Insecurity: Why Nigeria is not winning the war

Insecurity: Why Nigeria is not winning the war

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By Evelyn Usman

Insecurity in Nigeria has continued to remain a daunting challenge, with attacks by kidnappers gradually shifting to urban areas.

Almost on daily basis, the media space is awash with news of  killings of defenceless Nigerians , without any moral justification, with the value for life  deteriorating to its lowest ebb.

Investigation by  Saturday Vanguard  revealed that there are different categories of kidnappers.  One  of the categories are members  of  the Boko Haram sect,  who are  responsible for some abductions  in the northern part of the country.

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Another splinter group from this sect as  reliably gathered, joined forces with herders to form another kidnap gang. This set of kidnappers are responsible for most abduction of school students in the North West region.

This set of kidnappers  operate along the Abuja- Kaduna expressway ,Birnin Gwari- Kaduna road, Minna-Lambata-Dikko-Kaduna axis , Akangwa /Keffi and Nasarawa /Toto road among other roads that are prone to kidnapping attacks in that region.

Questions

Questions seeking urgent answers from  concerned Nigerians  are : who are these bandits? Who are those sponsoring them and if they are not sponsored, why have government security agents found it difficult to clip their wings?

Their locations have been discovered to be  Rugu forest which stretches across Zamfara , Katsina, Kaduna and Niger states.  

More  disturbing is the fact that having identified their domain, one would have expected the security agents to round them up.

Campaign on Fish them out

At the moment, most Nigerians are calling on the Federal Government and its security agencies to smoke out criminals in whatever colouration, from forests dominated by them across the country.

A major lead in that campaign is Governor Ortom.  The Governor in his account of what happened two weeks ago said, “I want to call on the security agencies to fish these people out. They are in the forest between Makurdi and Abinsi. They are living there and coming out to commit atrocities and evil, killing our people, maiming them, raping women and destroying our farmlands. Anytime our Livestock Guards and security agencies go after them, they run back into the forest across the river,” he said.

Nwagunma

For the  Executive Director,  Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre, RULAAC, Okechukwu Nwagunma , he blamed the present state of insecurity on compromise on the part of all government security agencies.

According to him, “ The recruitment of personnel of some security agencies and the appointment of heads of security agencies, including the Military are compromised by corruption. 

Heads of some security agencies whose tenures expired have been retained or their terms extended by this government through subversion of the law. Because of the politicisation of the process of their appointment and illegal retention in office, they are predictably partisan, beholding to their appointers’, corrupt, incompetent and therefore incapable of providing the professional leadership necessary to effectively combat and defeat insecurity. 

Some of them have also been accused of stealing or being unable to account for security funds, including funds meant to purchase arms and to pay the allowances of their personnel in the battle front thereby demoralising our fighting forces and exposing them to danger in the hands of better armed bandits and terrorists.

This is partly why our security agencies have been unable to tackle insecurity. Instead, they focus their energies hunting, harassing, attacking and victimising perceived enemies of their political masters.

In order to demonstrate their loyalty to the political and government officials who appointed them or facilitated their appointment, they treat political opponents and critics of the government as enemies. They target individuals and groups agitating against injustice.

 This is precisely why the Chief of Army Staff could say – shamelessly, that he has drawn a battle line, not with terrorists and bandits who destroy lives and property of citizens and kidnap school children every day, but against those characterised as declaring ethnic sovereignty. Government has lost monopoly on the legitimate use of force. Bandits and terrorists have taken over the land, threatening even the lives of elected governors and other high profile personalities, in spite of the heavy security around them.

 “Government claims that some of these terrorists and bandits are foreigners. And the question is, how do they cross our borders? How and from where do they acquire the sophisticated and dangerous arms they bear, and how are they able to get them into Nigeria?

And as you can see, people in government not only know who these terrorists and bandits are, they are also cavorting and doing business with them.

“It is only in Nigeria that you can hear that a Sheikh Gumi goes into the forest to meet and negotiate with bandits on behalf of the government and comes back to make careless statements capable of inciting religious and ethnic division and hostility within our military.

 He said it’s the Christian soldiers  killing the bandits who are Islamists and government did not call him to account for such reckless and incendiary comment. What else do you need to see or hear to know that some State officials are complicit in criminality and growing insecurity, especially considering how organised these crimes are?

Bandits freely invade schools and take all the time to pack hundreds of school children into trucks and freely take them away passing through roads that have security checkpoints.

In 2014 we had the abduction of the Chibok girls. Over two year ago we had the abduction of the Dapchi school girls when Leah Sharibu was abducted alongside nearly there hundred other schools girls. Between December 2020 when school children were abducted in Katsina and the recent abductions of school children in Kaduna State this March, we have had no less than five incidents of abduction of school ch… “It is indeed, a shame that government could be paying ransom to criminals. If government can reach criminals to pay them for committing crimes, why would they not instead arrest them and prosecute them for their crimes? It clearly indicates that government is pampering criminals because they are probably in cahoots with them”.

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For former Commissioner of Police and security expert,  Ikechukwu Aduba, he  lamented that there was nothing on ground in Nigeria to address the present state of insecurity.

To address the frightening dimension insecurity has assumed, he called for massive recruitment, saying that  the Military and Police had been exhausted.

He said, “ If the Federal Government  can churn out three million fighting troops within  three months and dominate the space, this madness will end.  There should be a National Reserve troops under Presidential fiat. Pay them  flat rate of N100,000 and review it every year .

“ Appointing new  Service Chiefs  without a deliberate effort to address the basic Internal security operation guidelines, which should spell out the rules of engagement of the various will make nonsense of the new appointments.

 ”Aside the fact that Nigeria does not seem to have a clear security architecture, what plays out anytime we have security issues is a muddled up operation, where all the forces carry out their operations at the same time. This is why Nigeria seems not  to be winning the war against insurgents.

 ”In a war or crisis situation, the Police that are constitutionally the foremost internal security agency are supposed to move in first and where it fails or when it becomes evident that it cannot cope with the crisis, the Military or any other Forces may be asked to take over while the police beats a retreat.

 As soon as the Military succeeds in dealing with the enemy and an area is captured, a mop-up is done and the Police are expected to be  drafted there  to sustain the victory and protect the area.

But  what seems to be playing out is that, the police is relegated while the Military fight with the enemy; thus creating an atmosphere of confusion. The enemies beat a retreat and as soon as the Forces pull back they(enemies) return and the war or crisis continues and  never ends.  ”The Police  is getting weaker by the day: the morale of the officers is low; there is frustration and the urgent need to re-jig the Force. Apart from poor remuneration, there is a serious case of insufficient manpower. 

The United Nations recommendation of one policeman to 400 persons is grossly undermined as what we have now is one policeman to about 800 or one  million persons.

 ”The military on the other hand is overstretched, hence what we see all over the place is self-help. Forces with no reserve Force, which is necessary in an emergency security situation. The officers/men are overwhelmed, with many staying at the battle field fighting insurgents for years, thus their morale is very low. This is perhaps  responsible for why many of them signified  intention to withdraw their services recently.

 If  we had Basic Internal Security Operation Guidelines, the Military would have recorded tremendous successes in dealing with insurgents as liberated territories would have been retained and fortified for the Nigerian government”.

 

Privitise security of schools – Dr Ekhomu

 

President of the  Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria (AISSON), Dr. Ona Ekhomu, on his part, called on the  Federal and State Governments to immediately privatize the security of schools in the Northwest, in order to prevent incessant abduction of school children by bandits.

He said “clearly the governments don’t have the security personnel resources to protect all schools. So they should award contracts for school security to private security companies who have the manpower and technology to protect schools and prevent abductions”.

 Private security according to him, would  act as force multiplication mechanism for government security forces if they were  contracted to guard schools.

He said public schools all over the country were neglected in terms of security protective measures (or countermeasures), describing  the vulnerabilities in the school security as “observable and exploitable”, which he said made the schools irresistible and tempting target for bandits.

 The private security contractors, he said, “  will place personnel at the schools and install physical protection systems that will result in more robust protection for them such as perimeter fencing, gates, metal doors on classrooms and dormitories, electronic alarm systems and air raid siren that will alert security forces if schools come under attack.

 ”As part of the force multiplication process, the privatized guard resources will maintain phone or radio contact with Military or Police agencies nearby, who can give  rescue in the event of a security breach”, he said, adding that any state without  a central monitoring station like Lagos, Edo, Kaduna was  a “failed state”.  He therefore, urged state governments to get serious about protection of their citizens, 

Vanguard News Nigeria 

The post Insecurity: Why Nigeria is not winning the war appeared first on Vanguard News.



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