The time is now for the federal government to review the nation’s deteriorating security architecture, writes Olawale Olaleye
The times are quite not promising and practically on every front. But in the midst of the prevailing situation is an even more disturbing development, which is daily exposing the inadequacies of the nation’s security strategies. And today, across the different regions, security is the issue.
First, follow this sequence. Last weekend, six people were reportedly killed when herders and farmers clashed in the Numan district of Adamawa State, the same place a group of people from the Bachama farming community allegedly killed some Fulani herdsmen in November of last year. The tension generated by this is still palpable.
In Zing town of Taraba State, some irate youths reportedly attacked policemen attached to the area command over the killing of a commercial tricycle rider. The youths, most of who are from Bitako village, attacked the officers over the alleged abduction and killing of the rider, who was reportedly killed on Sunday evening after he was taken by yet-to-be identified men to a nearby village, Dogwe in Monkin ward B.
Particularly niggling is a recent report that security agencies allegedly uncovered Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) fighters in Benue, Kogi and Edo States at the weekend. A presidency source has been quoted as saying the group had been operating within some North Central and South-south states, using foreign terrorists. They are also believed to be recruiting young men into their fold and killing innocent people. This development has no doubt created tension along some of the many fault lines that define Nigeria – ethnic, religious and regional.
Again, this is equally not pleasant. One of the horrendous pieces of news last week was that some suspected herdsmen set ablaze a farm belonging to Chief Olu Falae, an erstwhile Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), and destroyed crops worth millions of naira. The rampaging herdsmen, it was reported, razed the palm tree plantation and yam farm located on 40 hectares at Ilado in Akure South Local Government Area of Ondo State.
The National Assembly has waded into the security situation in the country with members recounting their personal ordeals. In talking tough, they raised the alarm over alleged occupation of certain parts of Nigeria by foreign militia believed to be perpetrating the ills in the country.
In the Senate session for instance, where a senator advised President Muhammadu Buhari to resign if he was overwhelmed by the challenge of securing the lives and property of Nigerians, a 14-day ultimatum was given to the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to fish out the perpetrators of the New Year’s Day massacre in Benue State, amongst others. Bayelsa East lawmaker, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, said it was disgusting that everyday someone either gets killed, kidnapped, or raped without those charged with the protection of life and property doing anything.
Senator Kabiru Marafa from Zamfara Central told his colleagues that Zamfara State was being occupied by a militia and that the governor, Abdulaziz Yari, as well as other critical institutions and stakeholders in the state were in the know.
To compound this, militants in the Niger Delta, after months of ceasefire, had threatened to attack some offshore oil and gas facilities in the oil-rich region. Behind this threat is the Niger Delta Avengers. You may recall that in 2016, the nation saw a resurgence of militant attacks on oil and gas installations in the Niger Delta. This evidently caused significant oil production fall.
These are outside such other security threats like kidnapping, armed robbery, ritual killings, and cult activities, lurking around to tear down the fabric of the nation, and of course, exclusive of the insurgency and terror attacks in the north-east. With these, should anyone be told in any clearer terms that there is serious threat to the security architecture of the country?
The state of the country is very tender at this point and tension-soaked and therefore, the various heads of the respective security agencies must urgently meet to address some of these challenges. The evidence that they have not been up to task is etched in the results of the many crises that abound and which the nation is still experiencing as it were.
There is an urgent need for a serious and total review, if not overhaul of the current security design of the country. What presently obtains has become insipid – unable to address or contain the weight of the subsisting challenges in many parts of the country.
The possibility that each day Nigerians wake up, it is to one or two stories on security challenges and this dictates that something urgent must be done. Ultimately, at the end of the day, the nation must have to embrace multi-level policing, not just in the spirit of true federalism as being marketed lately but as part of a comprehensive and genuine desire to sufficiently tame insecurity.