It is trite to posit that Nigeria is currently faced with an unprecedented wave of insecurity which appears to have defied all efforts and overstretching the nation’s security agencies. As of today, no part of the country is spared the ugly monster.
In reponse to public outcry over this seemingly festering sore, President Muhammadu Buhari had, in October, 2022, directed security agencies to ensure that the challenge was extirpated by December 31. The Minister of Interior, re-echoing this presidential directive, gave the assurance that the security forces would restore order and stability in all parts of the country.
Nigerians were also told that the present administration would not leave office in May this year without curtailing and effectively addressing the security challenges. Most Nigerians who had been at the receiving end of the activities of criminals and other non-state operators adopted a wait and see approach to the directive by the government.
Son after, the security apparatus of state made moves that gave the impression that the deadline was achievable as they mounted a sustained onslaught that made impact. However, it appears that it was just a flash in the pan as all the arms of government with the mandate of maintaining law and order, guaranteeing security and eliminating threats may have gone to sleep shortly after the deadline.
Before this directive, the President had severally ordered service chiefs, including the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), to deal ruthlessly with armed bandits and kidnappers terrorising different parts of the country. In fairness to the security operatives, measurable success was achieved then even as the insecurity in the country kept rebounding as if in counter-offensive.
We note with great concern the worsening state of insecurity across the country, characterised by kidnappings, banditry, assassinations, among others. These have taken a new dimension that is beginning to pose a direct threat to the forthcoming election in February. Government has tried different methods, from “force-for-force” to carrot-and-stick approach, but nothing appears to be working as effectively as it should.
There are several other unreported cases of killings and kidnappings in different parts of the country and the indication is that the powers that be may have become overwhelmed by the situation. Regardless, Nigerians are carrying on with their lives and hoping for the best.
The agencies charged with the security of the nation have continued to stress that they are on top of the situation. As reassuring as that is, there appears to be a disconnect within the leadership command that is making effective coordination problematic. Though, the services’ high commands have consistently denied the persistence of inter service rivalry, yet it is obvious that it exists and is rendering the best efforts of the servicemen and women not good enough. At least in the estimation of the ordinary Nigerians who bear the brunt of the acts of criminality.
As a Newspaper, we are genuinely concerned about the rising insecurity in the country. The situation at hand has gone beyond issuing deadlines that are hardly achievable. The fact of the matter is that insecurity does not thrive in a vacuum. Some factors, including the environmental conditions, kindle and nurture insecurity.
The rising insecurity in Nigeria is steadily made worse by a regressing economy, poor infrastructure, including educational and health facilities, transportation and bad roads, fuel crisis, unemployment and a growing sense of disenchantment that government and the political class have failed the people. The government’s inability to provide public services and meet the basic needs of the masses has created a group of frustrated people who resort to violence at the drop of the hat.
In our opinion, the government at all levels, ought to adopt a more holistic approach that simultaneously combine combating security threats more effectively with addressing the root causes of conflicts and agitations in the country. Addressing only the manifestations of insecurity without tackling its drivers is like cutting off the tail of a dangerous snake while keeping the head and the rest of its body intact.
The government must also aggressively embark on regenerating the moral values that guide the behavior of citizens. It is an urgent task that must be done in order to salvage Nigeria. Events have shown that the nature and pattern of security challenges confronting Nigeria cannot be dealt with efficiently using military power alone.
This also re-echoes the issue of state police. The centralised policing system is not working in Nigeria. To effectively tackle the current security challenges facing us a nation, the federal government needs to decentralise the policing system.
The security agencies are overstretched and poorly funded. The current security agencies are too centralised to effectively provide the required security for the nation. We also recommend the involvement of traditional institutions, clerics and other veritable stakeholders in this war that is becoming endless.