FEATURE ARTICLE

Tuesday, April 20, 2021
okerekeoc@gmail.com

INSECURITY AND ITS CAUSES ARE DESTROYING OUR COUNTRY, NIGERIA, IN THE SHORT AND LONG TERM

he Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, told the country some home truths on our perilous situation when he lamented that there are too many illegal arms in the country for its survival. He made the statement on Friday, April 16, in Asaba when he visited Governor Okowa, as reported by Festus Ahon of the Vanguard. The CDS decried the proliferation of illegal arms in the country as a threat to Nigeria's corporate existence.

This candid statement by the general underlines the insecurity in the country which manifests in spate of killings and kidnappings never experienced in peace time in the country. Within the past week, the news of some losses of human lives and a kidnapping, as related in the Nigeriaworld of Friday, April 16th includes the following:

  • Tuesday night, April 13, an Abuja-based pastor, Rev Emeka Evans Unaegbu was killed by gunmen inside his church in Nyanya-Jikwoyi area of Abuja.

  • Gunmen kidnapped Oba David Oyewumi, the Obadu of Ilemeso in Oye Local Government Area (LGA) of Ekiti state, at his palace on Thursday night, 15th April.

  • Ebonyi State Police Command, yesterday, confirmed on Thursday, 15th April, the killing of three of its officers attached to the Safer Highway patrol team by unknown gunmen. They were shot dead while on duty at Nwaezenyi Junction in Izzi Council of the state.

It is heart-breaking that human life is being seriously devalued in our country. Groups of bandits, herdsmen, and killers in whatever shape or guise, criss-cross the country, killing persons. From time to time, we read of shoot-outs between the killer groups and the security agents or that the killers are intercepted by vigilantes defending their people.

Sadly, shoot-outs by vigilantes and security teams can only provide a solution if the killers are a steady and static group who can be routed by overwhelming fire power from air, land and sea as the case may be. From the news, they may not be static. There are reports of killers melting into the forests after attacking some places. Some others attack and kidnap persons at night. Repeated cases of school children and students being kidnapped and taken away. These are pointers that brute fire power alone may not provide sustainable solutions.

Who are these killers and persons bearing arms illegally? What are their motivations and reasons for their nefarious and dangerous activities as applicable? Often, it has been reported that armed persons emerge from forests and attack persons at their homes and some kill police officers on duty at the highway, after which they disappear into forests. It is indefensible that some people choose to live in forests. Forests are not normal habitat of Nigerians. For a start, anyone living in forests should be flushed out and made to live with other people in cities and towns. Such dangerous living should not be permitted because only dangerous persons with dangerous agendas live in such dangerous places. In other words, persons with dangerous objectives choose to hide in forests from where they perpetrate wicked actions to implement their dangerous objectives.

Other Causes of Insecurity

What are other causes of insecurity? For us to make any headway in solving the problem of insecurity, it is necessary that the government and law makers research and identify the causes of insecurity with a view to finding solutions to them. Our leaders cannot wash their hands of, and wish away, their responsibilities by delegating the solution of the problems to security persons alone. For example, there are agitations for the creation of Biafra, Oduduwa, etc. These agitators are considered by the government as enemies of the continued corporate existence of our country Nigeria.

When the Federal Government executives make pronouncements and appointments that contradict the letter and spirit of the corporate existence of the country, are they not guilty of working against the unity of the country to which they pay lip service? A case in point is the federal character in appointments and disbursement of benefits to the different states of the country. If appointments are made that negate and destroy the whole concept of federal character, it means that whoever is making the appointment considers their interests more important than the unity and egalitarian existence of our country Nigeria. They are not therefore working to uphold the corporate existence of the country because they subordinate vital national coexistence to their parochial persuasions and considerations.

The thrust of this presentation is that the leader who is making appointments contrary to the accepted principles that make for equity and peaceful co-existence is also guilty of destabilising the country. It is therefore no good harping on insecurity without trying to solve its causes, some of which fall squarely on the shoulders of our leaders as their responsibilities. They will be helping to resolve the problems of insecurity by seeking to respect law and order which they are sworn to do as inscribed in the constitution. This reasoning was upheld and endorsed by Governor Ortom of Benue State and Senator Ndume, Senate Committee chairman on the army. Speaking in Abuja on Thursday, April 15th, at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Week, they agreed on the high level of insecurity in the country. Senator Ndume "identified inequality and injustice as the root of insecurity", and he maintained "that there was a total failure of leadership from top to the bottom".

Short- and long-term effects

In the short term, insecurity leads to killings, kidnapping, lack of peace, fear, disruption of businesses and trades. Organisations will not normally invest in countries, states, and cities where there is no guaranteed stability and peace. The Minister of Information was quoted as blaming the press for being responsible for releases and reports that made Twitter choose to establish their headquarters in Ghana instead of Nigeria. He was quoted by Afolabi Sotunde of Reuters as making the following statements:

"I think the natural expectation is for Nigeria to be the hub of Twitter headquarter especially in this part of Africa given the fact that we have 25.4million Twitter users in Nigeria against 8million Twitter users in Accra," Mohammed said.

"Clearly, the decision was not a commercial one or business one. I think Twitter has the prerogative and exclusive right as to where to site its headquarters and I hope that this will serve as a lesson to Nigerians. This is what you get when you demarket your own country."

These statements attract two comments in this write-up. Firstly, our pressmen and women are doing their professional duties by reporting what they see. Secondly, any organisation planning to make an investment will carry out studies on possible options for success, after which a place is chosen for their investment. In effect, the responsibility is ours, to solve the problems in our country and make it attractive for neutral international organisations to invest their money and achieve success in their business endeavours. Business success cannot be achieved in an environment of insecurity, kidnappings, and killings.

It may be relevant to make two more observations on the long-term implications of the insecurity in our country. Firstly, many Nigerians in diaspora are not enthusiastic about returning to invest in the country when they know that some of their friends and colleagues who made such journeys lost their lives. Their sad and untimely death happened because they were at home implementing their plans for the development of their country.

Secondly, on a macro level, Nigerians are quite intelligent and have shown good performances in their courses. This is true for Nigerians overseas and many at home in spite of the corruption and insecurity in our country. However, international organisations, especially US companies, choose to invest in India and other Asian countries instead of Nigeria because they are relatively peaceful and have stable political government. We are therefore losing investments worth billions of US dollars that could facilitate the development of our country and our teeming population of intelligent people. This sad experience will continue into the foreseeable future until both our leaders and we, the led, will stop our respective self-destructive policies and habits. In the short term, it may appear rewarding to practise crass inequalities by favouring one's people to the exclusion of all others. The people who are led naturally refuse to tolerate this brazen and undisguised corruption for ever and resort to various actions which help to portray our country as unstable and not fit for investments.

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