Nigerians, save Nigeria! – Guardian

From the North-East to the South-East, from the Niger Delta to the western axis of the country, the tragedy of today’s Nigeria is that security breaches occur daily with revolting impunity.

Human lives are lost to brigands and blood-thirsty savages in homes, in schools, in places of worship and on the highways.

Indeed, Nigeria, sadly, has become the metaphor for life not only short and brutish but also meaningless and without any premium.

This needs not be so, since there is a government in place that swore to a constitutional oath that its primary purpose and duty would be the security of the lives and property of all Nigerians.

That government is hereby being called upon by all Nigerians to fulfill its mandate without delay and save Nigeria from the jaws of destruction!

A traditional ruler put it succinctly the other day when he said that nobody is safe now, whether in your house or road or wherever you are, many people have deserted, abandoned their farms in fear of kidnapping and killings and other atrocities… and added that what Nigerians need the most now is security.

Indeed, failure of the government to act against the breakdown of law and order and an appearance of helplessness in the face of the insecurity the people are living with is tantamount to a desertion of the mandate given to the government by the same people. This is a serious indictment for which any government should cover its face in shame.

Although the president has ordered the nation’s security chiefs to arrest the situation, the people are hardly impressed by this seemingly lacklustre and rather late intervention from the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. It can only be interpreted as trivialising the gravity of the serious situation confronting the nation that the president went on a ‘private visit’ abroad while the nation was and still remains on fire.

These days, both the rich and poor are at the mercy of bandits and murderous herdsmen. Interstate movement is at best precarious because these scoundrels have the capacity to show up virtually anywhere in the country without adequate response from the government.

The Nigeria Police Force is constitutionally charged with the responsibility of guaranteeing internal security. At the last count there, there are fewer than five hundred thousand police officers for a population of about two hundred million.

A significant number of these officers are attached to public officers and institutions as guards. Urgent steps should be taken to increase the number of policemen.

The men and officers need training and morale-boosters. The average Nigerian cop lacks the self-confidence and moral authority required of a police officer. Proper and modern equipment should be provided. It is also an open secret that corruption is pervasive in the police force as a group.

The high command, of course, is as well entrenched in corruption as the rank and file and it is well known that some of the officers obviously live on filthy lucre, over and above their means. Promotion is often based on factors other than merit and seniority.

What is worse, some senior army officers too have complained about inadequate or absence of operational orders to effectively deal with the menace posed by Boko Haram, even the Nigeria Air Force operates without ground data.

Indeed, the nation is at the mercy of impunity and lawlessness. Nobody has been arrested and prosecuted for the crimes in the Middle Belt and other parts of the country. Those behind the Abuja bombings who were arrested were later released without consequences for their action.

Nigeria’s leaders should therefore revisit the composition of the security apparatus of the country.

Whether it was inadvertent or otherwise, having all security chiefs from one section of the country is not only counter-productive and does ill to the promotion of federalist principles which ought to knit the nation together, it actually breeds distrust and actually undermines national security as well as cohesion.

How much does the Nigeria Police need to upgrade its services to the nation? Or is there more to it than the eye can meet in the breakdown of security? Is the government not inadvertently providing funds for herdsmen to acquire more weapons?

There is palpable tension across the land, affecting all cadres and classes of society. There is fear and uncertainty across the country.

The Muhammadu Buhari administration has certainly not built a spirit of confidence in Nigerians by providing competent, firm and purposeful leadership in the face of insecurity.

It would seem that the fight against all kinds of marauders has become an industry for some people to make stupendous wealth illegally. Such persons, in and out of government, would, therefore, not want the war to end. But the cost of the war on development is enormous. It scares investors and breeds a population that is permanently unsettled.

Deep concern for quelling the insurgency has been overtaken by politics. Also, the identity of the marauders the people are dealing with is still hazy and confusing. Are they Nigerians or wanderers from other places? Is there a risk that these bloodhounds could overrun some territories in the south as they have done in some parts of the north? This is a fearful prospect which a good national intelligence apparatus with the appropriate network ought to unravel.

The nation’s security system deserves an overhaul and should be properly motivated to deal with the situation all over Nigeria. Nigerians are in danger. Nigeria is in danger. It is time to save the nation that prides itself as the beacon of hope for the Black race.

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