Examining citizens’ role in tackling insecurity

Insecurity is a social malaise that affects virtually all citizens and residents of a settlement, community or country. Tackling this nefarious menace should be the responsibility of all. Writes EDET UDOH.

It is said that as citizens whether individual or corporate, if everyone accounts for every family member and upholds the tenets of moral, religious, cultural, societal and traditional values, there would be no terrorists, bandits, robbers, arms smugglers, child traffickers, cattle rustlers, militants, corruption etc. Subsequently, the work of the government, military and security agencies would be easier.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Mr Boss Mustapha had, during the fourth edition of ‘Security Meets Business 2020’ organised by the Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) in Lagos recently, emphasised the imperativeness of all Nigerians to be responsible for the peace, security and development of the country while calling on all to imbibe moral, religious and socio-cultural values that would enable everyone to protect the sanctity of human life and remain one’s brothers’ keeper.

He said, “Let me reiterate that the determination to tackle insecurity requires the cooperation of all. Every member of the society has a level of responsibility. Some to volunteer information, some to provide counselling and some to engage in the theatre of the war itself.

“Above all, we must all resort to our moral and religious, socio-cultural values which would make all of us protect the sanctity of human life, abhor immoral and irresponsible behaviours and live up to our responsibility of raising good members of the society.

“Once our societies are populated with good moral and religious behaviours, the fight against insecurity would be easier to win. Once absolute peace is restored, the atmosphere would be created for our youthd to unleash their creative potentials and the economy would grow at exponential rate.”

Emergence of Boko Haram group

The Boko Haram group took control of several local government areas in the North-east most especially, Borno state and were responsible for pervasive bomb attacks in several parts of the country. In Abuja, for instance, the group bombed the UN House, Police Headquarters, Emab Plaza, Mogadishu Barracks and struck at the Nyanya Intercharge twice. Several churches, mosques and motor parks were not spared.  It invaded schools and abducted students in large numbers, thereby leaving trails of causalities and fatalities including loss of several property.

Buhari administration’s fight against insecurity

To tackle insecurity in the country, Mr Mustapha said since the inception of the current administration, government has put in place serious security measures which led to a reduction in the nefarious activities of terrorists of which he said as a result, no local government is currently under their control, road blocks have been dismantled, economic activities resumed in markets, motor parts and today, bomb blasts have significantly reduced, he noted.

These achievements, he said, could not be attained without deliberate efforts on the part of government, the military and security agencies through increase in budgetary allocation to defence and security agencies.

Internal security

On internal security management, the SGF said, “Government has set up a committee which included experts in the field and as a result of its recommendations, necessary approvals and directives have been given by Mr president to commence the implementation of community policing.

“A presidential approval has been given for a committee to evolve the application of appropriate science and technology, innovation (STI) including the use of CCTV, drones, satelite imagery, geo-positioning, among others, for effective crime control and protection of infrastructure as well as monitoring national borders. Plans are at advanced stage to finalise a functional and efficient national emergency number to enhance prompt response to distress calls by members of the public.

“Recently during a meeting between Nigeria’s foreign affairs minister, Austin Onyeama, his US counterpart, Mr Mike Pompeo, in which the US underscored the essence of its military cooperation with Nigeria by announcing its assistance to create a security force with the best training and modern weaponry. He also, announced that Nigeria was one of the first African countries to join the global coalition to fight Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and disclosed that as a result, it provided the sum of $350m in 2019 and would provide additional $40m for humanitarian assistance.

Effects of insecurity on economic activities

This also had its toll on economic activities as traders became circumspect in moving from one part of the country to another for their legitimate businesses. “Agricultural production was affected as farmers could not plant, harvest and transport agricultural produce freely. It also took its toll on foreign investment, instilling fear in potential investors as private business concerns were affected especially those that operate in shopping malls which were the target of the terrorists. Construction work on roads, mass housing sites and other government contracts were stifled with attendant toll on job creation,” he noted.

Causes of insecurity

Academics, researchers, development and security experts and even public commentators have listed the major causes of insecurity to include unemployment; corruption; imbalance in development; weak judicial system; illiteracy; inadequacy of basic amenities, whether social or infrastructural; narcotic/psychotropic substances; open borders; influx of arms especially, small arms and light weapons; inadequate distribution of wealth; ethno-religious animosity and shrinking socio-cultural value system, etc.

Socio-cultural value system

Almost on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, security agencies kill or arrest large numbers of criminals and bandits. Focusing on terrorism alone, since the very serious crackdowns on  Boko Haram terrorists, several thousands of the fighters have been killed and some of their enclaves have been destroyed. “But, is it not curious that since the spate of killings of the terrorists and destruction of their enclaves, they keep striking?  “Certainly, there is a stream or reservoir that is bolstering their ranks. This is evident in the number of suicide missions conducted particularly by teenagers.

“The officers manning the different points of entry into Nigeria that are compromised to allow illegal entry of weapons into the country; the officers and operations to thwart the efforts of bandits and terrorists that are compromised; the citizens who know and can identify the bandits and terrorists yet do not disclose the information to appropriate authority also compromise the fight against insecurity.

“Interestingly, these same individuals turn around to expect there should be peace and calm everywhere. Where are those weapons from, what are they meant for. These acts are perpetuated by those whose moral upbringing is suspicious. Those who have lowered their level of moral uprightness and for these reasons see nothing absolutely wrong in these acts.

Role of the corporate world against insecurity

Mustapha noted that, “Other areas the corporate world could assist in tackling insurgency include but, not limited to enhancing the competitiveness of the Nigerian industry; evolving robust policies that would adequately address the mortality rate of business concerns especially SMEs; evolving robust policies to encourage and guarantee successes of partnerships, equity angels, joint ventures, franchises, etc; evolving policies that should accelerate the movement of business entities from the informal to the formal sector; and pursuing the prescriptions of the Africa Productive Capacity Initiative (APCI) adopted more than a decade ago by the then Conference of African Ministers of Industry (CAMI), African Union and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) to facilitate the development of our manufacturing capacity and for that reason, our capacity for international trade negotiations.

Government’s new approach against insecurity

“It is not just lamentations all the way. As insurgency, terrorism, banditry, etc, linger. Government has considered and still considering different approaches to frontally and decisively deal with all forms of security challenges in the country with a view to enhancing our capabilities and capacities in internal security management and security operations,” Mr Mustapha said.

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