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NIGERIA @61:Role of Security in the Face of Increasing Internal Threats – THISDAY Newspapers

Gbolahan Samuel Moronfolu
Security threat no doubt is a concern to Nations world over. These threats could be social, such as aggression from a neighboring country, infiltration from a terrorist group or global economic trends that compromise the nation’s socio-economic activities. In other cases, threats could be natural phenomenal, such as hurricanes or viral pandemics. Either way, threats challenges a nation’s power and disrupts its well-being.
The notion of national security is to safeguards against such threats. National security is the protection of all citizens, other nationals, public and private infrastructures as well as the economic stability of nations. One of the core responsibilities of national security is identifying potential dangers and equipping for the right response.
Insecurity in Nigeria has recently assumed an alarming rate affecting every facet of Nigerian life with no end in sight. Insecurity is not a problem unique only to Nigeria as other nations also face the challenges. Unarguably, insecurity has heightened leading to severe unimaginable social consequences which has blighted the socio-economic sphere of Nigeria’s life.
Without doubt, Nigeria has great potentials for greatness, especially with its large population made up of a dynamic work force, a growing economy, abundant natural resources, diverse raw materials, huge oil deposits and a reservoir of intellectuals. In spite of these indices for greatness, Nigeria still remains a developing country struggling most frantically to find her feet among the comity of nations due to the prevailing and divergent security challenges among others, that have continued to pose as a challenge to its development and growth.
Truth must be told, Nigeria is currently passing through turbulent and trying times, as echoes of not just insurgency but criminality have marred its nascent democracy. Crimes such as militancy, kidnapping, ritual killings, armed robbery, assassinations, destruction of public and private property and lack of relative peace appear to be on the increase in Nigeria.
It would appear dimensionally, that the pattern of insecurity in Nigeria has been regionalized. Militia group’s insurgency in the North, kidnappers in the Eastern and Southern part of the country, ritual killings in the West, and political and non-political assassinations across the nation have become a recurring decimal.
As a result of the increasing incidence and prevalence of insecurity and in order to ameliorate it, the Federal government has embarked on the criminalization of terrorism by passing the Anti-terrorism Act (2011), the proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Installation of Computer-Based Close Circuit TV camera (CCTV) in some parts of the country, and broadcast of security tips in mass media.
Commendable as these efforts may appear, the level of insecurity in the country still remains high. Security is a necessary ingredient for the growth, progress and political stability of any society. Security is vital for survival. An insecure country cannot survive as a free and self-respecting member of the committee of nations.
Why is security vital for any nation?
Security is important because it is almost impossible to be truly productive if you (yourself, family, property, whatever) are not secure. Assuming you live in an insecure place, with constant threats to your person and your property, what do you spend most of your time doing in that case? You spend your time trying to defend yourself and your property – basic survival. What do you spend your time doing? – Virtually anything else. You don’t start a business, you don’t go to school, you don’t build anything and you don’t pay your taxes (and your government isn’t even collecting them because it, like you, is working to survive).
An insecure and dysfunctional nation has no infrastructure base, no economic base, no reliable workforce. Its people may be starving, uneducated and unhealthy. It has no capital. If it can’t take care of its people and its own affairs, how can it defend its own sovereignty against neighboring states? If it can’t even manage a basic subsistence economy, how can it eventually create a functioning export economy? A state must secure itself first and guarantee its own sovereignty before it can hope to become active and productive in international relations.
Without basic security, there is no state. And if there’s no state, there’s no basis for trade or diplomacy or anything else. A nation that cannot secure its borders and vital national interests will always feel threatened, exploited, dominated or worse. A nation that cannot secure itself against internal security threats will have no peace, law and order, unity, integrity or development.
Nigeria security over the years has been a source of concern for keen observers of the nation’s security situation. Of recent, the security situation of Nigeria has been called to question severally from political unrest to incessant religious and terrorist groups doing havoc on the nation.
The essence of this discourse is the role of security agents in the face of internal security challenges in Nigeria. To what extent are they relevant and effective in curbing the excesses of recurring threats and terrorist groups in Nigeria?
The idea of security or national security has received attention from every concerned citizen of our nation. The primary role of every government is the provision of security especially with regards to life and property. Taking into cognizance the importance of security to the wellbeing and development of any nation, the relevance of security agents cannot be over emphasized.
The role of these various security agents helps to bring about confidence in the minds of the people because security assurance brings about progress and development. An environment that is safe and conflict free brings about confidence and integrate the various sectors of the economy. A feeling of happiness and general public contentment also springs up. It attracts investment to the country. No investor would want to invest in a trouble and conflict infested society.
Nigeria currently experience general insecurity in most parts of the country and citizens are generally apprehensive of their safety. This situation surely will not boost investors’ confidence or the general public. That is why the role of security agents in providing security is very important.
If an environment is well policed and secure or free from security crisis it tends to bring about economic development. This is because no society can develop where there are violence and constant threats to peace and stability.
A cursory look at Nigeria during crisis situation will further give credence to the importance of security and its agents to the wellbeing of the Nigerian society. During the days of the Niger delta agitation by militants over the issue of resource control, the nation witnessed a steady decline in revenue, foreign investors shied away from investing in the area, but with renewed peace and confidence, investors are steadily returning.
This goes to show the importance of peace and a stable environment on the economic development of Nigeria. The continued provision of security and security agents’ reaction to stem down clashes and conflicts situations has been a great plus to economic progress of Nigeria.
Given the importance of security agents in safeguarding lives and property, government should do well in equipping our security personnel so as to help them brace up to the challenges of maintaining law and order in the society. Covert and advanced techniques in checking the activities of terrorist groups must be entrenched in our security practices.
This also calls for training and retraining to better equip them with modern sophisticated techniques of societal policing. In spite of the economic perspective to national security, our security apparatus should be nurtured with highly mobile and professional armed forces to equip the non- military security needs of Nigeria.
Successful national security architecture begins with defining one’s national interest. Nigeria needs the confidence to design a homegrown national security strategy that involves all institutions, including both the state and non-state actors. Nigeria needs to commit to a reform of the defense and security sectors. Though Nigeria’s defense budget is low, it can deliver much more impact than it currently does.
The country needs accountability in policies, processes, and restrictions to ensure higher impact from the available security budgets. The government (including the legislature, judiciary, and executive) should be effective in taking decisions, ensuring accountability of security personnel, coordination of multiple stakeholders, monitoring and evaluation of military operations and peace building initiatives.
Laws should be enacted to give impetus to security personnel as a back up to maximizing their full potentials when carrying out security operations around the country.
The security agencies should be adequately trained to handle violence, with needed equipments to manage crisis. Vigilance should find a way to curtail the proliferation of small arms in the country.
The best hope this country could have today in its effort against criminal activities lies in preventing crime and not in apprehending offenders after their act. One techniques of prevention is to analyze risk based on information or intelligence. Without intelligence there is nothing to analyze. Good planning based on reliable intelligence pays off.
Every Nigerian has a role to play in tackling security challenges facing the country. There is need for a unified stance guided by an agreed national interest, irrespective of political, religious and ethnic affiliations. This national security architecture should significantly improve Nigeria’s chances of mitigating the spate of violence across the country.
*Moronfolu is a seasoned security consultant with many years of security and policing experience. FELLOW, Fourth Estate Professional Society (FFPS), he has also partaken in peace keeping operations within and outside the country and has flair for general security education.
Successful national security architecture begins with defining one’s national interest. Nigeria needs the confidence to design a homegrown national security strategy that involves all institutions, including both the state and non-state actors


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