Modu Ba’ana writes that NGOs should act within their regulatory guidelines
Recent events in the country have heightened public appreciation of the significance of intelligence gathering in the national security architecture. In a country where citizens are more inclined to criticize than to applaud, the onerous duty of maintaining law and order, defending the territorial integrity and generally ensuring that Nigeria remains a nation they can call their own is taken for granted.
It only takes a few episodes of chaos and mayhem to jolt members of the public out of the false confidence in “a free world” as they encounter the overwhelming capacity of the minority “undesirable elements” to wreak havoc on lives and property. In recent times, the corresponding countervailing impact of combined national security and defense forces on swift restoration of law and order has effectively curbed such outbreaks.
Security-conscious members of the public must have observed with alarm that the repeatedly effective clampdown on the sporadic outbreaks of civil disturbances, instigated by the increasing gangs of urban miscreants, has left the culprits with no option than to exploit the tendency for so-called NGOs to frequently take to the streets, in exercise of their rights to free expression, assembly and movement.
The self-styled activists, who emerge as small groups of noisy placard carriers, have no qualms attracting crowds of street urchins and other criminal elements who are eager to escalate the supposedly “peaceful and lawful” procession into a terrifying mob to achieve their ulterior motives of looting, robbing and mindless destruction of property of innocent people. Some of the NGO “civil rights activists” derive perverted pleasure from their enlarged entourage and the vandalism unleashed!
This symbiotic collaboration of self-professed intellectual socio-political activists with marauding mobs is the clear and present threat to law and order, peaceful co-existence and ultimately national stability and poses a perplexing challenge to the nation’s law enforcement and security agencies. It is also a perilous phenomenon which members of the public, security-conscious or not, must confront with as much boldness and resolve as its perpetrators defiantly display.
It is not a mere coincidence that the duplicitous roles of NGOs and “development partners” have also lost the “humanitarian” and “human rights” camouflage in the seemingly perpetual insurgency unfolding in the North East to the extent that the Nigerian Army currently considers them as problems rather than solutions and has halted the operations of a number of them.
Their foreign financed and administered operations have increasingly been not only independent but brazenly conflicting with the strategic interests of the military’s combat with the foreign-backed Boko Haram insurgents. Why should they resist scrutiny and control of their operations by the Nigerian Army in a theatre of war? Why should they be absurdly planning to stay for decades whereas all hands are on deck to eliminate the insurgents as soon as possible?
When you consider the implications of law enforcement and security agencies succumbing to the persistent pressure from the NGOs and their collaborators in high and low places to “respect” the rights of “activists”, the necessity of having law enforcement and security agencies is as glaring as the “evil genius” of the NGOs covert agenda of anti-governmental operations.
Much of these disturbing subterranean intrigues against our national interest are intercepted, unravelled by the highly patriotic and specialized professional operations of the Department of State Services (DSS), which routinely synergizes with the nation’s security architecture for needful action. In a recent welcome development aimed at raising the security consciousness of Nigerians and enhancing its compatibility with democratic norms, the service has been providing regular pro-active insight on emerging security issues.
In this context, the service recently alerted Nigerians about some groups plotting to undermine the nation’s security, peace and unity by exploiting political differences and other events within and outside Nigeria to destabilize the country and inflame passions across ethnic and religious divides with expected violent consequences. While assuring of its capacity to deploy the full weight of the law and other deterrent measures, the service enjoined citizens to remain law-abiding, peaceful and report any suspicion likely to inhibit public safety. It expressed determination to remain committed to maintenance of national stability in line with its statutory mandate of protecting the country against crimes and threats to internal security.
Remarkably, such positive initiatives in operations of the DSS coinciding with the appointment of Yusuf Bichi as DG has been noted with satisfaction even by Nigerians in diaspora. The Forum of Nigerians in Francophone countries in West and Central Africa has commended the service for being alive to its responsibilities as an institution focused on the preservation of national security.
In a communique at the end of its 59th independence anniversary reunion held at Hotel Tahiti Quarter Jak, Benin Republic signed by its president, Dr Isaac Oduma, the forum observed that the country is blessed with an outstanding institution with a committed leadership that is passionate about new reforms and keeping to its objectives in the DSS. It noted that the service has been exceptionally professional in handling issues that would otherwise dismember the country. The group said its members contribute the highest foreign investments back home and therefore could not fold their arms to watch the country go down through illicit means and urged the leadership of other security agencies to emulate and compliment the Department of State Services.
For us at home, it is high time to appreciate the need to give due priority to national interest above any pseudo-political activism and also to subject the NGO community to scrutiny and regulation to keep mercenary machinations at bay.
Ba’ana wrote from Maiduguri