The wave of insecurity in different states across the country is leaving thousands displaced and many dead, with major cities and even the hinterlands no longer the safe havens many hitherto regarded them. PAUL OKAH speaks with a cross-section of Nigerians on what should be done to curtail it.
Employment, adherence to security reports critical
Job creation will help to reduce the spate of insecurity experienced across the nation. As a result of joblessness, youths are being recruited by these deadly terrorists to provide intelligent reports for them. For instance, in Kaduna state, the Ansaru Group that broke out from Boko Haram is frequently hosting crusades and sharing fliers to young boys for recruitment. Annihilation of terrorists will act as a deterrent to others. Every advanced nation in the world kills confirmed terrorists to serve as a deterrent to others. But in Nigeria, we pay them, beg them, appease them, bow before them and even give them chieftaincy titles.
We should also learn to adhere to intelligent security reports. The Kuje Correctional facility’s attack could have been averted if the intelligent security report that was reportedly given to the Presidency up to seven times was taken seriously. Also, installation of CCTV at schools, churches, federal ministries, agencies and commissions will help in tacking insecurities through forensic investigations.
…Ahmed Adulsallami, scholar
Insecurity should be a matter of concern to everyone. The issue has been with us for many years and so wisdom is needed to tackle it. I was supposed to present a paper during the Blueprint Annual Public Lecture and Impact Series/Awards on 2023 Politics, National Security and Nigeria’s Stability, but I wasn’t able to speak because of time constraints as only two chances were given. Nevertheless, we need to talk on the way forward. The 2023 presidential election will hold a few months from now and it portends so much concern for stability, following the fragile peace and security epidemic across the nation that election exercises like the forthcoming electioneering periods could further fuel if not properly handled. Thus, peace and security is the foundation by which we can successfully carry out our forthcoming 2023 election and be assured of the nation’s stability.
Nigeria, like other nations, has done well and will always do better in the area of superior arms engagement expertise to assuage the various forms of the conundrum, except one. That is the critical form of terrorism that provides disguise for the other forms that the world is grappling with. Wisdom is better than weapons of war. The implication is that arms engagement is not condemned, but only one half of the equation.
…Amb. Peter A-E Okorugbo-Goodnews, security expert
Shooting criminals on sight the panacea
The issue of insecurity in Nigeria is both complex and simple. I think the government knows which way to handle it, but they are just reluctant about it. The government should give a shoot-on-sight order regarding anyone caught. This is not about arresting and imprisoning culprits as, at the end of the day, many of them are called repentant and forgiven or even escape from prison to resume their nefarious activities.
A case in point is what is happening in Abuja after Kuje prison break. Those people they are killing are human beings like them. So, they should also be killed in the same way to serve as a deterrent. I repeat that the government knows what to do, except if they are part of it or rather are gaining from it, especially security agents. Again, how can you tell Nigerians that people are being kidnapped along a road and yet there are several checkpoints? The kidnappers are often in army uniforms armed with loaded guns, etc. How did they get all these arms if not with the connivance of security personnel? Yet, they will escape through the same route; with security men on guard. Is it not magic?
The issue of ransom payment is also discouraging as the criminals use the money to buy weapons. However, you are only paying that ransom because of the lives of those being held hostage. Money can’t buy life. If only our security men will be able to cooperate during this time of ransom payment, like tracing them when the ransom might have been dropped, then we will be heading somewhere. This is because they usually collect ransom in cash. So, the criminals should be shot at sight and that will discourage others.
…Peter Adebanjo, activist
Investigate, punish corrupt security officials
The solution to insecurity lies with the government mustering the needed political will to tackle it. A decade-long Boko Haram conflict with no end in sight has led to one of the world’s most severe humanitarian crises with an estimated 27,000 people, most of them civilians, killed. Nigeria currently faces a considerable corruption risk across its defence institutions, with extremely limited controls in operations and procurement.
Corruption has an undeniable impact on the current security situation resulting in the waste of billions of dollars’ worth of public funds through corrupt defence procurement practices and the abuse of the opaque security funding system known as “security votes.”
These are public funds that could have been otherwise more productively directed towards countering security threats and building a modern and efficient defence force. All over Northern Nigeria, hunger is stalking millions of homes, inflation is making life difficult by the day, people are losing jobs, businesses are closing down, infrastructure is decaying, young people are losing hope, hospitals are full of people who suffer mysterious illnesses, and they cannot afford the fees.
This situation exacerbates the security situation and poses a severe threat of greater conflict. There should be immediate, transparent and comprehensive investigation into growing concerns over rampant defence corruption running into trillions of Naira. There is an urgent need for the government to explain what is inhibiting the ability of the nation’s armed forces to effectively tackle the insurgency threats in the North-east, banditry and kidnappings in the North-west and to respond to the secessionist violence in the South-east, oil bunkering in the Niger Delta, the conflict in the North-central.
There is an imminent danger in neglecting millions of citizens who are internally displaced and hundreds of thousands of orphans living with hunger and malnourishment. The government should overhaul the existing institutional mechanisms involved in dealing with the management of the humanitarian disaster before the problem becomes much worse than it is.
…Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, spokesperson, Coalition of Northern Groups
Referendum, annihilation of terrorists
We have lamented, cursed, cussed and criticised, oftentimes just for the fun of it, but without proffering solutions to insecurity or things we’re not comfortable with. Some governors and other top government functionaries are alleged to be sponsoring these terrorists with billions of Naira, with pretence to appease them to stop killing citizens. Where in the world does a government pay terrorists, instead of annihilating them? Top military officials are the ones aiding terrorism. If not, how can they pretend not to know the terrorists’ hideouts? But some people always negotiate on behalf of the kidnapped victims.
When the federal government learns to annihilate and crush the terrorists completely, it will act as a deterrent to others. A few days ago, I saw some so-called repentant Boko Haram insurgents wearing polo shirts with an inscription, “Forgive us, we have repented.” This was after a Boko Haram kingpin known as Wadume was sentenced to just seven years in prison. This brings to mind what the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, said sometime ago.
He said: “Forgiving the terrorists is up to God, but sending them to Him is up to me’. So, I know that the Nigerian Government is not yet ready to deal with terrorism; otherwise the government should kill them, instead of forgiving them. Referendum is another solution. Insecurity has existed in this one Nigeria for years. Let’s try something new by also dividing this country as a solution to insecurity.
…Sylvester Onyebuchi, ICT consultant