Insecurity is one of, if not the most glaring and much talked about issue in Nigeria today. Acts of criminality occur daily throughout the country. Not because the armed forces are not doing their utmost to overcome it but because the mode of operation of the terrorists and bandits defy the norms of warfare.
Other factors fueling the crisis are political and economic in nature and are therefore beyond the competence of the security forces. Be it as it may, the war is on with measurable level of success. Part of the challenge also is that Nigerians are very busy celebrating the rascality of criminal elements.
The matter became so serious that President Muhammadu Buhari and heads of security agencies met recently to address the challenges and map out modalities for resolving them.
While we admit that these are not the best of times in the security architecture in Nigeria, a situation that is compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, it must be noted that the bane of the security challenges in the country is not as a result of non-commitment or lack of capacity on the part of the heads of the various security agencies in the country, but a combination of several other factors which, in our considered opinion, is multifaceted and predates this present administration.
The Buhari administration inherited a country on the fringes of collapse due to the vicious activities of the Boko Haram terrorists operating in the North-East of Nigeria and as well as in some other parts of the country including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The activities of other ethnic militias also posed severe threats to peace and tranquility in the nation.
This newspaper appreciates the fact that much has been achieved in terms of containing the causative factors of these threats.
It is also important that the rest of the populace understands that the various heads of the security agencies in Nigeria have done well in managing the situation they inherited five years or so ago. However, we posit that there is a need for redoubling of efforts given the fact that the modus operandi of these criminal elements are evolving and getting sophisticated every passing day as a result of the infusion of international connections intent on making the country ungovernable.
This, indeed, is not an impossible task given the political commitment of the government in addressing insecurity in the country. What is required is the urgent desire for all hands to be on deck to deal with the situation decisively.
It is from this stand point that we welcome the charge by the President to heads of security agencies to redouble their efforts. It is our view that if the service chiefs get the required support from Nigerians who must quit armchair and needless criticisms, they and the other operators in the nation’s security architecture will feel encouraged to reeducate themselves to the urgency of the matter at hand. Such support from the citizenry will bouy the determination to excel on the part of the troops who have been actively involved in the war against terrorism and internal insecurity at the same time.
This demands a visible unanimity of purpose on the part of all the arms of the security apparatus. It must be realized that no one arm of the security platform can do it alone. While some are relevant in enunciating policies that undergird field operations, it is imperative to observe that such policies can become paper tigers without the foot soldiers who put their lives at risk in the front lines. It must be understood that the challenges confronting Nigeria in terms of security of lives and property leaves no room for grandstanding or finger pointing.
In our considered opinion, senior security chiefs who may not be directly in the field owe themselves a duty to borrow a leaf from the President who, based on his own experiences, has consistently spoken in measured tones when reacting to security crises when they arise.
The idea, as we understand it, is so as not to inadvertently trample on the morale of those whose part of their duty it is to pay the supreme price if need be.
As a newspaper, we understand the frustrations of those who wake up everyday with the thought of how to eliminate the security challenges plaguing the nation or at least bring them to manageable levels. In doing this, the impression must not be created that not enough is being done by those directly on in front lines. Advanced countries like the United States of America with all her advancement in science and military technology has not quite won the war on terror. They have been on it even before it reared its ugly head in Nigeria.
We are also of the opinion that the service chiefs are not making an excuse when they point out the asymmetric nature of the war on terror. It is a reality to be experienced and not an accusation to be leveled against the hard-fighting troops and their commanders. If the truth must be told, they would prefer that the war ends soon so that they could go back to their loved ones.
It is very disheartening when those criticisms emanate from retired military personnel who are now playing less active roles in security issues. We hereby plead with them to tone down their rhetoric and demonstrate the required comradeship that is necessary in times like this.
We are of the firm belief that those utterances from such otherwise informed quarters can be an undesirable distraction. It may also be that such demoralizing comments are responsible for the seeming inertia in the handling of the security problems the nation is facing.