In this Guest Article, Ogonna Chiemeziem Obi (MA), deals with a topic that we have to grapple with on a daily basis as Nigerians; and that is the issue of insecurity. He takes us through the causes of insecurity as well as his proposed solutions.

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and do not necessarily represent the official policy or position of Glory Ifezue Foundation. Glory Ifezue Foundation is not responsible and does not verify for accuracy any of the information contained in the Guest articles published on this website. The primary purpose of these Guest articles are to educate and inform and create a platform for Nigerians, as well as anyone, who have thoughts to share on policy issues affecting governance in the country.

The issues of insecurity in Nigeria is something we have come to deal with and as it turns out, it seems Nigeria is not fully prepared to handle the fallout. For example, most security issues keep arising because we do not have modern technology to track crimes and the perpetrators, so they move freely and mostly unchecked, and unhindered as they carry out their nefarious acts.

We have different elements in Nigeria causing security issues, amongst the known ones are: Boko Haram/ISWAP that operates mostly in the North-Eastern part of the country and expanding as we speak, Niger-Delta Militants that operates mainly in the southern Oil rich part of the country, we also have bandits, herdsmen/farmers conflicts, and IPOB/kidnappers that operate mainly in the East and other parts of the country.

All these groups have different mode of engagement with civilians and government institutions. But recently we have noticed a spike in the activities of bandits and Boko Haram. This I believe is as a result of insufficient manpower to check their activities, insufficient tactical arms to combat them and almost no surveillance on the activities of insurgents. Modern technology would help track their movement, intercept their communication, and tactical weapons will be deployed to take them out or arrest them as the case maybe.

Due to ethnic toga security issues in Nigeria have worsened, fighting them has also become complicated. For example, while HE Obasanjo was in power, people from the South criticized his heavy handedness in fighting the Niger-delta Militants, People from the North Criticized HE Jonathan’s methods in fighting Boko Haram. So fighting or combating security concerns in Nigeria is sensitive which is part of the reasons they still linger till today.

Another major setback we have with fighting rising insecurity in Nigeria is insufficient funding of security personnel. As a former marketer with First City Monument bank, I came to see first-hand the financial mess most security agents are into. Many of them have collected loans and because they’re unable to survive after deductions from their salary every month, most of them resort to mounting checkpoints where they can collect money from road users. They all complain that they’re not given a fair wage; therefore they have to seek funds through other means.

Again, there is also the issue of corruption in the military. For example, President Buhari approved $1 Billion for more military equipment and barely a month after the resignation and replacement of service chiefs the money went missing. On several occasions, military personnel deployed to fight the insurgents have complained that their financial package is not getting through to them, making it impossible for them to perform their duties effectively.

There is also the problem of corruption in government. There is lack of transparency at the helm of affairs. This is evident in the ways military equipment are purchased. For example, during the Jonathan administration, his government came under heavy criticism for spending billions of dollars for the purchase of substandard military equipment.

To counter these challenges, there should be an urgent move by the government to procure modern smart arms and technologies so as to ensure proper tracking and elimination/apprehension of terrorist and bandits in the country. There should also be proper training of personnel that will use these equipments so they don’t become dormant or can’t be repaired when they have minor faults. There is also need for intelligence sharing. Our security agents and stakeholders must ensure we share intelligence not only with neighbouring countries but also with other developed countries so as to update and add to learning.

There is need for financial transparency in the military. This is very important in order to encourage the gallant men defending our country from various elements that want to cause us harm. Transparency will ensure that what’s due anyone gets to them and that there are adequate records of all expenditure. There is also need for a military reform. This crucial in order to correct various anomalies that exist presently in the military. The government also need to lead in the fight against corruption. Modern equipment should be purchased and there should be constant training for the military so they can be able to be able to counter internal and external threats. They should be trained so they can be able to combat modern/sophisticated crimes.

It is also important that the government and the people in general treat insurgency, militancy and herdsmen crimes as a crime against the state and not to attach any form of tribal or ethnic sentiments to it. This will enable all parties involved in eradicating them have a clear sense of purpose to carry out their responsibility without fear or favour.

There is an urgent need to increase the salary of all security outfits in the country. This will go a long way to boosting their morale and make them more committed to saving lives and property and not involving in different means in order to make ends meet. There should be some financial benefits for those fighting Boko Haram in the North-East, but I strongly encourage that these benefits get to those who it needs to get to at the appropriate time. Delays in payments of salaries and benefits have been pointed out as a major morale killer amongst employees and more especially in the military. Is also important that government recruit more hands into various security outfits in the country to help stem the rising insecurity challenge in the country.

In conclusion, I will say that ensuring peace and security have become one of the greatest challenges of any country in these modern times. This is the reason some countries like Iran and North Korea have taken to developing Nuclear weapons. Some others are increasing arms spending while some have taken to developing Biological weapons. If we continue to play the politics of ethnicity and sentiments we will end up at the receiving end. Events that unfolded in Afghanistan should serve as an example to us not to allow corruption wreck our security system. Is crucial that Nigeria rise above her security challenges and begin to play her role in the region and Africa as a whole.

Ogonna Chiemeziem Obi (MA) is a writer and a public and social critic. He is a lecturer at Harvard Wilson College of Education. He has written several articles, short stories and poems. You can catch up with him on his social media handles as follows: Tweeter: @Ogona213; IG : @Ogona213; FBK:


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