The topic of this essay obligates us to take a brief look at the word, ‘Security’.
Wikipedia defines it as: The degree of resistance to, or protection from, harm. It applies to any vulnerable and/or valuable asset, such as a person, dwelling, community, item, nation, or organization.
As noted by the Institute for Security and Open Methodologies (ISECOM) in the OSSTMM 3, security provides “a form of protection where a separation is created between the assets and the threat.” These separations are generically called “controls,” and sometimes include changes to the asset or the threat.
Security is said to have two dialogues. Negative dialogue is about danger, risk, threat, etc. Positive dialogue is about opportunities, interests, profits, etc. Negative dialogue needs military equipment, armies, or police. Positive dialogue needs social capital, education, or social interaction
In Plain terms, Security is defined as the state of being free from danger or injury. Thus, to be secured means to be in a state of good or complete security (in a manner free from danger, injury or fear). The state of security in Nigeria is an issue of utmost concern, since it is the central figure regulating the progress, stagnation and retrogression of all other sectors of the nation’s economy and the artist whose impressions are represented on the fresco of our national image both within and outside the nation.
William Shakespeare once said: ‘Security is the chief enemy of mortals’.
The case of the security challenges in Nigeria has been a recurring decimal that has caused more harm than good from the past decades through to recent times. The lapses and inefficiency in the nation’s security has given birth to a lot of perpetrators of evil who have become more empowered through the passage of time to carry out their nefarious activities and atrocities.
Some of the off-shoots of the comatose security condition of the nation are; Armed Robbery, Bunkering, Vandalizing and stealing of public and private properties, Cultism, Kidnapping or Abduction, Ritual killings, Trafficking in persons, Communal clashes, Pre-meditated murder (assassination),’ Boko Haram’, Militancy, Sea piracy, Religious killings, Fulani herdsmen killings, Jungle justice and etcetera.
The disheartening effects of the devious acts of these children of our debilitating security system are seen in the loss of lives, property, self and national image through the various bombings, killings, molesting and other vicious acts of these gangs.
Cases such as; ‘ALUU 4’, various bomb blasts, kidnapping of CHIBOK girls, killings of innocent citizens in the northern states of Borno, Niger, Bauchi ,Plateau, Kano and Abuja-the Federal Capital Territory- and the killings by herdsmen in various parts of the country have caused a lot of sorrow. The list of the atrocities goes on and on till words fail.
The unwholesome consequences of our poor security state have extended its tentacles to other areas of the economy as the nation’s economy can no longer run on a 24-hour bases or woo foreign investors because of the bad light in which the nation is portrayed as a place not safe to do business or carry out transactions. Foreign experts in various fields have cold feet in coming to Nigeria to work, because their colleagues have previously been victims of abduction or robbery or any other vicious act.
Thus, this state of insecurity has created an abyss of evil for the nation in a direct and indirect manner. Not long ago, the United States of America and other international communities classified Nigeria as one of the terrorist nations of the world, advising their citizens to be wary of visiting the country (although that judgement has been reviewed now). Furthermore, the depraved image of our national security is observed in the way her citizens are treated when travelling to these highly developed and security conscious nations.
However, Nigeria is an entity comprising both common citizens, the elite, the public servants and the law enforcement agencies. Without mincing words, all these classes of people have vital roles to play in ensuring better security for the nation.
The panacea for a secure Nigeria is embedded in revamping the comatose security system which will revitalize the debilitating state of the nation’s security. Measures to be put in place are discussed in the paragraphs that follow.
First and foremost, more security outfits should be created and empowered to act as a check and balance system. Taking a cue from the United States of America who has succeeded in combating crime and tracking criminal activities through the establishment of various security agencies such as: the US Marshalls, Criminal Investigation Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), Secret Service, Homeland Security and the various state police departments.
The multiplicity and multidimensional operations of these security agencies has efficiently combated crime. Thus, Nigeria government should empower our security agencies like the; Nigeria Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Air force, Nigeria Police, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Securities and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), various State Security Services (SSS), Nigeria Customs, Man O’ War, Local Vigilante, Private Security Agencies and Security agency coalition such as; the Joint Task Force (JTF); with the needed skills, intelligence, gadgets and weaponry, so they can be better placed in combating crime. Also, more security outfits should be created and assigned to major on specific areas of the broad spectrum of criminal activities.
Diana, princess of Wales once said: ‘I don’t want expensive gifts; I don’t want to be bought; I have everything I want. I just want someone to be there for me, to make me feel safe and secure’.
Furthermore, identifying, probing and prosecuting corrupt and devious security officers and personnel will go a long way in restoring the state of good security for the nation. The modus operandi of this approach can be harnessed from the analysis of the previous paragraph as there shall be no ‘Sacred Cows’ since the multiple security agencies have the authority to investigate, probe and prosecute defaulting security officers without the fear of losing their jobs; because they are not necessarily under the particular security agency they are probing.
In addition to the above, respite can come to our national security through the utilization of undercover detectives, secret agents and agent provocateurs to fish out these culprits and potential criminals even before the crime is carried out. However, the identity of the security personnel in covert operation must remain anonymous even to the kith and kin of the agency he is working for in order to ensure his own safety.
Considering another method, severe laws can be enacted which attracts consequences without option of fines. This is to act as a deterrent to those who will commit both premeditated and instantaneous crime. The rich and affluent that are fond of buying their way out of crime because of their surplus wealth will definitely be trapped in the impenetrable jaws of such laws. Today’s real borders are not between nations, but between the powerful and the powerless, free and fettered, privileged and humiliated.
Another potent method to employ is the creation of security for and the eradication of persecution or witch-hunting of whistle-blowers. The government and security agencies must ensure the anonymity and security of whistle blowers who are innocent individuals who come forth to divulge sensitive information about criminal activities. If this is established and a reward system even instituted, the whistle blowers or informants will be more forth coming and helpful; since they are the eyes and ears of the security agencies in the communities and neighborhoods.
As an addition to the list, government and security agencies can be of great help by ensuring parents and teachers educate their children and students on the negative effects of crime and being involved in it. As rightly said, Man is a tabula rasa; he becomes what we make of him. In this light, parents and teachers are to imbibe in him, the passionate aversion for crime in every shade of it. And if this is done, we will gradually frustrate perpetrators of crime as they will have no candidates to use as their proverbial ‘cat’s paw’. The negligence of this approach is observed in the use of the ‘Almajiris’ of the north to perpetrate crime by various sects.
Lastly, giving of amnesty or ‘light prosecution’ (Plea Bargaining) to criminals who are co-operative and helpful in identifying and prosecuting other criminals will eradicate a whole lot of criminal activities since the apprehended criminals, who were once a part of the gang, are abreast of their modus operandi and well versed about their proclivities.
In conclusion, the security of our great nation is a collective responsibility and we can only achieve great success if all hands are on deck and there be no aiding and abetting or conspiracy to commit crime. If all these variables are put in place and other things been equal, we shall be a great and secure nation.
Williams O.U. (+18324751215)
Writes from Houston, Texas