Avid readers of this column are definitely going to be surprised why for the second time consecutively we are bringing up the issue of insecurity. They ought not to be, security is the bedrock of every human society and if political history is true, without security, the concept of society as we know it today would not be. Our country we have been having security challenges but we all agree that it has become terribly aggravated in the last five years. Between last week when we spoke on this issue of insecurity and today, so much has happened to raise fresh reasons for bigger concerns.
In Borno state, precisely at the outskirt of Maiduguri the capital about thirty persons were brutally murdered, many men and women abducted and many cars burnt by the Islamic fundamentalist group, the Boko-Haram. There is a time limit within which people can’t enter into Maiduguri, these unfortunate victims were said to have arrived a little behind schedule and so were prevented from making the journey into the state capital. They parked and offered to sleep over at the location until the next day but unfortunately they didn’t make it. They slept and it went from natural sleep to eternal rest in the great beyond. Our people did not plan to die, they were healthy and radiated life, but the country that was suppose to offer them protection failed them; insurgents if that is what they are moved from their hide-out to those locations and killed them in the most brutal manner.
This happened in this country, last Monday night. It happened at the time our President was away to Ethiopia to attend the summit of the Organization of African Unity. It took place few hours after our President had told the world that he was deeply worried over the high level of insecurity plaguing Libya and expressed his readiness to help them. You can see the insincerity in what we do, a case of the blind wanting to lead the blind; to be blind in a world full of light is a big trouble on its own, you don’t see and yet you want to offer to lead another blind man. The big question is; would both not fall into a greater calamity? We saw our leader with those around him rising to observe a minute silence in honour of those killed, that was excellent. He also issued a statement condemning the act and pledging to do more to improve security in the country, this was great, yet it would have been marvelous if our president felt so much concerned to the point he could break his foreign tour and return home to personally oversee the situation.
Such small gestures have a way of registering great impact. It is a confident and morale boosting tonic. If the President had taken that option, the International community would have appreciated the enormity of the challenge facing us and the reaction would have been for them a clear proof of how serious we view the bad situation making life miserable for millions of citizens. Unfortunately we don’t always act right and that is one of the banes of insecurity in our land. We are not sincere about our motives and approaches. True! We all are in this crime, we confess with our mouth something different but in our hearts we are into something at variance with our public confession. Boko-Haram is the biggest challenge of our insecurity, the question has been; what do they want? They have sophisticated guns and enough money; the next question is, could they have been doing all this on their own? Is there International conspiracy? Do they have internal collaborators? Again what is their objective? How come the government has not been able to find answers to those questions and to let Nigerians know? Yet, everyday security forces capture members of the Boko-Haram and other societal deviants. What kinds of confessions do they make?
For some time we have been seeing pictures of captured Boko-Haram members and have been told the government is spending public funds to rehabilitate them. Nothing wrong with such a move, it is the government’s responsibility to restore her citizens who fall out of order. In this case that responsibility would have been noble if the threat posed by the group is done with and rested in a most beautiful manner, but in this instance the group is still dishing out violence in the most dishonorable manner, bombing everywhere, attacking homes and highways, sacred places, abducting and killing innocent citizens in the most brutal manner. And here is a government at the same time treating an enemy with kid gloves and giving them the best treatment, even better than our country offers our gallant officers and men who are paying the ultimate sacrifice that we may have a country at peace. What an irony? When we recruit felons and turn round to enlist them into our security forces, we create doubts over our objective. Our sincerity to enthrone sustainable security in our land also comes into question.
Last week our government is said to have released one thousand four hundred Boko-Haram members back into our society. No one has explained why they took the action and no one has said if such an action would promote or diminish the search for peace. This kind of action adds fuel to the challenge of sincerity. Increasingly many believe we are not serious in our desire to have lasting peace and those who hold such views, hold onto things they see happen in our society. You can’t want peace and at the same time promote nepotism. Injustice on its own would breed insecurity, inefficiency too. In an interview last Sunday wife of the slain Pastor Andimi disclosed that the army went around telling people to stay indoors because insurgents would soon strike and it wasn’t long after, the barbarians struck; killing and maiming innocent citizens. From the level of carnage it could be safely assumed that help was nowhere in-sight; that would raise the question; where were the security forces? Who gave them the information and what is their relationship with such sources?
We talk of restructuring and the north is refusing; yet leaders from that part of the country visit countries abroad and see that security structure is in layers. There is state police, township police and community police, each of them with independence in terms of operational commands. Big entities like universities, banks and big businesses have armed private guards who provide efficient security for those entities. In our case we are disarming the citizens and insisting that a nation as large as ours should run a one policing system. It wouldn’t work. We are talking about community policing, to recruit men and women into what is called constabulary police, voluntary security personnel, unarmed, under a central command; it won’t work. We need independent command systems. Foreigners are flooding into other parts of Nigeria including rural areas; it is time we begin to know who they are and the reason behind the heavy mobility. We will have security once there is sincerity of purpose.