By: Rt Hon Abdullahi Bello
The problem which confront us as a Nation today especially as it relates to Banditry, kidnapping etc are not with the criminal actors themselves, but with our policy-makers!
Policy makers in our country have poor understanding of our security challenges, because of their wrong definition of what security or insecurity is all about.
Security is commonly associated with the alleviation of threats to cherished values, especially those which if left unchecked, threaten the survival of a particular referent object in the future.
In view of the above stated and accurate definition of security, then how did we promptly reacted to the acts of criminal bandits when it reared it’s ugly head in some parts of the Northern States, before spreading to other parts of the country?
What meaning did those at the helms of our affairs gave to the bandit’s criminal actions when it began in the North?
And even, when it became obvious that all of us are under attack by the insurgents/bandits by way of kidnapping, rape and outright killings across the country, what was our government’s response?
We wasted much time in the manner of our response thus giving more space to the criminals.
Some popular actors in our country even believe that negotiating with the criminals will deter them. But this has left us in more pains as the current trends suggest.
More and more of our people are being killed, kidnapped across Nigeria today as if we don’t have governance.
Our school children are not spared, as schools are being destroyed and disrupted in most parts of the country.
Some victims were kidnapped while on transit or more painfully from their bedrooms.
Recently the wife of a retired senior police officer was murdered in her home in Makurdi the capital of Benue State by some unknown persons.
*And now the son of one of us just lost his life along Ogori-Magongo road!!!*
What a great tragedy!
Many kidnapping of prominent and lesser known members of our community, State and Nation has been recorded overtime.
All these are signs of an increasing activities of criminals across the Federation after it emerged that we are not strong enough to deal with the situation, ie when videos emerged showing bandits with their unlawful weapons sitting with some respected Nigerians in the name of dialog.
We’re faced with mixed and multiple characters here, as some of these criminals have taken the identity of each other as franchise.
Some of us believe that creating large army/police with the most advanced weapons may solve our current problems of banditry, kidnapping and the lingering Boko-haram insurgency.
Military operations has it’s limitations as we have observed so far.
Until those in charge of our affairs give the exact meaning to our current security challenges, where our survival as individuals, group, state and or the nation at large is greatly being threatened by the most extremely deviants part of our population, some of whom are said to be foreigners our nation will not have peace.
Having grasped with the reality and it’s continued hard hitting effects on our collective lives with huge disruption, pains and in more cases ‘death’, we must urgently address our socio-economic inadequacies with honest approach.
A situation where public money voted and released for social intervention schemes are either diverted or willfully abused will not help us out of our present predicament.
Yes, some few who benefits and are still benefiting from these corrupt practices may have temporal joy, but in the long run it increases our insecurity which affects everyone both the rich and the poor in our society.
Government at all levels must sincerely get to all of our people wherever they are and attend to their basic needs, and we cannot do this without accurate data.
The failure and our inability to capture the Nation’s population into an acceptable uniform data storage bank has contributed to this problem, and left us vulnerable to the extent that many foreigners are today all-over our country committing grievous crimes, and have taken over the ungovern land space in our country and continue to perpetuate their criminal activities for so long.
Imagine that the National ID card project never succeeded after so many years?
I’m not totally against dialog but at what cost?
Having kidnapped, rape and killed my fellow citizens without remorse, how do I sit with these people in the name of dialog or negotiation?
What exactly do they want that killing my people is the way to go?
Government should declare all forms of insurgency, banditry, & kidnapping by known and or any unknown organizations, be it Fulani herdsmen, Ibos, Yorubas, Ebiras, Igalas, Ibibios, Ikweres, Kanuris, Hausas, etc, as acts of *terrorism* and let those apprehended be treated so, and make to face swift justice.
The slow pace of our judicial system has indeed compounded our problem too.
How many of these bandits/kidnapppers have been arrested? And where, or how fast and proportionate was justice served on them?
We must as a matter of importance embrace information technology towards eliminating the current scourge from the nooks and crannies of our country.
Finally, we must also come up with an efficient and effective ‘National Security Policy’, for Nigeria.
This is where the expertise and the decisive role of our National Security Adviser comes in.
Remember he was appointed as national security adviser, and not national defence adviser. All our efforts before now are merely about defence and nothing much on internal security which remain crucial to our National survival plan.
Our Nation’s Academic Scholars on Security and Strategic Studies across the country should be involved in drawing and driving the project of setting up a national security policy to address the unending confusion about the true meaning of security in our Nigeria, and incorporate the issues of internal conflicts & various local agitations, social needs, effective and improved health care system, climate change, the lack of respect for our laws by govt at all levels and corruption, for these has greatly contributed to our internal security challenges which has led us to this precipice!