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The collapse of security


If internal security poses a challenge for nations, its intensity in poor and underdeveloped countries indubitably quadruples. In Africa, it has assumed a dimension bordering on social scourge. Even in the few exceptions available, it can be safely argued that it is only a matter of time before the bubble bursts. Internal security is a direct result of good and conscionable governance, without which any human society is prone to social tensions, discord and grievances. Over time, these various forms of discontent mutate into anger and rebellion and, in no time, insurgency becomes the bastion of the implacable.

Sadly, Africa is replete with such pockets of dissension to which the governments in place have scant answers. In Nigeria, the famed giant of the continent, various issues of insurgency and armed rebellion have plagued democracy since 1999. Ten years on, and still counting, Boko Haram has remained a permanent feature of the country’s sociopolitical landscape. To worsen matters, the terror group has been joined by Fulani herdsmen who act as if they are on a revenge mission, killing and maiming other Nigerians at will. Confronting the many desperate armies of discontents at the same time is a daunting task  for the Nigerian state, especially since they require different strategies.

As Boko Haram relentlessly unleashes terror in the North-East, Fulani herdsmen intensify their aggression on farming communities across the country, from Benue and Taraba to Enugu. In the South-West, they kidnap, maim and rob people and set farmlands on fire. The perennial, mutually assured annihilation in Southern Kaduna has refused to abate even though the state government has resorted to imposing hours of curfew to stem the tide of hostility. Of late, too, banditry of epic proportions has surfaced in Zamfara State. The state governor recently canvassed for the institution of a state of emergency in the state, bewildered and exasperated by the persistence of a crime that has defied all forms of solutions that law and order can offer, including the deposition of erring traditional heads of communities.

There is also the flourishing kidnapping business which has fetched millions of naira as ransom to felons throughout the country. The nasty experiences of arrested felons in the hands of the security agencies have not dissuaded new ones. And despite these benumbing national experiences, the statistics from the international agencies and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) paint a dreary and dismal picture. For quite a while, the ruling elite have not earned their pay and are simply not interested in making the country work. For instance, the number of out-of-school children in the country is ever increasing, six people slip into the poverty net every minute, while 3.3 million Nigerians recently lost their jobs. A situation with these alarming figures cannot enhance national security and there is proof positive that the pockets of dissension across the country are fed by poverty and ignorance.

Up till now, the establishment seems to have favoured the law and order approach to confronting these security issues. But the war against insurgency has taken a huge toll on soldiers and civilians. Rather than abate, insurgency has become more dastardly and virulent. The more money is spent on law and order, the more insecurity increases and this suggests a change in tactics. The nation must address the roots of misery and desperation which encourage the merchants of death to accept a token in order to blow themselves up. A social engineering that will give hope to the hordes of despondent people in the North-East, a change in the reward system in the society, a closure of the wide gap of inequality, and a pragmatic approach to the problem of youth unemployment are some of the steps that will change the narrative of insecurity in the country.

Dousing the various sources of tension in the society will definitely yield more benefits than the law and order approach and improve the transaction among the various socioeconomic classes in the Nigerian society.

The post The collapse of security appeared first on Tribune Online.

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