Globally, there has been steady rise in security concerns in recent years. This has led multilateral institutions to set out mechanisms for the combat of terriorism. As a staunch and responsible member of the global community, Nigeria has since its independence participated proudly in the global security architecture to the admiration and accolades of all.
However, in recent times, especially since the fall of Muammar Gadaffi’s regime in Libya, which hitherto served as a burfa, protecting Nigeria from influx of criminals and terror elements from around the world, security concerns has hightened.
Though the security situation of the country was mismanaged by previous governments, with the advent of the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration in 2015, the tide began to change. First, he got it right with the appointment of a security czar, Gen Babagana Mongonu, as the National Security Adviser (NSA).
In basic political science, it is well internalized by students that the foremost function of government is the protection of the lives and property of citizens. This function is true for all systems of government. It is as true for constitutional governments as it is for monarchical rules and even illegitimate governments. Providing security is, therefore, the first function of any state. Even the very survival of the state itself depends on adequate security. That explains why one of the first assignments of an emergent state is to build a formidable military force, at least formidable enough to wield a monopoly of coercive authority within the territorial space it calls its own.
Seven years down the line, it is safe to report that never before has Nigeria witnessed a drastic modernisation of its security architecture. Never before has Nigeria seen seamless synergy among its security agencies. Under Buhari, our security details has moved from the archaic model of executing operations to sophisticated and cutting edge security operations, which has pushed back crimes and criminality.
It is no wonder that Nigeria has continued to defy the projections and predictions of dooms day analysts, who thought that by now, Nigeria should be history. Instead of disintegration into shrewd and blood shed as anticipated, the United Nations, European Union, African Union and governmemts of leading countries have continued to applaud Nigeria for holding on and waxing stronger.
These evidence-based successes couldn’t have come in a vacuum. It is said that “a thousand sheep led by a lion will defeat a thousand lions led by a sheep.” These implies that a lot depends on leadership. The NSA has effectively mobilised and provided the needed leadership, which has restored hope in Nigeria’s ability to defend itself.
In line with global best practices, security in today’s Nigeria is top notch in Intelligence-led security. A lot has changed since PMB assumed power. Our operations which hitherto used to be reactive is now proactive. The current mantra is “nip it in the bud; let it not happen at all.”
On its part, the Nigeria Police Force under the leadership of Usman Alkali Baba is making huge impact in the shifting security paradigm. Since the current Inspector General of Police (IGP), assumed office, it has been one initiative to the other, all in a bid to deliver on Police mandate of securing lives and property. One of such initiatives is the setting up of tactical and intelligence commanders of the Force to deploy assets towards tackling perpetrators of economic crimes aimed at sabotaging Nigeria’s revenue-generating value chains, including crude oil vandalism.
To underscore the importance the IGP attach to this assignment, he has appointed an Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP Lot Lantoh Garba to be in charge of the IGP Special Task Force on Petroleum and Illegal Bunkering (IGP-STFPIB). Garba , a gallant and courageous officer, had hitherto served in various operational command positions, including as Commanding Officer, Special Protection Unit (SPU) Bases 5 – Benin, 7 – Abuja, and 2 – Lagos. He was equally a one-time commander, Police Mobile Force (PMF) 23 Obalende, Lagos. No doubt, this would go along way in improving the revenue accruing to government from crude Oil.
I stand to corrected that in the history of policing in Nigeria, we have never had so responsive IGP, like Usman Alkali Baba. For instance, last year, in active collaboration bwith the Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons With Disability, James David Lalu, the IGP approved the establishment of a Special Desk for Persons with Disability in all the Police Zonal and State Commands across the thirty-six (36) States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). This the IGP explains is informed by the need to ensure the NPF remains at the fore of contemporary policing practice which advocates mainstreaming and inclusiveness for Persons With Disability. This initiative would serve as advocacy desk to enable the Force avail the PWD with unfettered access to policing services, promoting the dignity of their person, preventing stigmatization and stereotyping of PWD and giving full effect to the Discrimination Against Persons with Disability (prohibition) Act, 2018.
Sadly, in his efforts to tackle insecurity and corruption, the Buhari-led government has not enjoyed overwhelming support from states and the political class as he should. It has always been the president, his NSA, security chiefs and other key players at the federal level.
Imagine if the kind of zeal with which the political mafias and state governors pursued the emergence of the presidential candidates of their parties is extended to the federal government in the fight against insecurity and corruption a lot of milestones would have been achieved.
At the recent primaries of political parties, some political actors did not sleep day and night to ensure their preferred candidate emerge. We have never seen that level of desperate support for any government initiative. And if the dollars allegedly shared among delegates were to be donated to the fight against terrorists and bandits it would have been better for the country in terms of the war against insecurity and corruption.
The cummulative effect of this is moneybag politics which has become a recipe for organised crime by politicians, leading to looting of public funds and other acts of corruption. The brazen use of money to determine the outcome of elections by way of vote-buying and selling, has continued unabated.
This is where the Nigerian intelligence community should come in with more effective intelligence gathering technics to ensure that the political elites don’t succeed in perfecting measures to politically exclude the majority of Nigerians and deny the nation of capable leaders by engaging in money politics the way they did in previous elections and the recent primaries.
Nations become great when there is elite consensus. It was this kind of consensus that helped Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent resistance to end British rule in India and has influenced modern civil disobedience movements across the globe. Widely referred to as Mahatma, meaning great soul or saint in Sanskrit, Gandhi helped India reach independence through a philosophy of non-violent non-cooperation.
This kind of consensus was the reason why with overwhelming parliamentary control at every election, Lee Kuan Yew oversaw Singapore’s transformation into a developed country with a high-income economy within a single generation. In the process, he forged a highly effective, anti-corrupt government and civil service. Same goes for leaders in all developed countries like the United States, United Kingdom and China, among others.
If we have a Nigeria where every components are on the same page on government aspirations things will change for the better. Buhari’s government cannot be different. It needs the support and cooperation of all to tackle insecurity and corruption.
– Ibrahim is director, Communications and Strategic Planning, of the Presidential Support Committee (PSC)