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|Politics / Re: lengthy summary of the 18-Page Obasanjo's Letter To President Jonathan by Willgates(m): 11:58am On Dec 12, 2013|
Noting that the President had not
been able to tackle the remote
causes of insurgency in the
country, Obasanjo again advised
him to adopt “a carrot and stick
approach” to stem the problem.
He stated that “conventional
military actions based on standard
phases of military operations
alone will not permanently and
effectively deal with the issue of
Obasanjo also took on Jonathan
for being clannish and wondered
why he had not quietened some
Ijaw leaders who publicly attack
those opposed to his leadership
the former President said, “For
you to allow yourself to be
‘possessed’, so to say, to the
exclusion of most of the rest of
Nigerians as an ‘Ijaw man’ is a
mistake that should never have
been allowed to happen.
“Yes, you have to be born in one
part of nigeria to be Nigerian if
not naturalised but the Nigerian
President must be above ethnic
factionalism. and those who prop
you up as of, and for ‘Ijaw nation’
are not your friends genuinely, not
friends of nigeria nor friends of
the ‘Ijaw nation’ they tout about.
“To allow or tacitly encourage
people of ‘Ijaw nation’ to throw
insults on other Nigerians from
other parts of the country and
threaten fire and brimstone to
protect your interest as an Ijaw
man is myopic and your not
openly quieting them is even more
• Political watchlist
Obasanjo also alleged that the
President had not only placed
more than 1, 000 Nigerians on a
political watch list, he had
encouraged the “training of
snipers and other armed
personnel secretly and
He added that weapons were
being purchased them for political
purposes and training given to
them where Abacha trained his
the former President wondered
why the Presidency was providing
assistance for “a murderer” to
He said, “Presidential assistance
for a murderer to evade justice
and presidential delegation to
welcome him home can only be in
bad taste generally but particularly
to the family of his victim.
“Assisting criminals to evade
justice cannot be part of the job
of the presidency. Or, as it is
viewed in some quarters, is he
being recruited to do for you what
he had done for Abacha in the
past? Hopefully, he should have
learned his lesson. Let us
continue to watch.”
Obasanjo did not give the name of
the but he was apparently
referring to the former Chief
Security Officer to Abacha, Hamza
Obasanjo called on Jonathan to
take at least, “one effective
corrective action against high
corruption which seems to stink
all around you in your
He mentioned the recent allegation
that the Nigerian National
Petroleum Corporation failed to
remit billions of dollars in
proceeds of crude oil sales to the
“This allegation will not fly away
by non-action, cover-up, denial or
bribing possible investigators,” he
told the President.
He added, “Please deal with this
allegation transparently and let the
truth be known.
“the dramatis personae in this
allegation and who they are
working for will one day be public
“Those who know are watching if
the National Assembly will not be
accomplice in the heinous crime
and Unclad grand corruption.
“As head of government, the buck
of the performance and non-
performance stops on your table
and let nobody tell you anything
to the contrary. Corruption has
reached the level of impunity. It is
also necessary to be mindful that
corruption and injustice are fertile
breeding grounds for terrorism
and political instability.”
He also told Jonathan to do the
right things because God and
Nigerians would hold him
responsible for “whatever happens
and fails to happen in the
“I have had opportunity, in recent
times to interact closely with you
and I have come to the conclusion
painfully or happily that if you can
shun yourself to a great extent of
personal and political interests
and dwell more on the national
interest and also draw the line
between advice from selfish and
self-centered aides and advice
from those who in the interest of
the nation may not tell you what
you will want to hear,” Obasanjo
the former President told
Jonathan that nothing, at this
stage of his life, would prevent
him from standing up for whatever
he considered to be in the best
interest of nigeria, Africa and the
He added that he was ready for
whatever reaction the letter would
provoke from the Presidency.
He said, “Knowing what happens
around you, most of which you
know of and condone or deny, this
letter will provoke a cacophony
from hired and unhired attackers
but I will maintain my serenity
because by this letter, I have done
my duty to you as I have always
done, to your government, to the
PDP, and to our country, nigeria.
“I have passed the stage of being
flattered, intimidated, threatened,
frightened, induced or bought…
Death is the end of all human
beings and may it come when God
wills it to come.
“the harassment of my relations
and friends and innuendos that
are coming from the government
security apparatus on whether
they belong to New PDP or
supporters of defected governors
and which are possibly authorised
or are the work of overzealous
aides and those reading your lips
to act in your interest will be
“It is abuse of security apparatus.
Such abuse took place last in the
time of Abacha. Lies and untruths
about me emanating from the
Presidency is too absurd to
contemplate. Saying that I
recommended a wanted criminal
by United Kingdom and United
States authorities to you or your
aides to supplant legitimately
elected PDP leader in the South-
West is not only unwise and crude
but also disingenuous. It is a clear
indication of how unscrupulous
and unethical the Presidency can
go to pursue your personal and
the former Nigerian leader urged
the President to share the
contents of his letter with former
Heads of State, Generals
Abdulsalami Abubakar and Gen.
Ibrahim Babangida as well as a
former Vice-President Alex
Ekwueme and ex-Chief of Army
Staff, Lt.-Gen. Theophilus
He told Jonathan that he should
do so because Abubakar and
Babangida had shared the
concerns he raised in the letter
with him (Obasanjo).
Obasanjo said, “I crave your
indulgence to share the contents
of this letter, in the first instance,
with Generals Babangida and
Abubakar, who, on a number of
occasions in recent times, have
shared with me their agonising
thoughts, concerns and
expressions on most of the issues
I have raised in this letter
concerning the situation and
future of our country. I also crave
your indulgence to share the
contents with Gen. Danjuma and
Ekwueme, whose concerns for and
commitments to the good of
nigeria have been known to be
Initial fear that the letter did not
emanate from Obasanjo was
doused by his Chief of Staff,
Deacon Victor Durodola, who
confirmed its authenticity to one
of our correspondents.
Durodola said the elder statesman
decided to write Jonathan despite
their perceived close rapport.
“the reasons are already stated in
the letter, including where Baba
(Obasanjo) said the last letter he
wrote was not even
acknowledged; so, the reasons are
there, about 10 of them. So, he
wrote the letter.”
He also confirmed that Obasanjo
left South- Africa on Tuesday after
the memorial service for the
former South African President,
But the Presidency described the
allegations by Obasanjo as “most
reckless, baseless, unjustifiable
the Special Adviser to the
President on Media and Publicity,
Dr. Reuben Abati, who confirmed
receipt of the letter by the
Presidency, added that it was
“highly unbecoming, mischievous
and provocative” that it (letter)
was deliberately leaked to the
mass media in an effort to impugn
the integrity of the President.
the presidential spokesman said
in a statement that Jonathan, at
the appropriate time, would offer a
full personal response to the
the statement reads, “We have
noted the publication on several
websites today (Wesnesday) of a
letter recently written by Chief
Obasanjo to President Jonathan.
“the Presidency acknowledges
that it has indeed received the
said letter from Chief Obasanjo.
“We however find it highly
unbecoming, mischievous and
provocative that a letter written by
a former Head of State and
respected elder statesman to
President Jonathan has been
deliberately leaked to the mass
media in a deplorable effort to
impugn the integrity of the
President and denigrate his
commitment to giving nigeria the
best possible leadership.
“While many patriotic, objective
and well-meaning Nigerians have
already condemned the leaked
letter as self-serving, hypocritical,
malicious, indecent, and very
disrespectful of the highest office
in the land, President Jonathan
has directed that none of his aides
or any government official should
join issues with Chief Obasanjo
“the President himself will, at the
appropriate time, offer a full
personal response to the most
reckless, baseless, unjustifiable
and indecorous charges levied
against him and his administration
by the former Head of State.”
the PDP, in a statement by Tukur
also called on Obasanjo to tread
with caution. It said the letter was
a direct assault on the person of
It added, “ For such a statement
against the person of the national
chairman of the PDP, to come
from Chief Obasanjo, a former
head of state and President is
“For him to insinuate that the
President is using the national
chairman to cause multiple
problems for the party doesn’t in
any way portray him as a true
“Obasanjo’s letter is certainly an
attack on the personal integrity
and credibility of Tukur.”
|Politics / Press Release: Beyond The Razzmatazz Of Boko Haram Ceasefire/negotiation by NUAIT: 5:25pm On Feb 07, 2013|
For immediate Release
‘’Nigerians Unite Against insecurity and terrorism’’
Abuja, nigeria. 07/02/2013
(1) ‘’the power to hurt –to destroy things that somebody cherishes, to inflict pain and grief-is a kind of bargaining power, not easy to use but used often. in the under-world it is the basis of blackmail, extortion and kidnapping; in the commercial world for boycotts, strikes, and lockouts…it is often the basis for discipline, civilian and military: and the gods use it to exact obedience’’—Thomas Scheling, Arms and Influence.
(2) ‘’Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate’’-John F. Kennedy, American Statesman, 1917-1963
(3) ‘’We are prepared to go to the gates of hell-but no further’’.- Pope Pius VII 1742-1823, Italian Cleric, attempting to broker an agreement with Napoleon.
Beyond the Razzmatazz of Boko Haram Ceasefire/Negotiation
There has been some excitement in nigeria’s Citadel of Power over Boko Haram’s alleged move to lay down their arms or negotiate with the Nigerian government. It is not yet uhuru!
We welcome this development as long as the indiscriminate killing of Nigerians comes to an end. We sincerely hope and pray that this move brings lasting peace in nigeria even though we have some iota of reservations which are premised on the fact that previous so-called ceasefires and negotiations have not yielded positive results. Secondly, the terms and conditions of the Sect’s offer of ceasefire and end of hostilities stipulate a carte blanche- freeing all her detained and possibly convicted members as well. This is unrealistic and an invitation to anarchy that will trigger a vicious cycle and a dangerous precedent.
the status quo is tantamount to a ‘’Policy of Postponement of the evil day rather than Prevention/Proactiveness and Containment’’. What obtains now is akin to a ‘Simulated Peace’ with the attendant propensity to fall like a pack of cards sooner than later.
Hence beyond the hype of the so-called ceasefire and negotiation, we advocate that serious and concerted effort be geared towards tackling the remote and immediate causes of insecurity/terrorism in nigeria vis a vis exterminating abject poverty, reducing unprecedented unemployment rate, discouraging religious fundamentalism, fighting wanton corruption, injustice etc. We cannot be treating the symptoms of an ailment rather than killing the causative agent and expect the disease to disappear just like that. It is high time nigeria articulated a ‘’Comprehensive and Pragmatic terrorism/Counterterrorism Strategy/Policy’’. We also advocate for a ‘’far-reaching Vulnerability Assessment of Critical Infrastructures across nigeria’’. We lose nothing if we hope for the best and prepare for the worst. As we seek for a lasting solution to this Boko Haram quagmire, the three quotations above can serve as a guide.
Peace is a sine qua non for human existence and development. We cannot actualize our individual and collective aspirations in an atmosphere of instability, insecurity, unpredictability and wanton killings. It is an inalienable right for every Nigerian irrespective of religious, ethnic or political inclination, to sojourn in any part of this country devoid of fear, harassment, intimidation or threat to his life.
Nigerians Unite Against insecurity and terrorism. See it, hear it, say it, stop it!!!
God bless nigeria and Nigerians!
1. President Goodluck Jonathan
2. Alhaji Sambo Dasuki (National Security Adviser)
3. Senator David Mark (President of the Senate)
4. Hon Aminu Tambuwal (Speaker House of Representatives)
5. Chief of Defence Staff
6. Minister of foreign Affairs
7. Mr. Mohammed Abubarka (Inspector General of Police)
8. DG, State Security Service (SSS)
9. All 36 State governors in nigeria
10. All DIG’s, AIG’s, and Police Commissioners of Police
11. All radio, TV, Media houses and Internet bloggers
12. Civil Liberties Organization, nigeria
13. Nigerian Bar Association (NBA)
|Politics / Kidnappings, Insecurity & Terrorism Challenges In Nigeria And Recommendations by NUAIT: 12:59pm On Jan 15, 2013|
Comprehensive Assessment of the insecurity & terrorism Challenges in nigeria and Recommendations
(Security Analyst & Consultant)
SECTION 1: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:
the wanton insecurity, criminality, kidnapping, instability and terrorism currently ravaging nigeria are symptomatic of a dysfunctional society and a failing State. Abysmal Poverty, hopelessness, joblessness, frustration, unprecedented levels of corruption, arrogance of power, complacent and retroactive Security Agencies, lackadaisical and corrupt judiciary, porous borders, covert foreign interests etc have a butterfly-effect on the unparalleled levels of crimes, insecurity, instability and terrorism currently bedeviling nigeria. There is also a Crude Oil, radical religion-cultural angle to the mix.
Rather than a fire-brigade approach, nigeria without delay needs a ‘’Coherent and Comprehensive terrorism, Counter-terrorism Policy/Strategy cum a National Defence/Military Policy & Strategy’’. We can’t fight insecurity and terrorism by blowing hot and cold; it’s high time we took a definite stand. nigeria is in dire need of a sweeping National Security Reform that embraces and emphasizes on human capital development and state-of-the-art infrastructure.
in addition to the foregoing, this writer also believes that an ‘’Extensive Vulnerability or Resilience Test/Audit of Strategic Public Infrastructures in nigeria’’ is crucial. Juxtaposing ourselves in the position of the bad guys, our Security Agencies and government think-tanks must brainstorm on worst-case scenarios and have answers to them. Every thoughtful and security-minded country or individual, hopes for the best but prepares for the worst.
It is also imperative to put in place well-articulated programmes that will dissuade citizens from been radicalized and to resort to criminality or terrorism in the first place. Hence acute poverty, hopelessness, unemployment, religious fundamentalism etc must be aggressively tackled and curtailed through feasible programs. Research shows that death penalty via a terrorism law will not necessarily deter individuals or groups hell-bent on committing a crime or atrocities.
Another embarrassing and dangerous trend that must be urgently curbed is the propensity of some Nigerian governors to whimsically and promiscuously grant amnesty or release convicted criminals/terrorists to commemorate Ramadan, Independence Day celebrations etc. This prerogative of clemency MUST not be abused!
in my earlier Piece, ‘’the remote, immediate causes of crimes, insecurity/terrorism and instability in nigeria and solutions’’ https://www.nairaland.com/1027585/remote-immediate-causes-crimes-insecurity, I proffered solutions which are largely Political, Social and Economic Reforms; here, my recommendations are skewed towards deployment of Critical Infrastructures and gadgets.
SECTION 2: INTRODUCTION
Security is a serious business world-over and is the primary responsibility of any responsible government.
There is no gainsaying the fact that terrorism is a growing threat to global, regional and national peace. It is a headache even for the advanced countries because of its unconventional nature. Akin to guerilla warfare, the masterminds are unpredictable, fluid and faceless. the political, social and military rules of engagement have been altered. An enemy who has nothing to lose is indeed a dangerous enemy. Our bane in nigeria is that by acts of commission or omission, we shy away from the truth; we are rather reactive than proactive.
the Igbo’s have a saying that ‘’aru gbaa afo, oburu omenala’’. in English this roughly translates to ‘’when a crime/atrocity lasts for too long, it becomes a culture’’. nigeria has become synonymous with terrorism and insecurity. Life has become very cheap here; there is no outrage anymore when innocent people are brutally hacked to death. Our government plays the ostrich and carries on as if there is no cause of alarm. the citizenry, especially those not directly affected go about their business without blinking an eyelid.
Sometime in early 2012, President Jonathan promised that Boko Haram will be history by June 2012. Year 2012 has come to an end and vestiges of Boko Haram miasma is still very much around. They have become more audacious.
Prior to penning this piece, this writer tried through formal and informal channels to ascertain whether or not nigeria has a terrorism/counterterrorism Policy/Strategy or a National Defence Policy/Strategy but no tangible answer came forth except contradictory coterie of gobbledygook statements from different government functionaries and sources. Typical of most things in nigeria, many times government Policies and information are generally shrouded in secrecy and spiced with half-truths, confusion, myths and sentiments.
I am struggling to reconcile myself with something; please can somebody in the know confirm that, ‘’the last review of nigeria’s national Security Policy was done during General Babangida’s regime which gave birth to the National Security Agencies Act in 1986’’. This was 26 years ago! If this is true, then one is not surprised nigeria is ill-prepared to contain insecurity and terrorism. We cannot continue doing the same thing, the same way over and over again and expect a different result. Honestly, we need to raise the bar and be on the same page with the rest of the world.
in an interview with journalists sometime in July 2011, the late former National Security Adviser, Lt. Gen Andrew Owoeye Azazi promised that a National Security Sector Reform was in the offing. Being the only person outside the core North that occupied the position of the National Security Adviser, he did not find it easy with many Northern folks. Now that he is no more, characteristic of our culture of lack of continuity and Policy summersault in nigeria, one hopes his idea of a far-reaching National Security Sector Reform, have not been swept under the carpet.
National Security transcends an individual; National Security goes beyond randomly rejigging the leadership of the army, navy, air force or Police to soothe the agitations of some interest groups. Yes, nobody is important; anybody can be kicked out of an office but those coming subsequently need an established template and guideline to work with.
Contrary to widespread believe, Boko Haram may not after all be responsible for all the acts of terrorism accredited to them. People settle scores somewhere and the Sect basks on it. the Boko Haram quagmire is synonymous with the symptom of an ailment, until we deal with the causative agent of the disease (and not the symptom) as we are doing right now, we may just be chasing shadows.
Hence it is out of profound love, Patriotism and a call to National Service that I undertook to invest my time and resources in articulating these views. This is not aimed at traducing anybody, organization or section of the country. in a country where dissenting opinion or criticism is seen as ‘’Opposition’’, let me quickly point out that this treatise is apolitical and is devoid of tribal leaning or sentiments. This Piece is my little contribution to nigeria’s progress on the occasion of the 2013 Armed Forces Remembrance Day. I yearn to see nigeria running rather than crawling!
Please here is the link for the full text of this article: [url]http://www.scribd.com/doc/120448954/Comprehensive-Assessment-of-the-insecurity-terrorism-Challenges-in-nigeria-and-Recommendations[/url . It is a 30 page document. Cheers
(Security Analyst & Consultant)
|Politics / Remote, Immediate Causes Of Crimes, Insecurity And Instability In Nigeria by NUAIT: 2:13pm On Aug 24, 2012|
the remote, immediate causes of crimes, insecurity/terrorism and instability in nigeria and solutions.
By Don Okereke
Time and space will not permit one to expound all the raison d' etre for the unprecedented trend in kidnappings, instability and insecurity/terrorism in nigeria. the unparalleled spate of terrorism, kidnappings and other violent crimes is to say the least, alarming. Religious leaders, churches, mosques etc are not spared in this onslaught. At the risk of over-egging the pudding, there is no gainsaying the fact that nigeria is at a cross-road and gradually drifting towards a failed state. of course our government hates hearing this home truth, but the truth must be told no matter how bitter it is.
Just recently the Emir of Kano-Alhaji Ado Bayero narrowly escaped death by the whiskers. His driver and two others were not lucky as they were hacked to death by the assailants. Somewhere in Okene, Kogi State, gunmen said to be sympathetic to the Cause of Islamic rebels in Mali were said to have ambushed and opened fire and killed two soldiers on their way to been deployed to Mali. A faceless new group known as ‘’Vanguard for the Protection of Moslems in Black Africa’’ has claimed responsibility for this attack. Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iwela’s mother-Prof. Mrs. Kaneme Okonjo was kidnapped a while ago. It took a demonstration of federal might-deployment of troops for her abductors to free her. Right now the mother of Bayelsa State House of Assembly is being held by kidnappers. These are prominent cases; so many other incidents go unreported probably because the victims lack a voice. Also recall how Senator Gyang Dalyop Datang and others were murdered in cold blood sometime last year in Plateau State. So much noise was made by both the State and Federal government, promising that the masterminds will soon be fished out. If these prominent folks with all the Police/MoPol escorts are not safe in nigeria, one wonders who is safe.
the status quo is tantamount to what transpires in war-torn environments. the tranquility inherent in the nooks and cranny of nigeria has been ruined. Some years ago, places like Jos, Kaduna etc used to be peaceful, cosmopolitan and crises-free. Not any more!
Even in a war situation, there are rules of engagement under the Geneva Convention. Indiscriminate killing of innocent people cannot be justified under any guise whatsoever.
It is on record that some countries have faced similar threats and challenges in the past and triumphed. Our bane in nigeria is that by acts of commission or omission, we repeatedly shy away from the truth. We are rather reactive than proactive. the following are some of the remote and immediate causes of instability, insecurity/terrorism in nigeria:
1. One of the primary causes of instability and insecurity in nigeria is what this writer calls, ‘’our wrong system of government and over-concentration of Political Power at the centre’’. One is not trying to be a prophet of doom, but these problems will continue haunting us until we are honest and bold enough to sort it out. So far we have been treating the symptom of the disease and not the causative agent. Currently it will seem we are building on sand and not on a solid foundation because many of those issues that led to the Nigerian Civil war are still prevalent more than fifty years after the war ended. We cannot afford reinforcing a mistake! It’s high time we redefined and re-negotiated the terms and conditions of our existence perhaps through a National Conference or a no-holds-barred constitutional amendment. With many State governors opposed to Local Government Autonomy and ‘State Police’, one doubts the current constitutional amendment jamboree will yield much positive result.
Balkanizing this country is neither the solution to our problems. This writer strongly believes in the unity of nigeria. Even in a nuclear family, there are bound to be disagreements, do we now split the family because of such quarrels. There is no doubt that nigeria has come to stay but with more than 400 ethnic groups, we need a system of government that gives, if not all, then majority of our citizens a sense of belonging.
2. the second factor is weak judicial system, injustice, nepotism and a culture of impunity. Here people commit all manner of crimes and get away with them. When justice is said to be meted out, a rich man gets a slap on the wrist for stealing or embezzling billions of naira while a poor man is sentenced to five years imprisonment for stealing a goat. There is a widespread notion that justice can be bought or sold in nigeria depending on one’s bargaining power and contacts in the corridors of power. Some of the alleged masterminds of Boko Haram are said to have been arrested in the past by security agents but promptly released due to intervention of powerful individuals while some of them were jailed for just few months, they come out sooner than later and continue with their nefarious activities.
3. A similar factor to the aforementioned is the unprecedented levels of corruption that has permeated the fabrics of our national life. the figures these days are simply mind-boggling! An individual steals, embezzles billions or even trillions of naira without blinking an eye-lid! It would seem there is a competition for who wins the highest award for corruption. Now the government is said to be negotiating with the indicted Oil subsidy culprits. This definitely sets a bad precedent. Why not let the law take its course. the rich criminal can bargain his way out of jail whereas the poor criminal has no choice. From the Police to the Immigration; from the Citadels of learning to the Seats of government; from the hospitals to the churches etc. This writer wishes to use a couple of personal experiences to drive home his point. His wife registered for ante-natal in one of the government hospitals and one of the requirements in addition to paying the normal registration fee, was to donate blood. After paying the required amount and donating the blood free of charge, he was surprised when the officials asked him to ‘shake body’. This in Nigerian parlance means to ‘’settle’’ or give them money. One can voluntarily appreciate them say for doing a good job but not for them to be demanding money for doing a job that they are paid to do.
He had a similar experience when he went to the Post office to pick up a foreign correspondence and the clerk asked him to his ‘grease’ palms before he will release his letter. Such incidents are widespread and have become more of a norm. People even laugh at you when you complain of such happenings or incidents.
4. State of origin/indigenship syndrome or the so-called ‘’quota system’’ also takes a toll on the stability and security of our nation. A typical Nigerian identifies him/her self first with his tribe or state of origin rather than as a Nigerian. A Nigerian born and bred in an area and whose parents and grand-parents are also born in that particular area but are originally from another place, are still seen as strangers or settlers. They may be tolerated but many a times they are not entitled to some of the privileges that the so-called ‘owners’ of the land are entitled to. Currently, it is very much unlikely for say, a Yoruba born and bred in Ebonyi State to aspire and become the Governor of that state. Same applies to an Igbo born and bred in say, Oyo state. Even when there is a law that stipulates one’s entitlements/rights, in reality, it is not pragmatic. With nostalgia, one remembers a situation sometime in Sokoto State; indigent students were exonerated from paying school fees while making it compulsory for ‘settlers’ to pay school fees. This is not even the gist. the gist is that ‘settlers’ from another country (Niger Republic) are perhaps inadvertently exempted from paying school fees because they bear Hausa names, are Moslems and have strong cultural ties with the Hausa/Fulani people that inhabit Sokoto state. On the other hand, ‘settlers’ from say, the South-Eastern or South-Western parts of nigeria pay school fees because they don’t share the same name, culture or language with the Sokoto people. You can see the irony.
5. Weak Institutions, Powerful individuals. in nigeria, some individuals- the so-called god-fathers, Cabals and power-brokers are known to be stronger than the government or the institution. They see themselves as untouchables. They boast that nothing will happen and nothing ultimately happens! A case in point is the Petrol subsidy fraud masterminds. the government wants to broker a deal with them so they can return some of the money they embezzled. Many a times, the Police, Economic & Financial crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) etc needs some kind of ‘clearance’ from the powers that be before they can do what they are naturally supposed to do especially when a so-called godfather or powerful individual is involved. Unscrupulous money-bags and in some cases criminals are celebrated and put in powerful positions because they are ‘connected’. A very popular and powerful ex-governor in nigeria manipulated and escaped justice in nigeria but was subsequently jailed in the U.K. One recalls a former Defence minister in Germany that was relieved of his position because he plagiarized his doctorate degree thesis. Not long ago, a former Canadian minister resigned after it was discovered that inter-alia, she could not reconcile expenses of about $16!.
in the West, I mean most European countries and North America, it is not unlikely that people get away with crimes but once it becomes public knowledge or the person gets caught, there is no hiding place, the law takes its natural course and the culprit must pay for it no matter how highly placed he/she is.
6. There is no doubt that nigeria is endowed with a plethora of unpatriotic, unscrupulous and greedy leaders. Leadership in nigeria is a do-or-die affair, it is not about competition of ideas or rendering selfless service as is the case in most Western Countries. A leadership position in nigeria is seen as a lifetime opportunity for one to enrich himself and exonerate the next twenty generations of his family from poverty. the so-called ‘security vote’ has become a conduit pipe for siphoning money from the government coffers. Like they say, a leopard cannot change its skin.
7. Unemployment and lack of record/database of criminals also in no small measure, contributes to instability and insecurity not just in nigeria but in any other place. the saying goes that, ‘a hungry man is an angry man’. No wonder many western countries pay unemployed people stipends or give them food stamps. We have a superfluity of unemployed people and graduates in nigeria and the jobs are not forthcoming despite the promises by politicians. Some of these unemployed people take to wheeling-dealing while other ones inadvertently go into crimes to survive. Don’t forget that our society is such a place that the affluent like to flaunt their wealth whether ill-gotten or not. So imagine where an average unemployed graduate that spent 4-5 years in the higher institution is constantly intimidated by money-bags that probably never went to a secondary school. Such unemployed graduate may be tempted to kidnap the so-called big-man or any of his relatives and extort money from them.
There is paucity of a comprehensive database of ex-convicts or criminals in nigeria. the implication of this alone has far-reaching effects on instability and insecurity. There abound cases of ex-convicts serving even in the Security Agencies. How can we combat insecurity when we don’t have a comprehensive record of those that have committed one offence or the other in the past.
Also related to the above point is the fact that our Security Agencies needs to be more proactive rather than been reactive. the ranks and file of our Security Agencies need constant training and re-training. They must also be well-equipped to tackle the type of security challenges prevalent today. You don’t expect good result when a Police officer with just an O’ level is investigating a Cyber crime. Their remuneration is also nothing to write home about hence they are not motivated to do their job.
8. nigeria is probably the only country I know of where the sale of chemicals and to a larger extent, drugs are unregulated and where anybody and everybody can waltz into a shop and buy any quantity of chemicals without questions been asked. Hence it is very easy for terrorist to buy some of the raw materials and ingredients like acetone, fertilizers etc that can be used to produce Improvised Explosive Devices (IED’s). I recall an idea was mooted sometime ago for the Chemical Society of nigeria to be involved in licensing chemical dealers. I don’t know if that policy saw the light of the day. It is not late to enact a law if one is not existing that will effectively regulate the selling of chemicals etc.
9. the recent SIM card registration exercise may just be a time bomb waiting to happen. One is not aware of any Data Protection Act or law that stipulates how personal information should be protected and penalties where there is a breach. As usual, the whole idea and exercise was rammed into our throat. Deadlines for SIM registration were been bandied about, you will think it was some kind of emergency. of course dissenting opinions are seldom tolerated here and offering constructive criticism makes one unpatriotic. the alacrity with which the whole thing was done, you will think it is the panacea to all our security challenges. Billions of naira was sunk into this project. There is nothing to show that the SIM card registration exercise is a success. How are we even sure ‘’Mr A’’ that registers him SIM is who he claims to be since we don’t have a comprehensive database of Nigerians? Don’t forget that with roaming, one can use the SIM card from any country in nigeria. Even if all Nigerian are forced to register their SIM’s, one with a criminal intent can get an unregistered SIM from any other country, roam it and use it to perpetrate criminality in nigeria.
One is not sure if calls can be tracked in real time here in nigeria. If this is the case, the most that can be done is to work out the coordinates of the nearest telephone mast to the approximate distance AFTER the call must have ended and a smart culprit must have moved.
Concentrating all our personal information-pictures, names, addresses, fingerprints etc in a single database without adequate security is definitely a national disaster waiting to happen. Terrorists can hack or access our personal information if they are not well encrypted or secured. My fingerprint is very personal to me. One’s fingerprint is like one’s blood; in fact it is even more personal than the blood because no two individuals on earth have exactly the same fingerprint whereas two or more people can have the same blood group and genotype. Hence it goes without saying that if you want me to volunteer my fingerprint under whatever guise, I need a guarantee that it will be kept safe and will not fall into wrong hands. the last time I checked, according to global best practice, it is only the fingerprint of a convicted criminal that can be taken with or without his consent.
10. Our borders are to say the least simply porous! With our extensive borders, people can waltz in and out of nigeria without detection. Oil bunkering is prevalent because our coastal borders are not adequately patrolled. Proliferation of arms and ammunitions are also common-place courtesy of our porous borders. the Nigerian Immigration Service, Customs, Navy and the Nigerian Air force must synergize to ensure that our borders are effectively patrolled. If need be, perhaps we can do what the Americans are doing in their borders with Mexico by erecting perimeter fencing and electronic surveillance in particular hot-spots.
solutions Proffered To the Aforementioned Problems.
Having identified the raison d’ etre of instability and insecurity in nigeria, an attempt is hereby made to proffer solutions.
If we must surmount the aforesaid threats to our well being as a nation, then we must begin to tell ourselves the home truth no matter how bitter it may be.
One of the first and very important steps we must take to curtail instability and insecurity is for us to embrace a Political system of government that gives more power to the federating units rather than concentrating so much power at the centre. Even the so-called federalism we claim to practice is adulterated. We have corrupted what federalism represents. True federalism as practiced by the Americans will no doubt eliminate the frequent agitation inherent in our polity. Sequel to our diverse ethnic nationalities, diverse cultural and religious backgrounds, One tends to have an affinity for a system of government akin to the British model- devolution or a variant of it minus the monarchy aspect. After more than 300 years or so of uneasy political marriage, Britain with 3 or 4 constituent nations-England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, appreciates the need and benefits of devolving Powers to the constituent countries. Scotland inter alia, has its own Police force, currency, parliament etc.
the problems and realities that gave birth to nigeria’s civil war in 1967 are yet to be dealt with. Whether we shy away from the home truth or not, the implacable geometrical trend in instability and insecurity in nigeria can be reconciled to the quest for Political Power and Relevance by the various nationalities that people nigeria. the Niger-Delta militants agitated and were promptly pacified with an amnesty program and with one of their own emerging the Vice President and subsequently the substantive president.
Several years ago it was the dreaded Maitesina that was unleashed terror. Today it is the Boko Haram. Who knows, tomorrow, the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign state of Biafra (MASSOB) will be tempted to take up arms since violence is the only language that the Nigerian leadership understands.
There was so much excitement over the offer of Boko Haram to negotiate with the government. These guys are playing a dangerous hide and seek game with the Nigerian Government. They are waging a psychological warfare and it would seem they have the ace. the Nigerian government must not negotiate from a position of weakness or helplessness. Sometimes, an offer of negotiation may just be a ploy by the other party to re-strategize, regroup, and advance. Let us hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
This entire hullabaloo about negotiating with every group that raises its ugly head is tantamount to postponing the evil day. Let us be ready for the consequences as we set a precedent of negotiating with every irrational person or group. Something is not quite right with the foundation of nigeria, its high time we summoned courage and dealt with the nitty-gritty once and for all rather than chasing shadows and postponing the evil day.
Secondly, to eradicate or curtail instability cum insecurity, we need to strengthen our judicial system by ensuring that justice is dispensed no matter whose ox is gored. Nepotism and a culture of impunity must also be eschewed from our national psyche and life. nigeria must be an egalitarian nation and not a country where there are two sets of rules-one for the rich and another for the poor. Nigerians must not be made to suffer in the midst of plenty!
Thirdly, serious, concerted and visible effort must be geared towards exterminating corruption and injustice in nigeria. EFCC, ICPC must be INDEPENDENT! There must not be sacred cows or smoke-screens! A situation where the Attorney-general of the federation or the minister of justice can arbitrarily and unilaterally terminate or discontinue any case instituted by the EFCC, et al, no matter the merits of the case, should be looked into as it is subject to abuse.
Measures must also be put in place to ensure quick dispensation of justice. in nigeria, people commit an offence that has say, a five years maximum sentence and they spend six years in jail awaiting trial. Let justice be done and seen to be done.
Fourthly, merit must not be sacrificed on the altar of State of origin/Indigenship or the so-called Quota system. Laws must be made that guarantees every Nigerian, the right to reside in any part of nigeria and be entitled to what every other person there is entitled to. I understand we have such laws; those laws must not just be paper-tigers, they must be enforced and workable.
This issue is the root of the imbroglio in Jos and some other parts of nigeria. the Hausa/Fulani tribes in Jos are still seen as strangers even though some of them, their Parents, grand and great-grand parents were born in Jos and have no other place as home.
Fifthly, we must strengthen and encourage our institutions. As Obama once said, Africa needs strong institutions, not strong men. Our institutions must walk the talk and not just be paper-tigers. All citizens must be equal before the law. the culture of foisting candidates on the electorate during elections must stop. Elections must be free and fair and a system should be put in place that ensures only Patriotic and unscrupulous individuals hold positions of responsibility.
Similarly, unemployment must be seriously tackled and curtailed. the private sector must be encourage and supported to create the much needed jobs. Constant electricity supply will no doubt boost employment and increase productivity.
Lastly and very important is that we must jettison our fire brigade approach to solving problems be it security or otherwise. More often than not, we wait until the harm is done before we start running helter-skelter. We must embrace an intelligence gathering method. Problems, crises etc must be nipped in the bud before they escalate. Prior to his death, Osama Bin Laden seemed to be larger than life for about a decade but through intelligence, America finally tracked him down and eliminated him.
Our Police and other security agencies must be well-equipped and trained/re-trained to tackle present day security challenges. Qualified and bright individuals should be encouraged with good incentives to enlist into the Security Agencies. the police must not be a dumping ground for dullards. One is encouraged with the recent enlistment exercise of IT professionals into the officer cadre of the nigeria Police. Other professionals should be wooed too. the nigeria Police is also reported to have upped the ante by making Ordinary National Diploma and NCE the minimum requirement for potential recruits into the Police. Recruitment exercise must be transparent. Merit must not be sacrificed in the altar of god-fatherism. the Police forensic laboratory must be well-equipped, funded and staffed with qualified personnel.
Security is not necessarily rocket science; no wonder even nitwits find very comfortable careers in crime and terrorism. A lot of common sense can help to maintain security. the problem is that common sense is no longer common these days. An iota of omission or negligence can have severe security implications and consequences. Even the Scripture says, ‘watch and pray’.
Nigerians must be continually sensitized to be security conscious. We have a culture of taking everything for granted over here. Security is a collective responsibility. Our lackadaisical attitude to security must cease. in most Western countries, people take note of a new neighbor when s/he moves into the neighborhood. You will be surprised you wander up and down a street in a typical Western nation and the next thing you see are police cars blaring their sirens. Apart from the security cameras everywhere, probably an elderly man or woman must have tipped the police off. Here in nigeria, most of us do not know our next door neighbor not to talk of other neighbors living the next street. We don’t know or care what our neighbors’ are into.
the National Orientation Agency, the State Security Service etc have to be more proactive. Enlightenment campaigns must be ongoing.
Recall also that individuals and groups do not have a monopoly over terrorism. History abounds of State terrorism where Governments by act of commission or omission, use instruments and institutions of government to terrorize its citizens. We also have financial terrorism etc. Too much wealth is in wrong hands in nigeria and they can deploy it to destabilize the polity.
So government must not push its citizens so hard that they resort to criminality, violence and terrorism. A hungry man they say is an angry man. Nigerians are generally peaceful and pliant.
All the aforementioned factors are intertwined; the sporadic interplay of them impinges an unpredictable butterfly effect on the Stability and Security of nigeria. Nigerians, let us Unite Against insecurity and terrorism. Let’s make nigeria great again!
God bless nigeria and Nigerians.
(Security Analyst & Consultant)
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