Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari, said in Maiduguri, Borno state, that the nation has entered what he calls the final phase in its fight against insurgents and criminals.
Thus, the President called on troops of Operation Hadin Kai to remain steadfast and charge more into the battlefields to crush the insurgents and criminals and make Nigeria safe again for everyone.
The President, who spoke at the Air Force Base in Maiduguri, reminded the soldiers that Nigerians are, indeed, grateful to them for their gallantry especially in ensuring the gradual return of peace to the North East. He, also, condoled with families of those who have lost loved ones empathising with the wounded.
He said: “I am delighted to be with you today and to convey my gratitude and that of the entire nation to you all, as you continuously strive to secure our dear country.”
No doubt, the crime rate in Nigeria is very high. With the lingering security challenges and the inability of the security apparatus of the government to guarantee safety and security in the country, the question that bothers everyone in Nigeria today is, can there be security? Is the security of lives and properties achievable?
Nigeria, in recent times, has witnessed an unprecedented spike in the level of insecurity with Boko Haram activities, banditry, kidnapping, and other forms of violent crimes recorded on daily basis. This development has made the national security threat to be a major issue for the Buhari-led government and prompted a huge allocation of the national budget to security.
While some point out that government, at all levels, have not done enough by not frontally and decisively dealing with the insecurity situation, others argue that the situation has a political undertone or inclination, championed by some people who feel dissatisfied and disgruntled about the political manifestations in the country.
The above assertions, true or false, a key starting point is to understand the causes of insecurity in Nigeria and deal with them comprehensively through a multifaceted approach, not only militarily as it now seems to be the favoured means.
In fact, it is necessary to identify and distinguish different causes as each may require a different remedy. More often, however, policymakers are disinclined to isolate and clarify particular causes. They prefer blanket references, with the consideration that the causes of insecurity are interwoven and contributory to one another.
This is even when it is obvious that, like in many other countries, the sources of insecurity in Nigeria are traced to a number of avoidable factors.
Yes, avoidable factors because insecurity in Nigeria is greatly a function of governments’ failures to deliver public services and provide basic needs for the people. The failure of governments to provide basic necessities to the people in Nigeria has created a pool of frustrated people who are easily manipulated to be violent.
Nigeria has the resources to provide for the needs of its people, but corruption in public offices, at all levels of governance, made it impossible for officeholders to focus on the provision of basic needs for the people.
A situation where the country earns huge revenues through oil sales but fails to use these earnings to meet the needs of its people and to develop infrastructure as well as the economy, no doubt, calls for disgruntlement among large sections of the society. And, with that, the crime rate is bound to rise and the security of lives and properties cannot be guaranteed.
Without a doubt, growing awareness of disparities in life is a major root cause of insecurity in Nigeria. The feeling of marginalisation by some sections of the people, therefore, has become a primary source of disaffection and resentment.
A large number of the Nigerian population is frustrated and has lost hope. In particular, the youths have now emerged to express their disillusion about the pervasive state of inequality and corruption plaguing the nation.
This situation, coupled with inadequate equipment for the security arm of government, both in weaponry and training, only highlight the inadequate preparations of governments to end the state of insecurity in Nigeria.
Sadly, in many cases, security personnel assigned to deal with given security situations lack the expertise and equipment to handle the situations in a way to prevents them from occurring.
Sometimes, due to the influence of corruption, some top-level security personnel easily get swallowed by their personal interest to serve their pockets, not Nigeria.
Therefore, such personnel, instead of defending national interests and people from becoming victims to activities of the criminals, sabotage governments’ efforts through either leaking vital security information or aiding and abetting criminals to acquire weapons and or escape.
Another cause of insecurity in Nigeria is the porous borders of the country, making it possible for people to move in and out of the country untracked. The border situation has made it possible for an unwarranted influx of migrants from neighbouring countries. These migrants, who are mostly young men, are some of the perpetrators of crime in the country.
Again, given the porous borders and weak security system in place, weapons come easily into Nigeria from other countries undetected.
Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) proliferation and the availability of these weapons have enabled militant groups and criminal groups to have easy access to arms. Nigeria is estimated to host over 70 per cent of about 8 million illegal weapons in West Africa.
Of course, as stated, many reasons account for the state of insecurity in Nigeria with different solutions to the problem proffered, including raising capabilities of the military and their readiness which seems to be favoured by the Buhari-led administration. However, while that cannot be entirely faulted, good governance is needed to end the insecurity challenge in Nigeria.
The war against insecurity will be won only by making governments at the federal, state and local government levels responsible and accountable to the people.
Good governance is a function of effective, visionary, transparent, trustworthy and credible political leadership whose driving force is improvement in the collective wellbeing of the citizens through well-conceived, effectively implemented economic policies and human development programmes.
Of course, the essence of solving the insecurity problem in Nigeria is to accelerate the pace of development with a view to creating an economy with relevant social, economic, and physical infrastructure for business operations and industrial growth, to provide gainful employment, better education and healthcare for the people.
But these objectives can only be met if governments have as their main focus the development of the country and its people as a whole and fight to stamp out corruption in all its ramifications.
Corruption is the cog in Nigeria’s wheel of progress and development. It is the bane of our society. It is both a social and economic monster. It is the cause of inequality and inequitable distribution of our nations’ wealth among its citizens, and the root cause of disaffection among Nigerians.
No doubt, fighting corruption and winning the war against it will bring about fairness, social justice, peace and a better Nigeria where every Nigerian will be treated and accorded a position not based on tribe and sect, but on merit defined in terms of the content of his character, mental capacity and ability to deliver.
And when that is achieved, President Muhammadu Buhari will be prouder to stand before the soldiers and re-echo his words: “I am, therefore, here on behalf of a grateful nation to thank and commend you for your service and sacrifices.”