In an action that ideally should be described as commendable, but it is apparently not so in the views of some pessimists, President Muhammadu Buhari, this week, approved the sum of $1 billion for the procurement of security equipment.
Specifically, the money was approved for the purchase of military equipment for use in the fight against Boko Haram insurgency in the North-east zone and unrest in some parts of the country.
It would be recalled that while insurgency spearheaded by the Boko Haram in the North-east can be said to have been suppressed, terrorism activities of the group is undermining socioeconomic activities in the zone, causing death and destruction of property.
Similar terrorism activities also pervade the Northcentral Zone where herders and farmers frequently clash just as another, but yetto-be-identified herdsmen group, used to invade villages, maim and kill innocent people within and outside of the zone.
In the North-west zone, the story is not different.
Groups of gunmen there used to invade villages, regardless of the hour, to also maim, kill and destroy property of inhabitants, especially in Kaduna and Zamfara states.
It would also be recalled that the National Economic Council (NEC) had in 2017 approved the one billion dollars to be withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) for the fight against insurgency and other criminal activities across the country.
Revealing the latest development after a meeting of the Security Council, the Minister of Defence, Mr.
Mohammed Mansur Dan-Ali, said the President also ordered efforts to be intensified to secure the release of Leah Sharibu, the Dapchi schoolgirl still being held by Boko Haram insurgents.
“President Muhammadu Buhari gave approval for the purchase of more equipment for the military, worth $1 billion,” he said.
The minister said the security meeting extensively discussed activities that affect most of the states of the federation like Taraba, Zamfara and Kaduna, reviewed the security situation in the country and established a Division of the Army Sokoto to strengthen the security situation in the North-West region.
“We have operationalised a Division in Sokoto, there will be a Brigade in Katsina and another Brigade in Zamfara that will take care of the security situation in that area,” he said.
“The strength of security personnel has increased including the Air Force additional quick response group.
They have added enough manpower in that area.
” He said military personnel combed Taraba state and some weapons have been recovered from civilians.
Yet, while these efforts of the Buhari led administration are truly on course and sure to tame spate of terrorism, the fact remains that in history, every terrorist group has been guided by an irrational and unsound ideology.
Thus, in a bid to successfully quench any terrorist group with fi rearms, its ideology must be well mastered and formidable, relentless and coordinated campaigns against it on mass media and public debate launched.
Moreover, public institutions curricula at all levels must encompass broad and accurate ideological teachings while private institutions curricula must be guided with established principles to avoid teachings that might endanger the society.
Of course, high rate of unemployment in the country has contributed to terrorism.
It is, therefore, important for the government to create job opportunities and empower masses to prevent the able-bodied men and women from getting employed by criminals.
Terrorism is a tactic adopted mostly by the affluent individuals and groups who are willing to employ violence to accomplish specific goals.
In a bid to aggressively pose threats and adequately mitigate strategies and capacity of these forces, the government must maintain an effective cooperation and collaboration between the country’s security intelligence and its international allies in combating terrorism.
The country must embark on technological advancements and projects such as the installation of CCTV in towns and public places with proper monitoring, tracking and detective machines and other preventive technological measures capable of uncovering conspiracy against the populace.
Essentially, the consolidated and concerted effort of the government to exterminate terrorism would amount to nothing without the citizens’ participation.
Therefore, Nigerians must be vigilant and support the government in the fight against terrorism.
Media and fight against terrorism
In the midst of the debate over the right to freedom of expression and government’s efforts to ensure that the digital space and the mass media do not become a playground for terrorism and destabilisation, security agencies in the country have say they would maintain a balance between openness and national security.
They have, however, called on the nation’s media owners and practitioners to walk the fine balance between openness, on one hand, and national security on the other.
Speaking at an interactive meeting with owners and decision makers in the media industry in Abuja, this week, the Director-General of the Department of Security Service (DSS), Mr.
Lawal Daura, Director-General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ahmed Rufa’i Abubakar, and the Chief of Defence Staff , General Gabriel Olonisakin, said security situation in the country was within the control of the government but the media can help by greatly reducing the level of to which they sensationalise their stories.
The heads of the security agencies said the state of national security is not as bad as it is painted by the media.
In seeking the support from the media towards the achievement of security for everyone, the heads of the security agencies emphasised that sharing and coordination among security agencies and the media is essential to counter the ever-changing threats faced by the nation.
And, the security agents could not have said better.
The role of the media in tackling terrorism cannot be overemphasised.
The media should ideally be utilised by the citizens in exposing crimes and sensitising people against criminal acts.
By getting the citizens involved in information dissemination, the media would have created what can be called “Citizens Journalism.
” It is needless to say that an atmosphere devoid of peace does not attract foreign investors nor encourage local investors to invest.
Without investment, the much needed growth cannot happen and without growth, there cannot be development and unemployment will reign supreme.
An expatriate who is afraid of being kidnapped for ransom or bombed will not be willing to invest in a crisis ridden environment.
Therefore, to achieve growth and development, all forms of insecurity must be defeated and subdued completely and the media have a lot to do in this respect in order attract investors to the country.
Unfortunately, despite the very important role placed on the mass media by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the media are yet to rise to be effectively mobilised as a tool for combating insecurity in the country and this development made initiative of the security chiefs commendable.
Understandably, shortcomings of the media owners and practitioners arose from the fact that they are faced with many challenges, ranging from poor welfare package for media practitioners, lack of continuous and constant training and retraining exercises for media workers, the tendency of journalists to be self-censored for fear of victimisation by their employers to reluctance of citizens to give information for fear of being attacked.
Thus, for the media to effectively play its role in tackling insecurity in the nation, there must be improved welfare package, adequate training and insurance cover for practitioners to make them engage in conflict reporting in the interest of the public.
Tellingly, the security agents must work closely with the media players for effective crime fighting.
Holding of periodic workshops and meetings on sophisticated crime reporting among others are important to keep the journalists up-todate in modern trend in terrorism and other forms of criminal activities.