Following rising insecurity in the country, it has been gathered that Nigerians now spend trillions of naira annually to provide security for themselves and their property.
Former Chairman of the Police Equipment Fund, Dr. Kenny Martins, stated this at the fourth annual lecture of the BAT Communication Company with the theme: ‘Security Challenge and Implication on National Development’, held in Lagos.
He placed the issue of insecurity in the country on all the tiers of government, saying while the people were doing their part, the government is not.
Martin said: “Every day we are lectured that security is a collective responsibility. We are doing our bit, using tall fences and barbed wires to protect our houses, spending trillions of naira every year to hire security guards as well as purchasing and installing very expensive security devices to protect our businesses, residential premises and estates. We also pay our taxes to maintain our three tiers of government, their elaborate security services and the Armed Forces. We, therefore, expect our governments at all levels to play their part as well in ensuring the security of lives and property in our country.”
The concerned Nigerian lamented that most of the security issues in the country are politically motivated, hence the inability of the political leadership to control it when the issues got out hands.
“One thing that is common with politically motivated insecurity is that the initial elements of the source of insecurity are mostly started by non-state actors, but somewhere along the line, some state actors would see a potential political advantage for themselves in empowering the organisation or one of the belligerents with state resources thereby helping the organisation to grow faster and more powerful than they would have been able to achieve on their own.
“The next thing is that the state actor will then channel those new found notoriety and power of intimidation of their pet organisation against their political opponents, especially during the elections in order to win an undeserved victory at the polls or simply to give to a community that is opposed to the government something to worry about without showing its hand publicly,” he said.
While placing substantial blames on issue of insecurity on state operatives, he also had strong words for the opposition. “It happens sometimes that the opponents of the government will precipitate something or allow something to fester in their community in order to give the government a bad name. Sooner or later, international actors will show up and complicate the problem. Then it becomes a national crisis in Nigeria or recognised as such by the federal government. The two most important examples are the Boko Haram and the bandit crises,” Martins posited.
Giving Zamfara State as example, Martins said it’s one of the two current epicentres of banditry. “Initially, the government of Zamfara State was not ready to deal with the bandits the way they should be dealt with because they intended using them for political purposes. During election, parties that won in areas where the bandits were in control were parties that were in contact with the leaders of the bandits. The bandits would direct the villagers on what to do and they will obey because they are armed. They came to villages in about fifty to one hundred motorcycles. On each motorcycle, there will be three of them each armed with AK-47 rifle. They even attacked a town on a Sallah day,” he alleged.
Martins therefore said the problem of the country is ineffective leadership, even as he insisted that insecurity could be solved if the government is ready to take the bull by the horns.
Also speaking, a lecturer on security architecture, Dr. Kunle Olawunmi, who is a former air commodore and head of intelligence service in the Nigerian Air Force, said there cannot be development in any country if there is no security.