By Olowogboyega Oyebade
Do you wonder why the primitive man sought shelter and security in caves? Do you exclaim how they engaged in safe-guard measures such as bonfires and traps? Do you wonder , how they built gates, high walls, hill tops, watch towers, trenches, gullies, gorges, and how weapons like spears, bows and arrows were invented? Is it not trite to conclude that insecurity has been part of the history of man? Do we relax now about it? Come along, please.
Did you hear of Esa-Oke security threat in which a worker of Osun State College of Technology had his life terminated and about eight others abducted on Ijebu-Jesa/ Esa-Oke road? Are you aware that the Governor of the State swung into action immediately by dispatching high calibre security operatives there to arrest the situation? Do you know that he followed up the issue by reassuring the people of their safety and summoned State Security Committee meeting attended by all security chiefs to review all security issues in the State? Are you aware that he gave the security outfits 24 hour mandate to rescue the victims unhurt? Do you know that within 24 hours, the victims were rescued unhurt? Hurray! Mr Gboyega Oyetola has passed the first security test. We sympathise with the College on the demise of that officer and the trauma unleashed on the others. We appreciate Mr Governor on his pro-activeness. We are not surprised.
Security has been a major issue in Nigeria. It is nose-diving in various places, particularly as the yuletide is here with us and the 2019 elections are just a few millimetres to us. Do you know that security has various derivatives as it has a wide range of other senses? Come along, please. The words of James Webb in his book titled ‘A Sense of Honour’ resonate: “The General’s reward is not a bigger tent but command.
Security simply means freedom from harm. It is protection from hostile forces. The word ‘secure’ entered the English language in the 16th century. It is derived from Latin ‘securus’, meaning freedom from anxiety. Do you know what is called a security referent? This is a potential beneficiary of a security policy. Referents may be persons or social groups, objects, institutions, ecosystems, or any other phenomenon vulnerable to unwanted change by the forces of its environment. The security context is the relationships between a security referent and its environment which may be clement or hostile. We can see from this perspective that security and insecurity depend first on whether the environment is beneficial or hostile to the referent, and also how capable is the referent responding to his environment in order to survive. That is the reason that the Section 14 (2) (b) Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) simply says: “The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.”
Do you know that we must all have security education? Do you know what we call capabilities? These are simply the means by which a referent provides for security. They include: coercive capabilities including armaments, protective systems including lock, fence camera to mention but a few, warning systems such as alarm and radar, diplomatic and social action intended to prevent insecurity from developing such as conflict prevention and transformation strategies and policy intended to develop the lasting economic, physical, ecological and other conditions of security such as economic reform, ecological protection, and progressive demilitarization. Do you know that we must be familiar with security terms? Come along.
First is the access control. This is simply the selective restriction of access to a place or other resource that has a challenge. We have assurance. This is an expression of confidence that a security measure will perform as expected. We have authorization. This is the function of specifying access rights to resources related to information security simply called intelligence. Equally we have what is called counter-measure. This is a means of preventing an act from having its intended effect. We have defence in-depth. This is a school of thought in security that holds that a wider range of security measures will enhance security. We have what is referred to as ‘exploit’. This is a means of capitalizing on a vulnerability in a security system. We have identity management. This simply enables the right individuals to access the right resources at the right times and for the right reasons. We have what is called resilience. This is the degree to which a person, community, nation or system is able to resist adverse external forces. We have risk. This is a possible event which could lead to damage, harm, or loss. We have security management. This is the identification of an organization’s assets (including people, buildings, machines, systems and information assets), followed by the development, documentation, and implementation of policies and procedures for protecting these assets. Finally, we have what we call threat. It simply means a potential source of harm.
Do you know that the causes of internal security are inevitable? Do you know that what the society should strive for is regulation of crisis or its amicable settlement whenever it arises? Since the extinction of security crisis seems impossible, do you know that all the society needs is a mechanism for security crisis management and control? Are you aware that security crisis can originate in individual and group reactions to situations of scarce resources, division of function within society and differentiation of power and resultant competition for scarce supplies of goods, states, valued roles and power as an end itself? Do you know that a society without security threat is a dead society?
We remember Franklin D. Roosevelt, the President of the United States. He presented the Four Freedoms at his State of the Union of January 6, 1941, which therefore has been called the Four Freedoms Speech. He insisted that people in all nations of the world shared Americans’ entitlement to four freedoms: the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom to worship God in his own way, freedom from want and freedom from fear. Freedom from fear is a fundamental human right. This right was mentioned by Roosevelt as one of the Four Freedoms human beings everywhere in the world should have. This right, as well as the other three of the Four Freedoms of Roosevelt, makes part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was accepted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 10, 1948. Freedom from fear is written down in the introduction to the UN Declaration.
Do you know that there are debatable approaches to security? Are you aware that some people argue that security depends principally on developing protective and coercive capabilities in order to protect the security referent in a hostile environment (and potentially to project that power into its environment, and dominate it to the point of strategic supremacy)? Do you know that others said No! To these critical others, security approach depends principally on building the conditions in which equitable relationships can develop, partly by reducing antagonism between actors, ensuring that fundamental needs can be met, and also that differences of interest can be negotiated effectively. A paradigm shift is currently witnessed in human security. The emerging paradigm is the response to traditional emphasis on the right of nation states to protect themselves. This attention focuses on the primacy of the security of people (individuals and communities). The concept is supported by the United Nations General Assembly, which stresses “the right of people to live in freedom and dignity” and recognized “that all individuals, in particular vulnerable people, are entitled to freedom from fear and freedom from want”.
Equally, the focus on national security refers to the security of a nation state, including its people, economy, and institutions. Do you know that there are fallacies of perception about security? One of the fallacies of perception is that no referent can be totally secured from all threats. This position anchors on the belief that natural disasters such as earthquakes, flood, wild-fire and hurricanes are more complex than what science could predict with exactitude and arrest without collateral damage. This position is supported in the common jurisprudence that ‘only God gives and takes.’ Another problem of perception is that the mere presence of a security system (such as armed forces or their hard-wares) implies security. The third perception lapse is the belief that security must be permanent. Every society must be organic because social inter-relationships are created every day. An in-organic society is dead. Such diverse inter-relationships have in-built mechanisms of self-destruction which manifest in insecurity. Security theater is a critical term for measures that change perceptions of security without necessarily affecting security itself. These may include visual signs of security protections, alarm system, dog patrol, display of armaments for deterrence, patrol vehicles, availability of emergency telephone codes to mention but a few.
Do you know that the Chibok kidnap of school girls by terrorists and the abduction of over 100 schoolgirls by suspected members of the Boko Haram sect at the Government Girls’ Technical Secondary School, Dapchi, Yobe State revealed one significant fact? Do you know that our collective security intelligence is lower in quality than what the terror groups have? Have you ever wondered how 200 abducted Chibok girls could travel to unknown destinations at the same time, shouting all the way for help? Have you ever wondered how 100 girls of Dapchi Technical Secondary School could be abducted and trans-loaded and shouting for help all the way at a time there was a national announcement that the terror groups had been degraded and technically defeated? If there was ever any victory, is it not becoming a pyrrhic victory with the renewed wave of attacks by the insurgents on soft targets? Do you know that the negotiation for the release of the abducted UNIMAID lecturers and some Chibok and Dapchi girls were now understood not to be laced with strategy? Why? Certain notable Boko Haram commanders already arrested and put in prisons were released to exchange for the girls and lecturers. Why are not monitoring the activities of these commanders covertly? No wonder the Bring Back our Girls Campaigners continue to draw relevance in the public square. The theatre in which all of us are, has recorded over 20,000 casualties and about 3 million displaced people spanning for ten long years.
Is it not right for us to think of long-term solutions to this menace rather than quick fixes? Has any war based on religious ideology been defeated in a hurry? No! The Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda is still there, several decades after. The Talibans in Afghanistan are still as ferocious as ever. Have we cured our gullibility when it comes to the issue of religion? No! Hurray! The Chief of Army Staff has found a solution. He enjoined Saudi Arabia to assist Nigeria to teach the right Islam now in Nigeria to correct the warped ideology now in vogue and promoting terrorism. He made the remarks last week while receiving the relief materials donated by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the victims of insurgency in the North Eastern zone of Nigeria. Do you know that what is going on in the North East amounts to a full-scale war?
Do you know that the North-East region (comprising six states) which is the epicentre of the insurgency is too large to be policed effectively by our security forces? Do you know that the zone of the war has a landmass of 262,578 km, an area of land that is bigger than all the countries in West Africa with the exception of Cote D’Ivoire? Do you know that our combined members of the Armed Forces are not more than 250,000, all of whom are not stationed in the North-East? Do you know that the Nigeria Police currently has only about 381,000 members, with over 50 per cent of them on VIP Protection Duties? Do you know that the security situation in Nigeria calls for the enlistment of all Nigerians to win this war as it is crystal clear that we do not have the requisite manpower to police the vulnerable region and curb unfortunate incidents of spill-over attacks into other States? Do you know that Algeria was able to defeat insurgency? The voice of Obama interludes: “Yes! We can”.
The issue of insecurity in Nigeria is a major concern to many Nigerians. We remember the Yoruba Tennis Club, a socio-cultural organisation founded in September 1926. The date was Thursday, 9th August, 2018. A public symposium on “Current Security Challenges in Nigeria: the Way Out” was the title for discussion. Major General Adewumi Ajibade (rtd) was there. , He is a Fellow of the Nigeria War College and former Director of Military Intelligence and Deputy National Security Adviser. Other contributors included Otunba Deji Osibogun, the Chairman/Founder Space FM and Convener, Yoruba Ko’Ya, Mr. Babajide Kolade-Otitoju, the head of the News Department of the Television Continental (TVC), former Assistant Inspector General of Police, Chief Tunji Alapini, the Otun Oluwo Adimula of Ife. The first discussant highlighted the nature of threats to Yoruba land. The second discussant stressed a media perspective. The third discussant discussed some security challenges with which senior police officers can be faced with in security-related decision-making processes. His Royal Majesty, Professor Adeyemi Abdukadir, the Olota of Otta of Awori Kingdom was there and he took active part in the discussions. He was the invited Royal Father of the Day. Dr. Oluyomi Abayomi Finnih moderated the event. Dr. Bolaji Ajenifuja chaired the occasion. Equally, many representatives of former Governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, a one-time presidential aspirants in the 2019 general elections, were all there.
The occasion was used to market different causal factors of insecurity ranging from corruption, weak political leadership, followership gap, ‘ unilateralism-driven’ democracy, religious intolerance and agitation for restructuring. Major General Ajibade drew attention to the distinction between wars that are fought by armies and those that will no longer be fought by armies. Wars fought by armies are the conventional types while the other category of wars are fought by terrorist groups, insurgents, guerrillas, bandits, militants, including herdsmen. He considered the conception of security both offensive and defensive. Offensive security deals with the acquisition of security of information for planning. The implementation of protective security measures to guarantee or audit/security survey. Surprisingly, he declared that ‘the right attitude to security begins with the acceptance that no amount of arms, ammunition and guards can produce the desired result without attitude and commitment to security. What is more, it begins with the acceptance that security is the collective responsibility of everyone in the society.’ He advocated for the right attitude. According to him: ‘the right attitude encompasses security awareness, a mindset, the understanding that those elements that constitute threat to security problems should therefore, not be the exclusive responsibility of the state, but the solemn duty of every member of the community.’
He identified causal factors of the threats to Nigeria’s national security to include: high rate of unemployment and poverty, undemocratic governmental actions, alienation of the intelligentsia, radicalisation of religious groups and intolerance, illegal militant activities, uneven distribution of scarce national resources, environmental degradation leading to agitations, particularly in the Niger Delta area, and effects of globalisation and natural disasters. Some other panelists gave divergent causative factors to insecurity. Otunba Deji Osibogun gave three reasons for the deepening insecurity in Nigeria. According to him, the cause of insecurity in Nigeria has its roots,stem and branch in the 1960 independence day speech of Sir Ahmadu Bello in which he declared:
‘This new nation called Nigeria shall be an extension of the estate of our great grandfather Othman Danfodio, we must ruthlessly prevent a change of government. We must use the people of the middle belt as willing tools and the people of the South as conquered territory and never let them control their own future.’
According to him, the suspicion the statement generated and is generating may be regulating ethnic mutuality or otherwise in Nigeria. According to him, the alleged seeming silence of President Muhammadu Buhari on the frequent Fulani Herdsmen’s aggression on farmers is seen in the context of fulfilment of Othman Danfodio’s extension of the estate, which most southerners are showing unwillingness to accept. Another threat identified by Otunba Osibogun is the 1914 amalgamation of the Southern and Northern Protectorates which obstructed Yoruba unity by neutralising the peace agreement done in 1893. As Osibogun explained it, the 1893 agreement required that ‘each region would take a certain percentage of the profits they make from their trade and remit them to the traditional central authority.’ However, in 1914, ‘the British Colonial Master sought total submission of all tribes to the amalgamation of Southern and Northern protectorates. We signed an agreement that is akin to the restructuring we are clamouring for now in Nigeria but the British Colonial Masters never forgave the Southern Nigeria for resisting their indirect rule system, so they placed the North above the South.’ This was how the Yoruba lost their security on the very day they ‘accepted the amalgamation of 1914.’ In his submission, this was also how ‘the Fulani took over Ilorin, a Yoruba land, they were not joking when they arrived there but no one took them serious.’ Consequently, Otunba Osibogun advised on the need to be cautious of the Fulani theory of taking power, seizing power and using power and for every Yoruba man to take seriously this threat being manifested in different forms. Otunba Osibogun drew attention to the preponderance of importation of motorcycles from the north to Yoruba land, but to which little or no attention is being paid in terms of implications for security. The submissions of Otunba Osibogun, could be understood from his background as a leader of “ Yoruba K’oya Movement” .
AIG Tunji Alapini (Rtd) in his contributions identified eight causes of unending insecurity in Nigeria. They are unemployment which leads to frustration and resort to kidnapping for ransom and survival; institutional corruption; imbalance in government appointments in which people from the same ethnic and religious background are given sensitive positions to the exclusion of other people from other tribes in the country; loss of socio-cultural and community values; porous borders, proliferation of arms, influx of foreigners and terrorism; ethnicism which has led to the establishment of MASSOB, IPOB, OPC, AREWA, etc; and supremacy battles among security agencies and lack of faith in the security agencies. The words of Alapini resonate:
‘a large percentage of the populace have lost confidence in the efficiency, effectiveness and performance of the security agencies, most especially, the Nigeria Police. Majority picked up the police jobs not to prevent crime but for lack of employment and as a means to an end to use the office to extort. The military is seen as an army of occupation not capable of defending the territorial integrity of the nation. The Customs Service is seen as not effective because they come to the markets to impound bags of rice instead of preventing the influx from the porous borders…’
The discussants identified the way forward. One good way forward is to seek to go beyond the current politics of war on corruption, with its characteristics of chicanery and destructive selfishness. Some suggestions were offered. Otunba Osibogun suggested the initial registration of some categories of some service providers before they are allowed to function in any part of Yoruba Land and even Nigeria. Some of them register as domestic guards, corporate security companies and staff, private security outfits, including events management security, club house bouncers and vigilante groups and personnel. He suggested further that the NURTW in Yoruba Land, the RTEAN in Yoruba Land, the ACCOMORAN in Yoruba Land and all Tricycles riders in Yoruba Land should be considered as ‘travel and transit security agencies by virtue of their responsibilities to ensure safe delivery of persons and goods in transit and over distances in Yoruba Land and thus, all their members must be registered with Bank Verification Number (BVN) as a must attached.’
He called on the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Nigeria Immigration Service to have functioning offices in all the 774 Local Government headquarters for the main purpose to have a sustainable basis for monitoring the inflow of foreigners into the local communities. Most unfortunately, however, not much have been done in this regard. In the submissions of Tunji Alapini, the solutions require good governance and good leadership, socio-economic development, better operational equipment for the security agencies, elimination of corruption, establishment of stronger intelligence gathering, strengthening border patrols, ensuring that only the patriotic people are elected into the legislature and that the judiciary is not politically manipulated.
Major General Ajibade suggested that there is the need to formulate a national security strategy that will be constantly reviewed and updated. The establishment of a National Strategy Office should be a priority, with the appointment of a coordinator reporting to the President through the National Strategy Council. Nigeria must seek to win the peace and not simply the war. There is also the need to place greater emphasis on the strategic, tactical and consolidation operations, that is, there is the need to exploit the psychological operations/warfare as part of the propaganda/counter propaganda war against terrorists. And more interestingly, there is the need to take advantage of satellite technology, as well as the use of drones, to identify and monitor terrorists, criminal gangs and herdsmen attackers.
Observers of these suggestions declared that as good as all the various suggestions are, the unacknowledged truth is that the Nigeria of today has become a nation of untruth, where the biggest challenge is also the inability of the people to know what their problem is all about, where party defections are essentially about protection of self-interests and not that of the constituencies of the defecting politicians, where court rulings and judgments are selectively obeyed depending on convenience, and more importantly, where people put in position to defend national integrity, honesty of purpose and national unity consciously engage in the contrary. Possession of invalid certificates by public serving officials, diversion of public funds and selective targets for justice, as well as appointing indicted people in government are the critical and current threats to national security and not as propounded above. It is stressed that only the setting up of accountable Truth and Reconciliation Commission can save the day.
In recent times, the security challenges in Nigeria seem to have taken a worse turn. For almost a decade, Boko haram wreaked havocs, and continues to do so. Lives have been lost with millions internally displaced. Successive governments have tried to curtail the activities of the sect; but they seem to be making little progress. While Nigerians were faced with how to tackle or at least escape from being victims of the sect, another one in the guise of Fulani herdsmen sprang up with records of killing spree. One of the major causes of insecurity in Nigeria is unemployment. Young and able body men who are willing and ready to work roam the streets endlessly without anything to engage them. Many of them end up as mercenaries for politicians, are lured and recruited into these militant organisations, because that pays off and offers them hope of escaping from their predicament. Do you know that one of the tactics of the terror groups is to give interest free loans to poor artisans in the area they occupy? We must begin to think as a country of how to engage our youths. Millions of job spaces should be created and our politicians must appreciate that there is a problem when they see thousands of youths gather at political rallies during work hour.
Poverty is another factor. Many have wondered why children have become suicide bombers. Many parents are now poor and unable to sustain their children’s welfare. Some parents are reported to be selling their children as low as fifth thousand Naira. Such parents could as well donate their children for suicide bombing if the price is right. There is poverty in the land and our country has occupied a negative pride of place as the poverty capital of the world. We cannot continue this way. Leaders must go back to the drawing board and address this issue. We must create an egalitarian society where everybody has an equal opportunity to struggle and survive. What currently obtains, is a society where a minute number of people have cornered the basic means of livelihood for themselves against the general majority.
Do you know that insecurity thrives because of our cultural and religious differences? Nigeria shares the pride of having diverse cultures and religion. In other climes, these differences would have been explored for good. In our case, it is the opposite. Our diversity is now an albatross. Section 10 of the Constitution of Nigeria says: “There shall be no State religion.” This is observed in breach in all States of Nigeria. We promote what will divide us rather than the things that binds us. Equally, the institution of the family is also complicit. A society where the institution of family is failing; where the traditional and cultural institutions are decaying, then that community is endangered. Another propelling force of insecurity is the untoward attitude of some members of our security agencies. Our security agencies are in tune with the idea of returning fire for fire, repelling attacks and pursuing attackers. None of them is interested in preventing attackers. Terrorist or militants do not just get up and attack. They strategise on how and where to attack. What happens to intelligence gathering? We remember the Ofa robbery saga. It was reported that the robbers had lodged in the area for days before striking.
The herdsmen/farmers crisis has been on and has consumed hundreds of lives. The killings in Benue, Taraba and Zamfara are horrendous. Although farmers have been complaining about herdsmen going into their farms to destroy their crops as the cause of this issue, do you know that it goes beyond that? The herdsmen are nomadic in nature. For centuries, they had created grazing routes. Earlier than now, Nigeria had 52 grazing routes. Today, the grazing routes have been reduced to only seven. The other 45 routes have been taken over by the political class. In trying to locate these routes of survival, the poor herdsmen stray into the farms of other people. Quantum damage is done to the crop. The farmers retaliate by poisoning the crops to kill the cows. Just as the farmers have emotional attachment to their crops, the Fulani herdsmen also develop an affinity for the cows. Thus, the farmer is pushed to attack for the destruction meted on his farm, while the herdsmen is also pushed to retaliate for killing his cows. The drum beats of violence goes on unabated. We must stop the saga? How? Come along, please.
First thing we need to do is create grazing routes. We must go back to doing what is right by creating routes to enable these herdsmen move freely like they did in the past. The ban on grazing by the anti-grazing laws is a good law that is being implemented dangerously. For instance, in one of the laws passed by the States, herdsmen are required to lease the land for a period of one year that may not be renewed. Can any investment yield maximum benefits within a year? The law enjoins to re-apply for renewal after one year, of which he is not guaranteed to get it. If the land would not be sold, then government should provide the land for them, where it would monitor and regulate how it is put to use. Anybody who contravenes the rules with regards to usage, should be sent packing. Equally, our government should invest in research and if possible seek for international assistance to introduce new breeds of livestock that will be more revenue-yielding to the herdsmen.
There is a greater need now to explore other means of settling conflicts than resorting to violence. People are hyper active these days. Farmers are quick to attack and kills cows once their stray into their farms, while the herdsmen are also quick to attack communities in the dead of the night to kill hundreds of people who may know nothing about what had transpired. Conflict management mechanisms should be put in place and people must be encouraged to adopt this option rather than resorting to violence. The initiative of Osun Government to appoint Special Adviser on Inter-Ethnic relationship is commendable
Again, we need to put mechanisms in place to console and compensate victims of conflicts and other sundry matters. When crisis occurs, people lose their lives, living behind grieving families. Properties are also lost. Because of our laxity in compensating these people; they feel abandoned and neglected and always seek and opportunity to avenge their loss on the system and also on people who they feel are related to, or share an affinity with the villain. We cannot continue to look the other way, while the list of victims grows. Our justice system is another contributing factor. Many people have no hope in the judicial system of our country. They believe justice is for the highest bidder. The judiciary is no longer the hope of the common man; he has therefore, decided to help himself. This is why violence continues to be on the rise. The adoption of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act in Nigeria and in some States will solve the problems. There is the need to decongest our prisons. 80 per cent of our in-mates are awaiting trial. Equally, the condemned prisoners are not executed thus making the prisons a permanent abode for them with other implications.
Finally, we must be tolerant of one another. We must understand that God was not mistaken for creating us different, and also for assembling us from different ethnic and religious groups. We must live as equals, without feeling that our religion, tribe or ethnicity is superior to others. Our leaders from all walks of life and in all areas of human endeavour, must take the lead and show by example. Can we not be thinking collectively now to create a National Guard and a Special Forces Unit in the Nigerian military to have chapters in all the states of the federation, be federally controlled, and tasked with the responsibility of protecting the Nigerian state from internal and external aggressors? These special units are to be trained in counter-terrorism strategies and tactics, asymmetric warfare, and desert warfare, practical agriculture and hybridization of livestock. Is it not right to think together to create Special Forces Unit in the military located in each State that will be skilled in Search and Rescue Operations and endowed with the ability to launch precision strikes at enemy targets whenever the need arises? Is somebody out there raising the issues of funding of these commands? Are smaller nations with less economic resources not providing resources for their security institutional operations? Are we not falling on ourselves to provide money for the coming national elections?
Should we not think aloud in the interim, if possible, swallow our pride and solicit for direct international help in our efforts to decapitate the Jihadists? Have we forgotten so soon how American forces mentored the Iraqi forces that recently pushed ISIS out of Iraq? Is the option closed against us? Why are we not exploring such an option in Nigeria? Do you know that before we can have political victory, military victory must be on the table? Do we have enough means and technology to go the hog of this marathon war without stress in all forms? The time to think collectively is now. Meanwhile, we appreciate the Governor of the State of Osun Mr Gboyega Oyetola and all the security agencies for their promptitude in handling the Esa-Oke security threat. Even, Chief Bola Ige is thumping up for you in his grave which lies a few metres to the scene of the incident. His thumps may probably be raising question on his unresolved murder… No one actually knows what Cicero is thumping up for. Long Live Mr Gboyega Oyetola! Long Live Adeoye’s gallant police! And to all our people out there, security is a collective responsibility.