Panacea to Ending the Incessant Killings and Improve Security in Nigeria
Since the violent uprising of the Boko Haram Sect in 2009, Nigeria has witnessed an unprecedented wave of insecurity from many fronts, which has resulted in violent killings, wanton destruction of properties, and subsequent displacement of millions from their homes. According to several reports from UN, Amnesty International and other reputable organizations, it is estimated that over two million Nigerians are living as IDPs, yet the end to their suffering is not near.
Nigeria has a long history of violence which predates our independence, and I would maintain that it has always had politics as the undertone to the immediate causes in most cases, as against; religion, ethnic or tribal differences, which are mere remote causes. But never before have we seen a lengthy violent campaign as this, lasting almost a decade. As a forward-looking people, we are not here to go around our history of violence, as there are lots of literatures on that subject already. Rather, after witnessing the campaign of hate and cruelty of these last couple of years, we in Arise for Nigeria are more incline to seeking a permanent solution to these crises engulfing our nation.
Our political elites cannot be absolved of blames, and they should be ashamed for allowing these crises to fester this long, and for not bringing the perpetrators of these heinous crimes to justice. But without pouring all our energies on the blame game, we would like to encourage them to do more on the angle of finding a solution to these issues through; education, economic empowerment and adequate policing of our communities.
There is so much educational gap in our society today. In fact, going buy UNICEF statistics, education accessibility rate in Nigeria is as low as 20.1 percent. This has given room for ignorance, and made the uneducated subject to manipulation by the forces of evil seeking to destabilize our country.
Economic empowerment also can never be over emphasized in any society, if the government is to avoid an implosion of law and order such as we are witnessing. According to Labour Force Statistics released on 19 December 2018, by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose to 23.1% of the workforce by the end of September 2018, as against 18.1% in 2017. This is not only alarming, but very disturbing. It is also worth noting that, no economy can thrive, nor any meaningful progress be made by any nation in an era of violence and insecurity, even with the right economic policies, talk less of what we have now.
Also, as days goes by, the Social mobility of the society keeps expanding and this brings with it, its attendant security challenges. This leaves us with the need for adequate policing and security in general. In my understanding, policing is just the last line of defense in the security triangle of any society, the first of which is; the policies on education, and then economy. Failures on the first two policies makes policing an unenviable task.
It is already evident that in Nigeria, we have failed on all three policies in the triangle, hence; we are boxed into a corner and the question remains how to get out of this quagmire.
The Way Forward.
Firstly, the government must not only declare state of emergency on education like they did some time ago, but must come up with far-reaching implementable policies on education for our common good, as adequate education will not only brings about enlightenment, but also empowerment. This would go a long way in countering insecurity at its root.
Economic empowerment on the other hand, is the next most important factor in human development, after education. Following the statistics released by NBS, it is therefore pertinent that the government, as a matter of not only national importance but security, expedite action on youths’ empowerment if our country must turn from this path of war against itself. There is a popular phrase that says “an idle man is the devil’s workshop”, and this sums it all up. If the youthful population which makes 60-70% of this country is not gainfully engaged, then insecurity would never abate. This is not rocket science, but common logic.
From the security standpoint, our security agencies especially the police, constitutionally tasked to maintain law and order within the confines of this country must be adequately trained, retrained and equipped with modern policing gadgets, and the right weapons to counter the contemporary security challenges bedeviling our country. Apart from being poorly equipped, as at 2017, according to the IGP;“currently the Nigeria Police Force is operating at a ratio of one to 600, which is far below the approved United Nations ratio” (for lack of better statistics). Based on this statistics, Nigeria needed 155,000 additional police men as at then, to make up for the shortfall and make it at least one to 400. This alone tells the story. We are encouraging the government to summon the political will to narrow this gap, so as to deny criminal elements room to operate. The government must dedicate resources towards the task of intelligence gathering. This is the mother of all successes in the ‘security world’ and the key behind successful operations. Finally, the government should eschew unnecessary interference or politically involving the Nigerian Police Force and other security agencies. In the same vein, the prosecuting agencies and the judiciary must be allowed to do their jobs without inference, if we must get it right as a country.
The welfare of the security agencies must be of utmost priority if we must get the best out of them. The men have to be motivated through regular promotion as at when due. Also, their accommodation has to be looked into, as well as their pay pack, as there has been complaints over the years about the stipends they earn. There is a popular saying that; “to whom much is given, much is expected”. In this case, one shouldn’t be surprised about the lack of motivation in some quarters, but the government must as a matter of urgency do something about this if we must get the best out these heroes out our time, whose sacrifices over the years has kept this country in one piece. This is our demand as concerned Nigerians.
Lastly, the citizenry has a role to play in the scheme of things security-wise and in other areas. We must demand the prosecution of those found culpable, to a logical conclusion. As a people, we must give the security agencies the needed support to carry-out their constitutional mandates in any way we can, including; information sharing, which is one of the most common ways to partner the agencies. “If you see something, say something” – NTA.
We must ‘Arise’ and serve Nigeria in what ever capacity we can, just as we promised in our “pledge to Nigeria” our “country, to be faithful, loyal and honest”. The time to serve is now, let’s arise!
Patrick S. Jr.