After learning of the request by members of the House of Representatives, asking President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency on security, it became necessary to worry about the war against insurgents, bandits and kidnappers. Have Nigeria lost the war or on the verge of falling for it?
The lawmakers were forced to an executive session on April 27 and top of the resolution is asking Buhari to declare a state of emergency as a result of the persistent insecurity and killings across the country.
Activities of Boko Haram are ceaseless in the North-East, while the North-West have been battling with issues of banditry and kidnapping. The South-West have also battling with deadly herdsmen. Clashes between the IPOB and the Nigerian Army in the South-East alongside attacks on government agencies have become the order of the day. It is difficult to exclude any part of the country from this evil.
While the IPOB are known and have been proscribed by the Federal Government, Boko Haram has existed for many years and yet to be defeated despite claims that they have been ‘technically defeated’ and degraded.
However, activities of bandits in the North-west have been a mystery, knowing that their activities have been more frequent than imagined while little arrests are made. More astounding is the fact that they have been visited by governors and a Kaduna-based cleric Sheikh Gumi in the past, yet, there seem not to be a trace of how to arrest them especially as they have declared war on the Nigerian people.
Zamfara State governor, Bello Matawalle, and his Katsina counterpart, Aminu Bello Masari, have, at different points in the past, visited bandits to ensure peace by negotiation but that has yielded no results so far.
To confirm that these criminals are not invisible, Niger State Governor, Sani Bello disclosed that Bokoo Haram have a visible presence in his state as he claimed they have hoisted their flags in captured villages, including Kaure village in the Shiroro Local Government of the state.
“I am confirming that there are Boko Haram elements here in Niger State. Here in Kaure in Shiroro Local government area, I am confirming that they have hoisted their flags there. The villagers’ wives have been seized from them and forcefully attached to Boko Haram members. I just heard that they have placed their flags at Kaure meaning they have taken over the territory.” He had stated.
*Also, the Benue State governor* also confirmed the heavy presence of bandits in his. He was also attacked but managed to escape. Kaduna-based cleric, Sheikh Gumi, had also visited bandits in the forests where he also took pictures and requested for negotiation on their behalf.
Nigeria’s present security woes also appear worse due to sporadic attacks by bandits on schools and the abduction of school children, and other vulnerable persons.
What could be wrong?
Is intelligence failure compounding insecurity or the Federal Government lacks the ability to fight the war as virtually all parts of the country are currently battling with one form of insecurity or the other with various crimes going on, largely unabated.
Presently, Nigeria is regarded as one of the most dangerous places to live in. The 2020 Global Terrorism Index identified it specifically as the third most affected country by terrorism.
Recall that a former Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, had said that the reason insecurity was thriving in the country was because the Nigeria Police Force is currently overstretched and the welfare of policemen needed to be looked into.
“The issue is that the police is overstretched, they are operating at a very low level compared to the population of this country. Within a period of time, if we can increase the population of the police to tackle the insecurity challenges, that will assist a lot.” He said.
On the part of poor intelligence gathering, “The truth is that if the obvious lack of actionable intelligence is properly addressed among all the security, intelligence agencies and the military, then insecurity would have been solved 50%,’’ said Timothy Avele, the Chief Executive Officer of Agent-X Security Ltd. ‘’From the president, down the ladder of the leadership of various security agencies and the military, all acknowledged this thorny issue of lack of actionable intelligence.”
In his paper, ‘Solving Security Challenges in Nigeria Through Intelligence Gathering and Surveillance,’ an academic, Ashaolu Oluwadiya, said the dearth of intelligence gathering capabilities will continue to stall Nigeria’s search for a lasting solution to insecurity.
‘’Nigeria has not come of age. The Nigeria Police do not possess the required skill to secure a crime scene, conduct efficient evidence-gathering procedures such as lifting fingerprints from the crime scene, have no credible criminal database, cannot use forensic science in solving crime, and so on.”
Insecurity will only undermine confidence in the state and encourage people to look for alternative sources of authority and protection. The number one focus of the counter-insurgency effort should be to protect the population. This is far more important than pro-actively searching for insurgents and bandits to kill them.
The only proof that the war is not being lost is if the lives and properties of Nigerians can be protected by the government, through the police and the Army while criminals in their hideouts are arrested and brought to book.
Should the federal government be overwhelmed by the level of insecurity? It has been said that it is not a sign of weakness to ask for help.