PMB, Calls For Self-defense And Lessons From Other Climes, By Gidado Ibrahim

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Political leadership comes with huge responsibility, one of which is having one’s emotions in check at all times. There is a popular saying that if you scratch your body to the degree of itching, you may end up spilling your own blood. This entails that leaders are societal shock absorbers. They are societal role models and pathfinders for others to follow.

If the foregoing is anything to go by, it means the recent call on the people to take up arms for self-defense is not only regrettable but also capable of undermining the government. Medieval, middle age and contemporary theorists, especially the social contract theorists have all agreed that men formed themselves into political communities in search of security of lives and their property.

Hence, Section 14 (2b) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution states that the welfare and security of the citizens shall be the primary purpose of government. Likewise, the right to life is amply provided for in Section 33, which clearly states that every person has a right to life and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life.

It is important to learn from the mistakes of other nations in order to avoid their pitfalls. For instance, the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, which empowers Americans to bear arms, has become a snag. Statistics from the United States Congress shows that an average of 124 persons are killed every day in that country through gun violence.

Article 2, which empowers Americans to bear arms, reads: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

For the records, 2,403 mass shootings were recorded between 2017 and 2021, with 2,495 deaths and 10,225 injuries. In 2021 alone, there were 692 incidents of mass shootings, up from 2019’s total of 417. What is the success story of those already practicing self-defense that some prominent Nigerians would be advocating that Nigeria should adopt the risky policy?

Granted that we have national concerns that border seriously on security, but creating greater problems to solve lesser ones is not wisdom. It is on record that the Nigerian Police Force has never had it so good as under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and the Police leadership under the current Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba.

What is more? Recently, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved N8.3 billion for the purchase of operational vehicles and equipment for the Nigerian Police Force, as well as supply of drugs and medical equipment for police hospitals.

The positive reforms in the Police Force to enable it keep up with the changing society and advancement in technology is continuing. Under IGP Baba, the focus is on reforms that would translate to improving skills and competencies. However, Nigerians must understand that some of these reforms take time to be implemented and manifest fruits.

Seeing the zeal to reposition the IGP Usman Alkali Baba-led Nigeria Police Force, stakeholders, both local and international partners like the British Council, Department for International Development, German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), CLEEN Foundation and other NGOs, are collaborating with the Nigeria Police Force.

Under IGP Baba’s watch, over 1,200 high profile suspects have been arrested, while hundreds of kidnapped victims have gained freedom from the intelligence rescue teams he set up. Even armed robbers, bandits, kidnappers and other criminal elements posing threat to Nigerians can tell that the IGP’s administration is on its toes towards their apprehension, as countless arms and ammunition have been recorded by officers and men.

The distinguished police boss has shown commitment to staff welfare through the barrack redevelopment scheme and the establishment of affordable housing for officers. Officers, both serving and retired, have also been captured along with their families for the National Health Insurance Scheme, while the Police Medical Services is improving its services with the construction of more police hospitals.

As a security expert, I can tell that the policing network has had its fair share of good times under IGP Baba’s watch. Since he took over, the Nigeria Police Force has experienced tremendous transformation in ways too numerous to enumerate.

Far more than 7,036 notorious criminals suspects have been arrested and been prosecuted. Terrorists/secessionists; 1,243 suspected kidnappers; 1,845 armed robbery suspects; 1,445 cultists; 1,183 murders; 1,110 cybercrime suspects; 1,165 suspected rapists and other sexual and gender-based violence suspects have all been arrested and undergoing prosecution.

President Muhammadu Buhari, using his service chiefs has achieved tremendous success in the fight against insecurity. And he has vowed not to relent on oars, until every Nigerian can go to bed with two eyes closed. The least we can do is to support him instead of creating more problems for the country with the call for self-defense.

To underscore the extent to which the IGP is sanitising the Police Force, two police operatives were arrested in connection to the Kuje jailbreak. This was after their communication with some of the escapees from Kuje was intercepted. Two of the terrorists that escaped called a police investigation officer (IPO) in one of the stations and spoke with him in a compromising manner. In the ongoing investigation of the attack on the Kuje correctional centre, the police officers are now being investigated to know their level of complicity in the incident. This swift intelligence response can only happen under IGP Baba.

In presidential democracy, the overall security of the nation is vested in the government at the centre. In the case of Nigeria, the federal government led by the President and Commander-in-Chief must take responsibility, ultimately, for that. The buck stops on the president’s desk. President Buhari has been doing this excellently.

However, the state governors who collect billions as security votes every month also have a big role to play within the present structure. Instead of calling for self-defence, the states should redouble efforts in tackling insecurity in their domain. They cannot continue to wring their hands in despair while their people bear the brunt of insecurity. They are closer to the people and the people look up to them for immediate succour.

State governors must do all within their means to provide succour to the people who elected them. At every turn, some of the governors run to the presidential villa as if they don’t have a role to play in mitigating insecurity. This cannot continue. It would be more effective technicality for governors as state chief security officers to tackle political thugs, Yandaba, as they are called in the north. We shouldn’t play politics with the integrity of our nation’s security.


As powerful as the governors are, they can use intelligence skills to curb insecurity in the country they way they wield great influence in politics. The power and influence the governors wield were judiciously deployed during the presidential primaries of the political parties. They are also influential during elections, from local government areas to the national level. Such cooperation among the governors can be useful in tackling insecurity as it is done in other developed countries all over the world.


Good governance at local levels will go a long way in curbing criminal activities. Employment generation for the youth will put the majority of them away from the path of criminality and deplete the pool from which criminal hirelings can be recruited.




The resuscitation of skill acquisition centres at local levels and serious attention to public educational institutions are some of the ways to ensure security. Security is a package that goes beyond the acquisition and deployment of hardware. It requires the provision of an enabling environment for the citizenry to bloom in their chosen vocations. Nigerians need prayers, just as they must also pray for their president, governors and the security chiefs.

Let me use this opportunity to wish our teeming readers and Nigerians a happy Sallah celebrations!

– Ibrahim is director, Communications and Strategic Planning, of the Presidential Support Committee (PSC)


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