Addressing the Rising Insecurity in Nigeria, By Faisal Abdullahi Idris
POLITICS DIGEST – The emergence of state and government fall back to the Social Contract entered between citizens of two social categories; the haves, and the have nots. According to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, government was established through a contract, the essence of which is to primarily guarantee and ensure equality; protection of lives and properties, maintenance of law and order and provide social amenities and infrastructure.
Security of lives and property is regarded as the cardinal point upon which the state (government) is established, the citizenry is completely subservient to the authority. There is interplay between citizens and government; government derives its power and authority from people. No government will exist without people, as no society will exist without government.
In Nigeria, it is the sole responsibility of government to protect its citizens from both internal and external threats as well as attacks as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution as amended. This paved way for the establishment of many coercive apparatuses – The Armed Forces comprising the Military, Air Force, Navy and the Police Force. Others are Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Customs Service etcetera. Chapter 2 of the 1999 Constitution reads in part “The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”.
Nigeria is a vast country, a multi-nation state as it is inhabited by more than 200 ethnic groups. The internal dynamics and security challenges of Nigeria are viewed from different angles, Nigeria’s security problems are mostly attributed to long-lived tribal clashes; religious intolerance and dogmatism, high rate of unemployment, ignorance, political and socio-economic problems.
Nigeria has had daunting insecurity in the past decades; the civil war 1967-1970 (Mahmud Jega argued in his Monday column of 20th -January, 2020 that, “civil war was not civil”), the Maitatsine revolt 1980-1985, Militancy in Niger Delta region, infamous Kafanchan riot of 1987, the Jos crisis which is centred on the following angles; indigene/settler, ethnic and religious, down to the OPC impasse. All these had claimed lives of so many innocent people, properties were lost that led to economic sabotage and downturn.
Despite government’s resolve to safeguard and protect the lives and properties of the citizens, Nigeria is still facing fresh security challenges; Boko-Haram, kidnapping, cattle rustling, banditry and the much talked and politicised Farmers/Herders clashes.
Boko Haram originally formed in 2003, became violent in 2009 and continue terrorizing Nigeria. Today the group splits into three major camps. The camps have in their names Islamic inscription to subconsciously manipulate the most gullible people. The three camps are; Jama’atu Ahl al-Sunna lid Da’awati wal Jihad (Popularly known as Boko Haram), the group supreme leader is Abubakar Shekau, the second splinter group is Ansaru Al-Musulimina fi Bilad Al-Sudan (Ansaru). In 2016, another battle of supremacy ensued between Boko Haram leaders, this resulted in the formation of another factional group named Islamic State-West Africa Province (ISWAP).
The rising insecurity in Nigeria today is very worrisome. Our people today have become so heartless, murderers and drug addicts becoming a nuisance to Nigeria. They have taken arms against the Nigerian state killing and displacing innocents. Government should not rescind on its resolve to protect the lives and properties of its citizens, if not, we may likely go back to ‘primitive society’, the state of nature (Hobbesian State of nature).
Today all the six geo-political zones in Nigeria has its unique security issues, what is seriously needed is government urgent and prompt intervention to nip in the bud Nigeria’s security problems.
Nigeria’s coercive apparatuses (Security agencies) need to re-strategize in their intelligence gathering; they need adequate funding, welfare of their members should be guaranteed, and those who died in the battlefront should be given a national honour and befitting burials. The world is a global village says Marshall McLuhan thus, technology should be used as surveillance tool in monitoring the activities of criminals in Nigeria. Our security personnel should not compromise in their onerous task of protecting the citizens and the country, they should watch with keen interest what comes into Nigeria through our porous land border, sea border and air border. This will prevent crime and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.
Nigerian state should address the issue of corruption, impunity, poverty, bad governance, unemployment, religious dogmatism and intolerance and the extravagant lifestyle of some political office holders, this will prevent further deterioration of our security challenges, and will help security agencies in tackling the present predicament.
Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir Ahmad El-rufai deserves some accolades for openly declaring that he will not negotiate with criminals in his state, this is how it should be, by negotiating with them, we’re unwittingly legitimising their inhumane and barbaric acts. In tackling security challenges in their states, governors should copy El-rufai and Zulum’s model.
Security is a collective responsibility, government alone can’t do it, citizens have a role to play, they should help the security agencies with useful information; support and encouragement, the mass media should stop giving adequate publicity to criminals and should stop demoralising our security personnel through unfavorable reportage, civil society organizations and other advocacy groups should educate and enlighten the general public on the dangers of engaging in any criminal act.
Government should stop negotiating with bloodthirsty criminals, this negotiation is dramatically empowering the criminals and those who have intended to join the them. There is huge difference between negotiating with criminals and negotiating with ‘repentant criminals’. If at all negotiation is to be consider, it should be with those that are remorseful and have thrown their weapons in the bin. Zamfara and Katsina states are still witnessing attacks despite the purported negotiations. By negotiating with them, we are sending wrong messages to the victims of their atrocities. The insecurity ought to be fought diligently, intelligently and tactically.
Abdullahi wrote from Kaduna