It’s no news that the security situation in our country Nigeria is in crisis, lots of lives, properties and many more have been lost.
Over the years, Nigeria has played an important role in global security, especially on the African continent by constantly contributing troops for international peacekeeping missions. As a member of the United Nations, Nigeria’s contributions to world peace have not gone unnoticed.
Internally however, Nigeria suffers from so many security challenges and peace is just another far- fetched word for her citizens, especially those in areas who constantly live in a state of panic.
The high state of insecurity and the inability of the Federal Government to deal with the orgy of killings by herdsmen in the country certainly challenge the very basis of Nigeria’s existence as a sovereign nation. The National Assembly, obviously responding to this dangerous scenario the other day started the process of amending the nation’s constitution to give states the power to create their police forces.
The violent extremism of various terrorist groups in Nigeria in recent years remains a major cause of insecurity in the country. Stemming from discontentment, ethnic and religious superiority, separatist agenda and the likes, different militant groups have emerged and are causing serious havoc in various parts of the country.
The paramount fear in the country is the Boko Haram; a notorious group that has brought tears to many faces, through bombing, kidnapping, man slaughtering, rape, vandalisms, and other attacks that have resulted to destruction of property and loss of lives.
Boko Haram and the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) are two of the major groups and whatever the reasons for their actions continue to pose a problem of security in Nigeria. Their recent activity of killing Soldiers by evading their camps has been a topic for discussion on the lip of every Nigerian.
Our security personnels were slaughtered by the Boko Haram sect, so the question of – if it is appropriate to create another security outfit in the country is a good one but at the same time not a good attempt.
The ethnic divide in Nigeria has been more of a curse than much else to the nation. Since her independence, many of the issues Nigeria has had to deal with all stem from this. The multi-ethnic state of Nigeria has caused a lack of cordiality, suspicion, fear and some very violent confrontations between groups as seen in the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the Fulani herdsmen attacks. These are just examples of the numerous groups that arise from ethnic divide and in trying to fight their cause have had casualties due to violence.
Nigerian government should re-strategies and look into the security bodies in the country, we have the Navy, Army, Air Force and Police; these are the forces we have, there has to be a restructure, the top personnel has to sit and come up with a lasting solution.
The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) activities have always been a concern among citizens hence a topic for discussion among the youths and older ones.
SARS were created with the motives to support the Police by arresting and dealing with Armed Robbers and Cultist in the Nigeria. However, their activities seem to go beyond the aforementioned, they roam about the streets arresting people randomly, stopping vehicles for unlawful checks, among other suspicious policing activities.
The fact is, our security men who are meant to be a solution to our challenges have become the problems in our lives. SARS has facial attachment to “who is who” and “who would be who” or “who is likely to be”. A young man who is on dreadlock is likely to be a cultist or robber hence they arrest such person and without proper investigation make conclusions.
I would describe SARS as a force of unit who are known for extortion, bribery, murder, destruction among many other criminal acts that is punishable by law. Is it their uniforms that present them as the thugs that they are, their scary appearance make them look like the cultists, ritualists, fraudsters and thugs they claim to hunt.
I have personally witnessed SARS operations. I would make reference to two occasions; the first was when my cousin was arrested at the front of the house while urinating at night, he was charged to court the next day on the grounds of “Homeless and Constituting Nuisance in the Community”. We got him a lawyer to appeal in court, the case was delayed for some reasons causing my cousin to spend a week at the Kiriki Prisons in Apapa before the case got arraigned which resulted to bail.
The second occasion was when SARS paraded my street for days arresting people randomly based on an incident that occurred between two lovers. A girl was beaten and stripped naked in public by her boyfriend after whom she reported the case to SARS, causing them to invade the street with general arrest; a lot of people were arrested and were released after parting with some money.
Operation #END SARS is no news to the public in Nigeria; the campaign started in 2018 after the record of their ordeal engagement with many citizens, causing many tears, fears, no freedom, assault among others. But the recent resurgence is as a result of the death of a young man named Kolade Johnson in Mangoro.
It was gathered that he was shot dead by one of the SARS members who came to carry out a raid in a street where he lived; haven arrested people on the street they plagued a family with agony before taking their leave.
Kolade has been unjustly killed, hence leaving his family behind to fate. His death aroused pain, anger and disappointment by many citizens which led to the vamping of the campaign and blockage of the Oshodi/Abeokuta expressway.
The time therefore has come for the structure of Nigeria to be revisited in line with the demands and aspirations of the people; the opinion leaders in the country need to meet by coming up with a solution to the issues. Nigeria must therefore develop internal solutions to the problem. All elected officials should come on board the restructuring train and alter the financial and economic architecture of the Nigerian State for the good of the people.
Nigeria has very porous frontiers where movements of individuals are largely untracked. The result of this is smuggling of weapons, drugs and other equipment that all promote violence into the country. These weapons become available to militant and criminal groups, enabling them to cause mayhem. The porosity of the Nigerian borders allows an inappropriate influx of immigrants from neighbouring countries like Republic of Niger, Republic of Benin and Chad who sometimes turn out to be miscreants and used to perpetrate crimes.
Security is very important and must be taken seriously, there has to be a quality conduct and control of whatever comes in and goes out of the country, the ammunition this Militants use are imported into the country, so therefore Nigeria border must be strengthened, also there must be a restriction to how foreigners access the country and move about.
When it comes to weapons, it seems as if the perpetrators of criminal acts are better equipped than most security agencies in Nigeria. Inadequate equipment for security personnel results in poor disposition to tackle criminals. Asides equipment, the expertise to handle crime scenes is lacking in the majority of security personnel, some of whom joined the force due to unemployment and not to fight crimes. The masses have lost faith in the security agencies and in many cases take matters into their own hands as seen in jungle justice cases around the country.
Coming up with another security outfit requires a lot in the area of funding, able men, uniform, training, ammunition and many more.
Rather than spending money on unimportant projects; is okay if the money can be spent on the provision of good arms and ammunition for our security agencies so that they can be able to combat the criminal element.
should expend adequate fund to purchase gadgets that can track perpetrators of
crimes and employ means to detect and investigate threats of terrorism at the
earliest possible stage.
We would not be able to succeed in this country if we don’t understand love – embrace and adopt it. It is only then we would have the interest of our neighbours at heart. Ensuring a safe environment is the responsibility of everybody – including the government, security agencies, civil society, religious heads, community heads, and individuals. It could also be anchored by companies carrying out their corporate social responsibilities.
Together we can make Nigeria and indeed the world a better place to live in.
Article by: Omolara Ogunwale