“Nigeria Police Force (NPF) said it has received and traced 172 cases of kidnappings and arrested some of the kidnappers in the last six weeks. This was revealed by the inspector-general of police (IGP) Kayode Egbetokun at a strategic security meeting with senior police officers from the rank of deputy commissioner of police and above on Thursday in Abuja to address insecurity in the country.” – Leadership Newspaper, 09 February 2024.
If Carl Von Clausewitz, philosopher, Prussian General and author, were to be alive, no one knows what would be going on in his mind considering the spate of kidnappings in the country as reflected in the quote above.
Regrettably, Nigeria is currently at war from many angles. To combat the war against kidnapping requires both kinetic and non-kinetic solutions.
Clausewitz’s concept of the Remarkable Trinity comprising the people, the government and the military must be balanced to enable a nation to win a war. The Prussian General in his famous book titled On War, depicted the concept in the form of a two-dimensional model- a triangle, with one of these three elements at each of its points. The people, in Clausewitz’s view, constitute the centre of gravity of the triangle.
Regrettably, Nigeria is currently at war from many angles. To combat the war against kidnapping requires both kinetic and non-kinetic solutions. While the political leadership will handle the non – kinetic aspect – “soft” less the use of force – while the military will take care of the kinetic part using lethal force. The war against kidnapping, banditry, and terror would be won if the triangle prescribed by the Prussian General is balanced. Simply, the initiation, prosecution and termination of war cannot be considered thorough without the intellectual examination of the relative balance of the will and purpose among a nation’s people, government and the military. The will to fight and the determination to defeat the enemy is a major step forward.
The Prussian philosopher theorised that the directing policy of government, the professional qualities of the military and the attitude of the population all played an essential part in winning a war.
Ideally, the people are at the top of the triangle to connote the primacy of that element in Nigeria’s democracy. Subordinate to the people but still superior to the military is the government. We need to get it clear that in a democracy, the military is subordinate to the political leadership.
The argument here is that the people will not have support for the government when their friends and relatives as well as families are being killed. Or their wealth is being recklessly spent without a sincere belief that the war being fought is worth the extreme cost.
It’s not good for the people to be angered, hungry and miserable for whatever reason. It will affect the society negatively because there will be a shift in the centre of gravity of the triangle. Thus, creating instability in the society. That is when it can be argued that The Remarkable Trinity is under threat.
Kidnapping for Ransom (K4R) is rampant and it’s predominant in about twenty states, according to a security advisory report of one of the oil majors in the country dated 01 February 2024.
One may argue that there is a fertile ground for kidnapping to thrive because of the country’s fragile economy. But how do we have kidnappers operating for ransom in about twenty states?
Defence which ought to be a blessing is now a burden. We now spend billions of dollars executing a war and buying sophisticated defence equipment for more than a decade. Money that would have been used to provide physical and technological infrastructure for over 200 million people is spent to execute a needless war. Weapons and soldiers only don’t win wars. “Honesty, sincerity of purpose and good governance are essential ingredients for politicians to possess and practice, if wars are ever to be won.”
A research report suggests that defence, a component of national security, can only provide a 30 percent kinetic solution to reduce the various crimes. While the remaining 70 percent solution is to be provided by those with constitutional authority using non-kinetic means.
Research finding from a reputable institution in 2023 shows that: All the 774 local governments in Nigeria have one form of security arrangement in place to tackle the problems of insecurity; all the 36 states have security councils with state governors as the head; and 15 states have security outfits akin to the Amotekun Corps. But some public intellectuals have argued that most states in the country do not have the financial muscle to establish security outfits that can operate like the Amotekun model.
Despite all the efforts, there is insecurity in many states of the country. The situation is so bad that the military and other security agencies are involved in one form of internal security operation or another in almost 32 states of the country, as reflected in a newspaper headline. A concerned Nigerian asked, “Why are we not getting results with the huge resources committed to providing security in the country?”
One has a feeling that there are non-state actors who are not interested in the nation having security. That is why the security situation in the country is so deplorable to the extent that we can liken crime to an “alternative economy” in the country. Crime in our country has all the components of an economy: people, supply chain, logistics, technology, funds (local and foreign), information exchange, trade (buying and selling), imports and exports, etcetera.
The welfare and training of the security personnel must be improved. Relevant equipment must also be provided, while intelligence gathering and the attitudinal change of every Nigerian are necessary if we are to win the war against kidnapping and other crimes.
The National Assembly has said that the recent acquisition of the T-129 ATAK helicopter and the King Air 360i aircraft for the Air Force by the Federal Government was an indication of President Tinubu’s commitment “to investing in the security infrastructure of our nation.” “Security agencies must be held accountable by the government and the people for all the funds allocated to combat kidnapping, banditry, and other crimes.”
All said, irrespective of our capabilities, there will be no success achieved in the fight against kidnapping and other crimes, if there is no political will on the part of those with constitutional power. The government, the military and the people must come together to solve the problem of insecurity in our country. Thank you.
MA Johnson, Rear Admiral (Rtd)