BusinessDay

Human security is beyond military protection

Admittedly, securing Nigeria and Nigerians is a bit of a problem and an uphill battle for the PMB administration. In the earliest days of the administration, the government galvanised troupes, who succeeded in degrading and localising terrorist activities to the outskirt of Borno State with occasional skirmishes in the towns and villages within the state.

The joy of degrading Boko Haram and ISWAP was ephemeral because other deadly groups – the Fulani herdsmen and armed bandits which were treated with kid-gloves by the president who believed to have shared ethnic and cultural affinity with them, sprang up and started terrorising the whole country, thereby threatening the foundation of Nigeria’s corporate existence.

Obviously, our internal security architecture has collapsed, and the bandits have penetrated all nooks and crannies of the country. They strike at will in their target location unhindered and vanish into thin air. In some situations where the culprits are traced and arrested, nothing seems to have been done to them.

Umpteenth time somebody somewhere is securing their release unscathed. Therefore, it is obvious to the blind and unblinded that some forces are hell-bent to use daredevil bandits to dismember this country or rather make it to be a failed state because the government has lost control of securing the country.

Oddly, Nigeria’s security has been compromised by the people in government. The president seems to be overwhelmed by a spasm of guilt, judging from his recent reaction and feeble pronouncement regarding the victims of the Abuja-Kaduna Railway kidnapping who are being tortured by the bandits, as revealed in a recent video that has gone viral on social media.

It is written all over him that he is tired and has lost total control of the security management team, having exhausted all the arsenal in his pocket as a retired military general.

Apparently, under his watch, no place in Nigeria is immune from the threats of insecurity. The bandits and terrorists have taken over all the forests in the Northern and Southern parts of the country.

The president and his security chiefs seem to have been at their wit end based on the flint non-reassuring response emanating from them which Nigerians have taken as a “parable of the drowning man” who refuses several rescues attempts in the face of approaching floodwaters and keeps telling the rescuers that God will save him.

It is rather unfortunate that in this perilous situation of vulnerability, the security chiefs are helping themselves to siphon security and defence funds to build mega-structures and plazas in Abuja and elsewhere across the country.

It is glaring that some of the security chiefs embezzled security budgets to help themselves set up businesses and contest elections, which if they win, will continue to acquire more ill-gotten wealth to the people’s detriment.

Dissecting the national security vis-à-vis global security, the United Nations Office for the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) categorically affirmed that human security has gone beyond military protection alone, but rather involves other range of security areas such as economic security.

This can only be tackled through the implementation of effective economic measures such as the creation of employment opportunities for the teeming populations. These may help reduce poverty, which is a catalytic weapon that causes insecurity.

Obviously, the lack of jobs and employment opportunities spurs young adults into cybercrime and other forms of criminality which many young people in the country have taken to. They also prescribed the need for food security which will help to reduce the intensity of hunger, which easily lures people into criminality.

Another area is health security, which is the ability of the government to prevent disease through the provision of access to primary healthcare services which is lacking because our hospitals can at best be likened to what Late General Sani Abacha termed “mere consulting clinics.”

Many years after his coinage of this term to describe our hospitals, the situation still remains the same. Furthermore, environmental security is prescribed and encouraged as a panacea for national security.

There are calls for citizens to procure their personal security against all forms of criminal activities such as banditry, kidnapping, domestic violence, child labour and other social ills that are bedevilling our nation.

Also, community security should be enhanced to prevent inter-ethno religious tensions. Lastly, political security should be amplified to reduce political repression and human rights abuses by the government.

Realistically, without mincing words, Nigeria is weak and failing in all aspects of human security. This is the primary index that OCHA uses to measure and categorises states as strong and viable, or weak and failing.

However, national security is only achieved through shared responsibility among all stakeholders; it is not exclusively the duty of people in government.

That said, the government plays the leading role by setting and maintaining effective national security architecture that takes the responsibility of securing lives and properties seriously. Unfortunately, this government has not met the expectations of the citizens in this regard.

Read also: Insecurity: Will the military fervor in Owo check killings in Nigeria?

The four key factors in security management are personnel, information, funding and weapons. These aforementioned factors must be holistically dispensed, utilised, synchronised and effectively managed for optimum results.

In our case, the security personnel are demoralized, unmotivated, jittery and tired of a system that puts their lives in danger and jeopardy. Information as one of the key factors in security management is not objectively synthesized, adequately dissected, properly disseminated and officially channelled to debug and thwart the enemies’ conspiracy against the state and citizenry.

The recent attack on the Kuje Prison and the Nigerian Law School campus in Bwari, Abuja lends credence to this assertion. Also, the dough meant to pay the salaries and allowances of security personnel is often cornered, embezzled and shared by the politicians in cahoots with senior security personnel.

Lastly, most of the security personnel who are battling bandits and terrorists are not adequately equipped; they are rather armed with inferior ammunition compared to the more sophisticated weapon being carried by bandits and terrorists.

The presidency cannot claim ignorance of all these suppositions. In the meantime, our security architecture needs to be overhauled to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Notably, the current threats to national security can come in many forms. This could be in the forms of cyber criminality, and biological, chemical and explosive devices. Attacks could also come through computer viruses, acts of terrorism or internal insurrection.

It must be noted, therefore, that internal or external threats are not peculiar to Nigeria as a nation. These are happening everywhere in the world. However, the particular issue with Nigeria is that the government seems to be unserious about taking necessary measures to combat these threats decisively and sincerely.

Our ability to fight these threats headlong so as to reduce their effects on our socio-economic life is what matters to the citizens whose taxes are being used to finance public servants and politicians.

Since our government has been at its wit’s end, it behoves them to reach out to individuals, groups, organisations, institutions or countries with superior ideas on how to crush and eliminate insecurity which has rendered the government docile and ineffective.

Bello, a social commentator, writes from Canada

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