In an enlightening signal last week warning the country of potential danger, Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, lamented that involvement in numerous internal security operations was stretching the Nigerian Army to the limit. Buratai stated this at the inauguration of the Nigerian Army Resource Centre in Abuja. He said participation in operations to check militancy, pipeline vandalism, armed robbery, cattle rustling and inter-ethnic clashes were among myriad security challenges that “have stretched us close to our limits.”
Buratai’s concerns are instructive. They call for sober reflection on the logic behind a national security strategy that tends to put the armed forces, especially the Army, at the centre of virtually every internal security operation. The Nigeria Police, which ought to be equipped to perform its statutory role as chief internal security organ, has been effectively relegated.
The Nigerian Army is being looked up to for practically every security issue, and this is bad for national security. The police by their training are better placed to navigate the complex network of civil activities to track, prevent, and deal with crime. The armed forces can be called in only in some critical cases to assist.
The Nigeria Police must to be properly equipped to do its job to ease the unnecessary pressure on the military. – Vincent Obia