Insecurity – Preamble The stability of every nation is, to a large extent, dependent on its security: security of its borders, internal security, economic and social security, etc. Without security, all plans for the development of a country could remain a mirage.
Cases of insecurity in Nigeria now metaphors for banners erected in every corner of the land; one can rarely shy away from its obviousness. Recently, it has become hard to differentiate between war films and the news on our TV screens, between bloody thrillers and the horror stories we read on newspapers.
Those who gather to discuss the pitiable maim of the country are almost mistaken to be gossipers of the World Wars Killings as a result of banditry, kidnapping, assassination, armed robbery, reckless use of force by security agencies and lynching, have in recent times skyrocketed beyond belief. What shall we do? Meanwhile, with stern certainty, the African-Yoruba’s hold profoundly the saying: ‘Bâ’ikuile o pâ’ anit’ odekâ’ olep’ ani.’ A commendable transliteration interprets it as, ‘If one is safe within, one will be safe externally’
This maxim is relevant here especially against the backdrop of clamors for development in many African territories. This piece, therefore, laments that there is an enemy within called insecurity and if it is undefeated, the development will continue to be a perpetual dream for most African countries.
Insecurity and Development
REALITIES AT WAR What we refer to as Development can rightly be seen as the process of attaining growth or change into something bigger, stronger or more advance. In this case, it denotes a territory’s ability to attain progression in all aspects of its existence. On the other side is insecurity; the state of fear or anxiety stemming from concrete or alleged lack of protection or inadequate freedom from danger.
Now, the issue is that insecurity comes with uncertainty and a hazy prospect into the future. It blurs a nation’s vision into the future and renders it incapacitated to record a reasonable degree of development. A country besieged by insecurity is amputated in its ability to grow; plunged by anxiety and lack of confidence to mature. It has become a case of mist in the pulpit causing thick clouds on the congregation.
The Catholic Bishops of Nigeria in a press release, without shredding words averred that’ when there is no justice or justice is not seen to be done, there cannot be peace. When there is no peace, there cannot be development’
THE NIGERIAN SITUATION:
A GLIMPSE The current Nigerian situation is one that is rightly described by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, as ‘totally collapsed’
He lamented while decrying the wanton wasting of human lives in Zamfara, Niger, Yobe, Benue and Imo states. Insecurity has mounted across Nigeria. In the Northwest, gunmen have kidnapped more than 700 school children since December 2020, part of a broader breakdown of law and order that has seen militants looting and pillaging communities in the region.
Armed forces are still struggling in a 12-year war with Boko Haram and Islamic State`s West Africa branch. Residents remain at the mercy of Boko Haram insurgents and armed criminal militias. In many parts of the country, the spate of kidnapping and armed robbery has made traveling on our roads and retiring in our homes a nightmare. The mark of impending doom is seen in the faces of Nigerians. Families have lost their loved ones. Many women are now widows.
Children become orphans with no hope of the future. It is, therefore, no shocking news that the African Development Bank Group calculated that the Nigerian economy is projected to only grow by 1.5% in 2021 and 2.9% in 2022, based on an expected recovery in crude oil prices and production. Little wonder our beloved country has gained the dreaded title of being’ the poverty capital of the world.’
In Nigeria, about 86.9 million people live in severe poverty, which is about 50% of its entire population. How can a country develop, when foreign investors are frightened of losing their lives and valuables to hoodlums, money budgeted for beneficial projects are now used to pay ransom for kidnapped victims, billions are plunged into buying ammunitions, farmers are dreadful of approaching their own farmlands, and when citizens now leave in perpetual anxiety? How can such a country grow when all of these stifles and retards its socio-economic development?
Insecurity Amidst a Government
In Political philosophy, the Social Contract theories in different ways emphasized that the most basic function of a state or a government is to provide security.
Thomas Hobbes for instance, argues that it was because the state of nature (a state of no government) was brutish short and nasty that people saw the need to create a government by going into a contract, so as to protect their lives. In like manner, John Locke opines that the government was created to enforce the natural law which is basically the right to life and private property.
They present their arguments in such a manner bespeaking that if the Government fails in this regard, then it has betrayed the very foundations on which it was established. Unfortunately, this is the Nigerian situation. The Nigerian Government seems not to realize that its supreme responsibility is to protect the lives and valuables of those within its territory.
Bishop Hassan Kukah addresses this when he puts up the question: ‘Who do you need to incite’ He goes further to answer that ‘you can only incite the government to take its responsibility to secure our country, it is not too much to ask’
Need for Equality:
Insecurity breeds better in an unjust society. There are ongoing and persistent cry for equality in resource control and revenue sharing by certain resource-rich groups which have led to violent agitations among the contending actors and between the state and proponents resulting in general insecurity in Nigeria.
Thus, if Nigeria intends to achieve security, it must tread the path of equality first. Need to change plans: It is only apparent that when a plan fails, a better one is quickly adopted to fulfill the task. Recent occurrences render it glaring that both the current diplomacies and security operatives are lacking in essential regards. Responding to this backdrop in an interview reported by PUNCH, Bishop Hassan Kukah emphasized that ‘there is a need to change gear’, in the security sector of the country.
He also stressed that much more needs to be done in the area of intelligence gathering, analyzing, interpreting and security equipment procurement. The government should declare war on terrorism and seek assistance/advice from international communities who have in the time past faced this kind of challenge and were able to tackle it. Security personnel as politically in sighted political games: The BBC on 5th of May 2020 reported that ‘the office of President Buhari has alleged that some religious and past political leaders are plotting to throw the country into a tailspin’
The spokesperson, Brig-Gen Onyema Nwachukwu is quoted to have said: “The Military High Command wishes to use this opportunity to warn misguided politicians who nurse the inordinate ambition to rule this country outside the ballot box to banish such thoughts as the military under the current leadership remain resolute in the defense of Nigeria’s democracy and its growth.’
This is an important indication that we must re-direct our fingers of accusation because the spare headers of Nigeria’s insecurity are not those on the hideouts but those who freely move around; most times with battalions of armed security men. They also must be put under the law. The Need for Enlightenment: There is the need to make Nigerians be aware of the need to make Nigeria a better place, by saying no to violence, insecurity and religious idiosyncrasies. The mass should be enlightened on matters of development and the militating factors of development.
It takes the bees a great deal of harmony to produce honey. Likewise, if Nigeria will develop to become that sweet country we are dreaming of, we need to develop a sense of harmony among us. We cannot afford to gather pearls in a nation the harbor pigs. Let us drop violence and embrace peace. Until we secure lives, even the wealth we seek remains unattainable. Warri people will always say: na who de alive de drag land. We know that issues raised here are likely to make one think that the issue of insecurity, is solely the responsibility of the government. But the truth is that this is a collective responsibility. Citizens must make sure they obey existing laws and by using peaceful channels to resolve issues that may arise. Secure Nigerians, secure Development. God bless our country Nigeria.
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