The Directorate of State Services (DSS), has just alleged that the nation’s security and paramilitary agencies are recruiting unqualified persons, cultists and armed robbers into their fold. This, the DSS insisted, had been going on over a period of time and blamed its sustenance for the deteriorating security situation in the country. The Directorate also said that these bad eggs, illicitly recruited into the security agencies, are responsible for the illegal sale of arms to undesirable elements who use same to torment and harass the civil populace.
Some of the agencies include Nigerian Custom Service (NCS), the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), the Police and even the Military itself. We recall that on more than one occasion this year, the Customs had intercepted caches of small arms being imported into the country. On the surface, one may be tempted to exonerate them. But a middle level Customs Service operative in a private chat with this newspaper was not impressed by the so called seizures claiming that it was possible because the importer ‘did not settle well’ meaning that the importer did not bribe the officials well enough to have his way. If he did, the arms would have slipped into the country undetected. This is a fact most Nigerians are already familiar with but hoped it was not true. Whatever doubt that existed in their minds has been wiped off by this disclosure by the DSS who are in a position to know.
The proliferation of arms in the country, over the years, has continued to be a source of genuine concern to not only the security agencies but the average Nigerian who, exposed to the activities of these miscreants who use the weapons in their possession to kill and maim, surrender in utter helplessness. The brazen criminality of the marauders mistaken as herdsmen to kidnappers and cultists who torment innocent citizens, has removed the smile from the face of members of the public who are lost as to what to do in the prevailing situation they find themselves especially as despondency had become their lot.
Even more disturbing is the menace of terrorists – boko haram and their comrades in crime operating in the oil-rich Niger Delta. The ferocity with which these elements unleash terror on the people have not stopped to baffle those in command and control of the top echelon of these same agencies of government in charge of managing incidences of insecurity in the country. Now that the DSS has not only raised the alarm but also pointed accusing fingers on the very arms of government put in charge of securing lives and property, is it then a surprise that these criminals are having a field day operating like boys sent on an operation by their fathers.
We also recall that at the peak of the kidnappings and armed robberies on one of the nation’s busiest highways, the Inspector General of Police, had to personally oversee the dismantling the Police formations on that highway and redeployed all the officers and men. He did not accuse them of disloyalty, but Nigerians knew what the Police boss did not say which is that they had outlived their usefulness and had become part of the problem.
The DSS may have forgotten to bring politicians into the net of those creating serious security challenges to the nation. Most of these political leaders set up outfits codenamed vanguards or whatever and arm them to the teeth. That was how boko haram started. Politics over, those arms are not retrievable and those who have them became terror to the society. As part of political settlement, thugs who did the bidding of the politicians are referred to any of the security agencies with notes that are seen as orders to recruit.
A pertinent question to ask, in our view, is now that the DSS has confirmed the apprehension the people dared not mouth out of fear of repercussions, what next? It will be an act of disservice for them to fail in their responsibilities of which disarming the rouges is one. Nothing stops the DSS as the agency in charge of the Internal Security of the nation from moving in to do the needful to restore decency in the operations of the country’s security paraphernalia. Lamentations will not do as the people groan under the shadow of insecurity. What is needed is urgent action to save the nation from imminent self-destruct. With the impunity of the criminals who in their killer mood carry on as if to say who dares stop them, the DSS should expose the sordid affair in a more decisive manner that will help flush out the bad eggs in uniform and restore sanity into the society so that the people can have the unperturbed rest they desire and deserve.