Practical solutions to Security challenges in Nigeria

Nigeria is indeed a very large nation in terms of population and landmass but one problem among many has bedeviled the nation for the past few decades. Even now, it’s come up to the point where it seems the last strike that will break the country is being prepared. The problem in question is the problem of insecurity and it’s as serious as it can be. In this study, we will be examining the causes, effects and types of security problems that the Nigeria state faces on a day to day basis. We will also try to find out what the country has been doing to combat these security challenges and lastly, we will proffer solutions to end it for the good of the citizens and the government. We know it’s not possible to totally wipe out terrorism and related security problems but they can be minimized and a lot of them can be prevented. That will be the focus and aim of our study.

Boko Haram insurgency in Northern Nigeria: a relatively new Problem

Boko Haram insurgency
Boko Haram insurgency

In my own view which I will prove below, the problem of insecurity and terrorism that we encounter in Nigeria are relatively fresh. They weren’t born with the country. So, if they are problems that developed relatively recently, it becomes easier to trace the problem back to its roots and deal with the causes directly. For example, Boko Haram was never an issue in Nigeria until 2009 when the group started becoming violent. Initially, Boko Haram was formed in 2002 by the founder, Mohammed Yusuf. Scantily saying it was after the founder was assassinated that the group became dangerous in their operations.

Boko Haram is known to fight for an Islamic state in Nigeria and West Africa. But, upon becoming violent in their activities, they recorded a high of over 3000 deaths within a year in July 2014. They attack tactics ranges from bombings to suicide attacks. They attack churches and some allege that they also attack mosques. Indeed, the problem of Boko Haram insurgency is one of the main reasons why former president Goodluck Jonathan could not win a second term in the presidency. The killings were simply too much. In recent times, the terror group is known to focus their attacks on the military unlike before when their primary focus is on the citizens. An attack carried out at Metele left hundreds of Nigerian soldiers dead  Indeed it was a wake up call for the nation and her citizens as since then, there has been improvements on the side of the soldiers and they have been able to carry out successful attacks on the terrorists since then.

Serious mobilization has been made to combat the insecurity in the region as well. President Buhari awarded $1 billion to combat the Boko Haram insurgency recently but did the money reach its destination? We will find out

Challenges encountered in fighting insecurity due to terrorism in the North East

1. Poorly equipped military

Several reports have surfaced which proves that the government isn’t doing enough to take care of the soldiers at the war front. The soldiers have also complained that they are not given guns that are good enough to fight against the more equipped terrorists. Videos have come online as posted by the soldiers themselves and in these videos, they have lamented about the condition in which they are made to face the enemy as well as the challenges they face.

2. Allocated funds don’t make it to the soldiers

In most cases, given the corrupt nature of the country we live in, a huge part of the money made available to acquire weapons were simply diverted for personal purposes by individuals who have access to the funds. This leaves little money to buy weapons and they ones they manage to acquire will either not be in good working condition or their performance is not up to par.

3. The morale of the soldiers are down

Given the conditions that I have already listed, the soldiers who are seeing action at the front lines aren’t motivated enough to face their enemies any longer and this easily leads to more losses on their side. The soldiers definitely need encouragement from the people and the government.

What the government can do to improve the security situation in the North East

Well, they should reverse the current order of things. This Is not a one day process nor is it something that can easily be done but one step at a time, the situation can be turned around. Here are some of the thins that should be done.

1. Better equipments for fighting should not just be budgeted for but also followed up to the point of delivery to the soldiers.

2. The well being of the soldiers should also be prioritized.

3. Civilian volunteers should be engaged and well trained to assist the soldiers in the war front.

4. Since Boko Haram isn’t just a Nigerian affair, other countries such as Niger and Chad where they also terrorizes should be engaged so that strategic plans can be made and executed to halt Boko Haram strides or retraction into any zone.

Insecurity in the Middle Belt region: Fulani herdsmen

Herdsmen militancy
Herdsmen militancy

The case of the Middle Belt is a different one from that of the North East and so it needs different approach. The Fulani herdsmen who herd their cows around Nigeria are the major source of loss of lives and properties in this region. At first, it started as farmers and herders clashes wherein land dispute between the both parties led to fights of different intensities.

The crisis is majorly concentrated in the middle belt states which include Taraba, Nasarawa and especially Benue state. The casualties recorded in these crises are usually in the form of dead farmers and their families on the side of the indigenes and dead cows on the side of the herders. Such impartiality. There has also been loss of farmlands and farm products on the parts of the farmers as well. The primary problem with the problem in this region is that the federal government has refused to call the herdsmen to order but instead, the farmers are hushed and advised to treat the herdsmen as “fellow countrymen”. However, the herdsmen are known to be well armed while the farmers are anything but armed. In fact there is hardly any known direct confrontation by the farmers in a fight against the herdsmen but rather, it has always been a one-sided fight with the herdsmen shooting and killing at will with little or no resistance from the farmers.

However , at some point ,the military intervened in the crisis, waging semi-wars against the herdsmen in which they were victorious most of the time. The military succeeded in claiming back most of the lands seized by the herdsmen from the farmers. Apart from the periodic intervention of the soldiers, the people are left wholly at the mercy of the herdsmen. The governor of the state has come under different forms of political attacks for speaking up for his people and against the herdsmen. It has appeared on news that suspected herdsmen has set ablaze farmlands belonging to the governor as a way of punishing him.

You can see it’s a very sensitive and difficult situation here. Eventually, Benue state enacted a law called “anti-open grazing law” that prohibited the herdsmen from taking their animals into the open to graze. This law has been a source of heated argument and confrontations from the side of the herdsmen but the situation seems to be normalizing in recent times.

What could be done to arrest the Militancy In the Middle belt

This is a tricky situation and it needs a decisive approach.

1. First, respective people should demand more attention from the military and the president.

I know this approach has been tried but it can be sharpened by involving certain people who the president will be likely to listen to even if that means senators at the national assembly.

2. Awaken the Sleeping Military Men

With the resulting attention, the military should be jolted to take adequate actions against the perpetrators of the violence. They should not be treated with kid gloves any further.

3. Civilians can help too

The vigilante group and other local civilians should also be involved and equipped to help the government condition the miscreants that have been causing problems.

4. Creating peace & growth facilitating Laws

Adequate institutions such as the office behind the “anti-open grazing laws”  in Benue state should also be set up and equipped to punish anyone who tries to breach the order of the society.

This way, the herdsmen and farmers conflict can be contained and the conflict quelled.

IPOB’s growing influence in the South east & south south

Ipob members
Ipob members

IPOB stands for Indigenous People of Biafra. The movement is a secessionist group lead by Nnamdi Kanu. In recent years, IPOB has largely grown in quality and quantity of members who view themselves as marginalized and ill-treated in the country, Nigeria. Marginalization is not something which is new to the world but the secessionists insists that they do not want any negotiations with the federal government. Rather  all they demand is freedom from the country, Nigeria. Somewhat surprisingly, IPOB has refused to be violent in their activities and approach towards actualizing Biafra  even though they have come under different types of bombardment from the federal government and their agencies especially the army. Ipob members have been killed in the past during peaceful protests by the army. They have also been arrested sporadically, both men and women in massive numbers . Recently, some Jewish members of IPOB were arrested in Abia State for staging a protest in the state. They gave been released though. Upon all the persecutions, the members of the group has resolved to remain peaceful in their dealings. The Federal government dealt a deadly blow on the group by proclaiming them terrorists to the nation. Following this development, the house of the leader, Nnamdi Kanu was raided in an attempt to either arrest or kill him. He somehow managed to escape only to reappear about a year later in Israel, Asian continent. Wow!

So this is clearly the case of government using force to attempt to quench the fire of a group which wants to peacefully break away from the country. I don’t know very well but I fear such attitude will not work towards people whose mind are set the way that of IPOB members is set .The scenario that could play out is one in which IPOB evolves into a violent group in their quest which is what is best described as a violent struggle. Such a situation will not favor any party in any way. I could go on and on about the situation but you can learn all about Biafra struggle here.

What the Government could do to quell the rising Tension around Biafra and IPOB

The Federal government has actually gone very far in the opposite direction to progress in terms of dealing with the IPOB. By proscribing the group as a Terrorist organization, they have left a big mark that will be difficult to remove but it’s not too late.

1. Remove the terrorist proscription on the group, IPOB.

To start with, everyone knows that Ipob is not a terrorist organization. The tag is a tool with which the government can carry out their actions against members of the group including shooting and killing innocent numbers at will but will still have the cover of the law. This is exactly what the government is doing.

2. Call the aggrieved group to the table for a discussion which is long overdue.

Discussion is the only way to create lasting peace in any society. Without such a discussion, there will be no agreement and understanding so everyone will be running on their own track.

3. Show some Genuine care. It’s DUE & MORAL

Learn about the grievances of the IPOB and why they want to exit from the nation. Surely, it’s due to marginalisation and this is what the government should be focused on addressing.

Surely, since the group is not violent, once an agreement is reached, IPOB will easily keep to it while the government tries to keep to their own part of the agreement.

Security problems in the Niger Delta Region

Niger Delta militants
Niger Delta militants

The Niger Delta is the region that borders most of the oil-producing states in the nation. There had been serious tension in the region but thanks to negotiations especially by the administration of former president Goodluck Jonathan, the situation has stalled to a controllable one. At the time, the Niger Delta militants were angered that the crude Oil with which the nation’s purse is funded comes from their land but the government is doing very little to take care of their environment which is polluted by the crude Oil exploration process. For this, they demanded that the government compensate them and also take better care of their environment to ensure it’s sustainability. They engaged in wanton kidnapping of company as well as government officials who are sent to supervise the activities in the oil regions. They hardly ever massacre their victims. They also blow up pipes carrying petrol from the oil wells.

A movie shot in the period of the crisis, “the liquid black gold” explains the situation well.

The struggle has continued but once the militants are appeased and their conditions met, they order and maintain a ceasefire across the region. Recently they have declared a stoppage to their ceasefire agreement on the ground that the government has broken some of their initial agreements.

What the Government can do to Appease the Niger Delta Militants

1. The government needs to revisit the table with the militants

Since there own demands are already well known and they had previously been in talks with the government, it becomes easier to reach a good conclusion.

2. The government should effect whatever they agree upon

They should also set up responsible committees to ensure that fair treatment is being dealt to the people of the Niger Delta by way of compensating them for their inputs to Nigeria. We already know that the federal government gives them 13% derivation of oil profits. But projects such as cleaning up oil spills will easily swallow the money gotten from this. Government should be directly involved in providing remedy and support for the Niger Delta population in any way they should.

Armed Robbery across Nigeria and especially in Lagos

Armed robbers are everywhere but there are places in the country that are notorious for their operations. They rob banks and they kidnap rich people, from who they extort money.  Lagos is one of those cities where a lot of things are happening and for this reason, a lot of thieves are also on ground looking for opportunities to execute their get-rich-quick operations. Onitsha is also another city in Nigeria notorious for the activities of thieves especially in the Ngbuka Obosi, Okpoko area. Thieves operating in the Anambra state cited , world recognized market city ranges from those who do pickpocketing to those who roam the streets and attack the banks with guns. They are generally not after people’s lives but money although they are known to kill anything and anyone that’s in their way during an operation. Hence, they are still dangerous to human lives and the free flow of businesses.

What the government can do about the Armed Robbers

This one has a simple and a complicated answer. Yes, there’s a short one and a long one but neither can be ignored. Here are two ways to curtail the activities of thieves in the society.

1. Train and Equip police department to do their job

You can imagine the state of things in the police force in a country where the army cannot boast of good weapons to fight terrorists. One does not need to ask in order to understand that they are poorly funded and equipped. The first step to winning the war against these thieves is to think ahead of them. Police should be at the appropriate places, in good numbers and at the right time. The bank districts will do well with more police on ground and around the area. By improving the police architecture overall in target places and also installing CCTV to cover such places, thieves can be boxed into a tight corner where they can easily be apprehended.

2. Create Employment

That’s the long story and am sure you know why it’s a long story. It’s easier to deploy more policemen than to create jobs but on the long run, it benefits the economy more to have more hands in productive activities. Creating more Jobs will take more youths off the streets and keep them busy elsewhere. It is a difficult but effective way to solve the problems of insecurity due to activities of the armed robbers.

 as the saying goes, Guns don’t Grow 

So, we have been able to discuss majority of the problems that Nigeria has in terms of security. That’s not all but we have been able to touch the most important ones in the different regions of the country – Igboland, Hausa land, Niger Delta, Middle Belt. We have also talked about how the government can reduce the activities of armed robbers in the society. Overall, Nigeria is in a big security mess but the options are also available to rescue the nation. Will the government take the necessary steps?

The only way that is possible is by ensuring that the right people and capable hands are handling the affairs of the government. But is that the case now?

Author: Precious Mmeso

Am Precious and I believe in progress, development and a better living for everyone. Beyond believing, I have resolved to commit my energy and resources towards this Vision knowing fully well that one day, we will get there.

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