The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) has relied heavily on military action in its bid to counter both insurgency and violent extremism in Nigeria. While this approach is considered useful, it must be stated that it is has not yielded the desired result. Instead, we are witnessing a situation where the insurgents are getting bolder, taking the battle to our military barracks, killing our soldiers and officers, and carting away military vehicles and ammunitions.
Despite these unfortunate developments, the top military class still want the public to believe that they are on top of the game. This is not a good sign for the mood of the nation. The Nigerian public on the other side are unable to independently assess the true state of the Nigerian military operations in the northeast. The reason is because a lot of the activities concerning the operations are shrouded in secrecy.
In view of this, how can the military gain the confidence of the public and other experts when information concerning the operations is highly restricted? I must confess that the current style of secrecy does not encourage operational assessment and lessons learned. Military action currently being used by the Nigerian military comes at a huge cost and it encourages corruption and war economy. In order to get out of our current situation, the following are suggested:
- Relocation of Vulnerable Communities
The FGN must consider the option of relocating vulnerable communities to where they can be effectively protected and secured. It is a national embarrassment that we keep hearing of inglorious attacks and sacking of an entire community within Nigeria’s territory. The FGN in collaboration with the state governments could begin by bringing all vulnerable communities in isolated locations to a central location for effective policing. Schools, hospitals and markets in these ungoverned locations need to be collapsed and be brought to the proposed central location where there will be heavy security presence. This will help to isolate the terrorist groups and expose them to direct military assault, reduce the incessant kidnapping. In the long term, more funds would be freed to be invested for developmental activities that will help to ameliorate the conditions of the people.
- Strengthen the Capacity of the Nigeria Police
Over the years we have continued to pay lip service to the issue of strengthening our Nigeria Police Force (NPF). As far as we continue to relegate our NPF, we will continue to suffer severe insecurity in our country. The indiscriminate bloodbath in different parts of the country (herders/farmers, Boko Haram, kidnapping, ethno-religious clashes and armed robbery) is largely because of our inefficient policing system. People have lost total confidence in the police, to the extent everyone seem to resorting to providing his/her own security–we are gradually going back to state of nature.
- Strengthening the Nigeria Police Force
The personnel of the Nigerian Police Force lack the requisite capability to engage in threat assessment and proffer strategies to overcome these threats. The Nigerian Police Force recruitment and training process is still what it was during the colonial era. The recruitment and training is grossly inadequate for the current threat. The mode of entrance into the Nigeria Police Force, training curriculum and remuneration need to be immediately reviewed.
- Settlement of Pending Grievances
The FGN must address the several legitimate grievances that have rendered meaningful segments of the population in the north amenable to the messages of violent armed groups in Nigeria. We have lingering issues of political exclusion and unsettled claims of indigeneship in different parts of Nigeria. These issues have been highly politicized over time by successive governments that either give more recognition to certain communities who are in contentious disputes with others or ignore such issues provide them political response. Such discriminatory actions have instead fuelled violence in places like Kaduna, Plateau, and Benue among others. Setting up a reconciliatory committee under the leadership of credible Nigerians who are known not to be patrician could be a way of settling these grievances. Additionally, government taking action to implement the recommendations of this committee is imperative.
- Formalize Almagiri Educational System
The almagiri educational system creates avenue for street children who can easily become radicalized. The government need to formalize these schools as private schools and provide support for them with a structured curriculum. In this regard, all almagiri schools must be registered and a curriculum issued to the proprietors as a guide and form of regulation. Graduates of such schools could be issued with a government certification which can become a prerequisite for educational progression.
– Mamud is an expert on security issues
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