The Security Challenge in Nigeria
In this present period of dispensation where we have 36 states and Abuja, a centralized system of policing has not, and cannot, effectively enforce law and order adequately. Boko Haram has long been spreading its claws of death and tentacles to defenceless men, women and school children, whose dormitories it overran at past midnight like marauding beasts, carting away female students as hostages and leaving behind pools of blood arson in its trail.
One begins to wonder how a convoy of government vehicles would be moving and a whole lot of Nigerian children taken captive from their school at Chibok in the middle of the night, and yet there was a state-of-emergency declared in Borno state. One will like to ask, where were the security agents, particularly those charged with the responsibility of enforcing the state-of-emergency (curfew)? Where was the Chief Executive security of the state, the Governor, who has the overall responsibility of making sure the state-of-emergency was enforced?
The security agents and the Chief Executive state security officer – the Governor – should be held accountable and be made to bring back the Chibok girls taken captive. They knew where the state government vehicles took the school girls to. The state governor and other security agencies should be held accountable.
The Nyanya bomb blast killed no fewer than 100 persons and inflicted varying degrees of injuries on the surviving victims. Jos city, the capital of Plateau State, witnessed in the early hours of Sunday, March 7, 2010, another unbearable blood-letting, perpetrated by Fulani ethnic militia. The report of the genocide received very strong condemnation from the United Nations, the Vatican, the European Union, Britain and the United States of America. The security agents sent to calm the situation turned their backs and did nothing, which suggested that they took sides.
The continuous incidents of Benue genocide also attracted the attention and condemnation by many countries of the world. The Fulani militia in Benue operated freely, in spite of the presence of security operatives, who decided to turn a blind eye at the Agatu incidents.
One of the contributing factors to these attacks is the failure by the Legislature and Federal Government to implement the resolution and recommendation of the last National Conference. Today, there is widespread despair among Nigerians because of the failure to deliver on the promises and expectation of a supposedly elected civilian rule. Kidnapping has graduated into profitable industry and robbery has assumed an unacceptable dimension. These criminal warlords now control the streets and major cities of the country.
Besides, an estimated 170 million population has a very large youth population presently unengaged, unemployed, untrained and unskilled, and so cannot by any means contribute meaningfully to the prosperity and growth of the country. The youth have become a target group for politicians to recruit into the deadliest militants that we have been seeing in our towns and streets.
Recently, the Shiite community has pulled out of the judicial commission of enquiry into the dispute/clash between its members and the army for their inability to have access to their leader. While the 1999 constitution grants Nigerians the right to freedom of religion, the governor of Kaduna State has sent a bill to regulate religious preaching in Kaduna, without first holding public hearings on the bill and listened to all the stakeholders. This has once more created tension, ill-feeling and sense of insecurity in the state. An anti-Christ cannot stop Christians from obeying Christ’s final command to take the Gospel worldwide.
There were waves of violence, which swept the period of elections in Kogi and Rivers states, which resulted to killings of innocent people in the re-run elections. The Police appeared incapable of dealing with the problems effectively. Armed Fulani herdsmen are busy killing, burning villages to make way for their livestock, fight between Hausa and Yoruba spreading from Lagos to Ogun state and some parts of the Eastern states, and yet the administration of President Buhari has not said a word on the killings.
On the issues of agitation for self-determination, we cannot stop the agitation so long as injustice in the country continues. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) believes thus: “A centralized Police cannot enforce law and order adequately everywhere, whereas you could remove Police from the exclusive list, enable the 774 local governments, not even states, to have authority over municipal policing and then define what each person can do.” To our mind, this will be one of our numerous solutions to lessen the tension and lack of security in the country.
The former chairman, NBA, Ikeja Branch, Monday Ubani, said the recent killings in Rivers state attest to the fact that matters have snowballed out of the hands of the security forces.
Agbakoba believes that the way out is to have the State Police as well as Municipal Police. The nature of our federalism is problematic; it creates a lot of inefficiency because the sovereignty resides only in the Federal Government. Corruption, which was the change mantra adopted by the Buhari administration, will be tantamount to nothing without the implementation of the National Conference report.