Laboratory scientists used to experiments would pontificate on how an insect inside a small container would easily choke to death than an insect inside a large container. Their argument was that the insect in the small container would feel the effect of the smoke faster than the insect in the bigger container because of space constraints, while the insect in the bigger container has enough space to escape from the harsh effect of the smoke by changing its positions.
This scenario appropriately describes present-day Nigeria, where there are palpable fear and concerns about insecurity.
As large and populated as the country is, with 36 states, security issues circulate faster and the people form opinions easily about the country, the security agencies and the government.
With pockets of insecurity across the country and choking those around the vicinity like the insect in the small container, it becomes more obvious when the affected people cry out for the sake of their safety.
When the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was first inaugurated in 2015, topmost on his campaign agenda was the issue of security. This won the hearts of Nigerians because of the build-up of insecurity in the country, especially the ground-gaining speed of the Boko Haram terrorists that had captured 18 local governments in the North East. Even Abuja, the federal capital, was not spared in their incessant attacks. Like the insect in the small bottle, the people of Borno were feeling the impact of the choking war, not the entire country. While economy, education, religious programmes and social life came to an abrupt end there, the people in Lagos, Cross River, Oyo, Imo, Ekiti and other states were experiencing substantial peace and uninterrupted social life plus unhindered movement, like the insect in the bigger container. Buhari was then managing the security situation because the security agencies were up and doing to checkmate the nefarious activities and excesses of bandits.
Every country of the world experiences insecurity, depending on how vigilant, effective and proactive the people, security agencies and the government are. On the part of the people, who most times are hoodwinked by political propaganda, false information and rumours, their negative attitude and belief that they don’t owe the country any allegiance, further fragment the good relationship they ought to have with the security agencies and government.
This erroneous notion contributes to the fanning of the embers of insecurity being circulated across the country when the situation is really not like they deem it to be.
On their part, the security agencies, especially the armed forces (Army, AirForce and Navy) have delved into the internal security architecture by offering a helping hand to the police.
They should be appreciated and seen as very patriotic citizens. They should be revered anywhere they are sighted. They have not abdicated their responsibility neither have they absconded from the onerous task to provide safety for life and property of Nigerians, despite the pockets of insecurity recorded in a few states of the federation. The question is, “how can police fight criminals if they are not adequately funded? How can the police check insecurity that is peculiar to some states when their population begs to be upgraded to the United Nations ratio of one police officer to guard 400 people? We are inadequately policed, as the giant of Africa. The police personnel are not well remunerated like in other countries. Despite the deplorable condition of service of our security workforce at the borders and at their various beats, those that are committed still carry out their duties with all their strength, except the few Judases that see money as their god and they are easily swayed to perpetrate evil to the detriment of their institution and society. Even at that, the government bears the brunt of the problem of insecurity. Indeed all the accusing fingers from the international community and internally are pointing to the ineptness of the leadership at both the federal and the state government. International appraisal of the unemployment rate in the country speaks volumes: number of closed companies due to unfavorable business environment are on the increase. Our unchecked population indices negate any proper planning. To crown it all, state and federal governments openly abdicate their responsibilities to the citizens.
Unfortunately, the federal government is only quick to point accusing fingers at the opposition and has not shown maturity in being truthful to the people. Take the issue of the abducted student, Miss Leah Sharibu, by the Boko Haram sect. Not being truthful with the volume of crude oil being explored and the income. The government has not been truthful with financial dealings and transactions internally and externally. No wonder politicians are living ostentatious lifestyles at the expense of the impoverished larger society. So, a security threat to one is ultimately regarded as a threat to all.
The United Kingdom’s security alert to its citizens to avoid 21 states of Nigeia could have been waved aside as the ranting of a busybody country, but not so, because the government evidently shied away from stamping its feet with a firm commitment to tackle insecurity, except by mere talk that oftentimes has no consequence. How many times have we heard the Nigerian government issue insecurity/travel alert to its citizens abroad in South Africa, Ghana, Togo, etc, where Nigerians are not only molested but some are killed? The federal government gets jittery when foreign countries send security alert to their citizens here.
Government must wake up to its constitutional responsibilities and frontally address these issues of insecurity. It takes nothing off the government of President Buhari to emulate presidents like Donald Trump of America who does not look back while ensuring the safety and protection of every American resident in other countries.
In other words, the Nigerian government should resolve to be more proactive whenever insecurity rears its ugly head in any part of the country. By so doing, the people would be more open to help the security agencies with necessary information and the bruised confidence of security agents restored. Then can we affirm that the country is safe and insecurity may not after all be choking the people of Nigeria.
In the last column titled “Edo State security transformation,” it was erroneously stated that military President Ibrahim Babangida asked IGP Gambo Jimeta, “Where is Anini?” Not so, please. President Babangida actually put that question to IGP Etomi Inyang at Ikeja Airport. Sorry for the error.