing the endemic barriers of national security and development; only through which the long-search for effective economic growth, diplomatic relationship, and political structure, can be attained.
It may be interesting to understand that security threats involve not only conventional foes such as other nation-states, but also non-state actors such as, Multinational corporations, Terror organizations, Drug cartels, and Agents of economic sabotage.
The gathering momentum of our current security situation, from the escalating insurgency and terrorist activities in the North East geopolitical zone, high rate of kidnapping, political, ethnic and religious violence has left the incumbent and opposition parties trading blames, instead of putting national interest ahead of their selfish pursuit for power, by cohesively sharing ideas to defeat those bent on bringing the nation to ruin – a common enemy.
Nigeria was a strange place for suicide bombing as we continuously watched some international communities been ripped off by explosives. Without a proactive measure to curb the excessiveness in our polity, we were rather engaged in a futile challenge about the statement made by the US government; branding Nigeria a terrorist Nation and the possibility of disintegrating by 2015.
Chapter 2 of the constitution which talked about Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy, in 14 (2b) the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government
Recently, the North Eastern part of Nigeria has not known peace as it has continued to experience series of attacks. The January 3, 2015 attacks on Baga and Dogon-Baga in Borno State, which claimed hundreds of lives and left much of the towns in ruins, have been described as the deadliest since Boko Haram began its campaign of violence in the country five years ago. Initial foreign media reports put the casualty figure at 2,000, but the Nigerian military, through Director of Defence Information, Major-General Chris Olukolade, said the casualties numbered 150. According to reports, the insurgents, using Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC), attacked the Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF), killed hundreds of people and left so many wounded.
More female suicide bombers (teenagers) are now involved, two believed to be around 10 years old, killed themselves and three others at a market in the north eastern city of Potiskum, Nigeria.
There are countless numbers of attacks spreading like wildfire, one which calls for immediate attention. The reaction of some Nigerians have deduce that government of the day, obviously does not care about the people, sighting the simultaneous political activities of the president in the midst of terrorism attacks in some parts of the country
Questions have been raised regarding the efficiency of our security intelligence to take- out this terror groups; coupled with the infiltration of security arm by the terrorist sect, who openly denied the seize-fire claims of the federal government and going ahead to declare a caliphate in the same democratic country. Ironic in itself, when compared to the OBJ- Commando-Approach which wipes out culprits no matter the number of innocent lives lost in the process – an issue for another day.
This is just one form of insecurity as there are thousands who have lost their lives and properties to communal, ethnic, political, environmental, religious and criminal insecurity in the country. There are instances of those who had made derogatory statements threatening the existence of the country, if the president remains in power, instigating their sympathizers to fight for what belongs to them.
Consequently, the current trend of violence is imprinting on the psyche of Nigerians that the government security apparatus is incapable of guaranteeing their lives and properties. This would promote fear and limit the peoples’ ability to develop economically and, limit the state’s capacity to attract investors. Experience has shown that widespread disenchantment and loss of confidence in any dispensation can create political instability.
Those in leadership should always remember that they will eventually live among the people after serving in the government, and whatever policy they may have gotten wrong, either by failing to implement or broken promises, will have them partake of the consequences.
However, it is crucial for government to quickly swing into action and correct the anomaly that some countries failed to correct. The Arab spring, and recent toppling of president of Burkina Faso, having angered the people by attempting to extend his twenty seven years rule, and series of civil wars around the African continent lasting over a decade, may just be a minor issue compared to Nigeria, if she fails to address the lingering crisis of insecurity.
It is a win- win – situation for citizens to assist government by providing useful information that will assist our security agencies in combating insurgency and ensure national security. The citizens should be made to understand the dangers of been passive or wrongly motivated, knowing fully well that harbouring criminal elements is tantamount to self destruction. As it is theirs to decide what is attainable in a challenging democracy of this magnitude. There is a responsibility on the part of the security agencies in cleaning up its institutions, getting rid of bad security officers, review it’s policy and strategies of combating insurgency, and other security challenges.
Finally, the judiciary should be strengthened and given its true independent status to make effective laws and review those that are obsolete, to bring into bear, transparent and efficient institutions, knowing that posterity will ascertain the victor and the vanquished in our history as a people.
• Mr. Charles Iyare is Monitoring & Evaluation Officer (Human Rights); Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), a Benin City based Non Governmental Organisation.