By Iheke Iheanyichukwu.
Security is the establishment of measures to protect people, information and property against hostile persons in a society. In other words, it is the existence of conditions within which people in a society can go about their normal daily activities without threats to their lives or properties. However, security is not the absence of threats or security issues, but the ability of the state to rise to the challenges posed by these threats with expediency and expertise. Hence, to effectively tackle all security issues is the concept of social contract between the citizens and the state, in which citizens willingly surrender their rights to the government who ensures safety of all citizenry from chronic threats and protection from harmful disruption.
It is flabbergasting to note that the Nigerian state has witnessed a plethora of security challenges caused by the following factors; poor governance, separatist agitations, unemployment, weak judicial system, corruption, armed robbery, banditry and cultism, terrorist threats, inadequate security personnel, porous coastal borders, high influx of arms and poor electoral system, especially since the enthronement of democracy in 1999. These insecurities ranging from election violence, ritual killings, cyber crimes, car theft, advance fee fraud-(419), drug trafficking, human trafficking, among others; have continued to pose serious challenges in Nigeria.
Evidently, according to Voice of America News and Nigerian National Newspaper the PUNCH; the Boko Haram sect insurgency, has killed more than 30,000 people, displaced about 2.6 million, and the crisis has made 7 million Nigerians dependent on food aid. It is worrisome to note also that it has created one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises. Ironically, Nigerian government officials have repeatedly claimed victory over Boko Haram sect.
Another ugly internal security challenge that currently perturbs the citizens and residents of Nigeria is the killing in numbers of Nigerian security personnel and kidnapping; which has recently become a profitable venture in Nigeria. This criminal practice started in the form of hostage taking in the Niger-Delta region in calling the attention of the federal government to the marginalization of the region, has seemingly become a variant of armed robbery with high level of expertise in abducting people for ransom illegally; PREMIUM TIMES a leading Nigerian Daily on May 21,2019 reported that at least 27 Nigerians were kidnapped from four states of Edo , Kaduna, Ekiti and Osun in 48 hours. What a nightmare! This is not to mention the famous chibok girls’ abduction in 2014, where 276 female students were kidnapped in Borno state. Furthermore, the bouts of electoral violence in all the federating states and frequent clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the Northern and southern part of Nigeria have led to the massive destruction of properties and death of precious Nigerians.
Remarkably, some of these threats have long historical antecedents, while others like the menace of Herdsmen are recent occurrence with great negative impact; according to the Amnesty International and International Crisis Group, the crises recorded death toll of 1,949. Nigeria’s farmers/herder’s crisis killed more than 6,000 people in the last three years. Besides, the incessant protests by the Islamic movement of Nigeria which has led to scores of deaths in the federal Capital territory -Abuja and terror attacks by Islamic extremists, all these question the capacity of the federal government of Nigeria to abide and operate within the spirit and framework of a social contract.
Additionally, according to the European Union Observation Mission reports on the 2019 Nigeria general election; approximately 145 people were killed in election-related violence, 84 of which were in the South-South zone. This is a comparable figure to the 2015 general elections. Approximately 64 people were reported killed in the campaigns leading up to the 23 February 2019 general elections, 21 of these deaths occurred in the week following the postponement. Approximately 35 people were reported killed on 23 February,2019 and 24 on 9 March, 2019. This highlighted the electoral security problems and the inability of the Nigerian government to conduct violence free elections. The question now is; have we learnt from the past situations/abnormalities? Secondly, are there any mechanisms in place to avert future occurrences?
Furthermore, despite the efforts of the government and continual allocation of monthly security vote to all federating states by the federal government and security agencies, the proliferation of arms by non-state actors, as well as the insufficient number of trained and equipped security personnel has contributed to the insecurity across the country. Consequently, these internal security challenges have not only posed threats to corporate existence of Nigeria as a sovereign state, but also undermined the quest for unity in diversity which underscores the rationale for adoption of federalism in Nigeria.
One will conclude, that it is against this background, that federal government of Nigeria has recently started a national consultation with the traditional institutions to chart a new course to mitigate the high rate of insecurity in Nigeria. The government of Nigeria has long failed to protect her subjects, no wonder the daily news from Nigeria is not complete without a burning headline of “Killed, Kidnapped and injured”
Therefore, in the view of the forgoing, it imperative to avert and stop such a negative narrative, hence there is a greater need for the government to, rejig the military formations, introduce a community/state policing, make security studies compulsory at all levels of schooling in Nigeria and create more job opportunities.
More importantly, there is also a need for the federal government of Nigeria to urgently call for a national security summit inviting all the critical stakeholders. Secondly, government should proactively set up a committee to implement all the recommendations of the summit. Thirdly, there is the need to train, retain and employ more security personnel. Importantly, it is germane for the federal government of Nigeria to adopt the use of new technology in the fight against internal insecurity. lastly, the NGOs and international development partners should also increase sensitization and advocacy in the security sectors. A stitch in time saves nine. If not, Nigerian will wake one morning to discover that the labour of their heroes past were totally in vain.