Nigeria now imports everything including security alerts
It is preposterous that our dear country has to wait for another country to issue a security alert before it take things serious.
Nigeria’s response to the U.S red flag on security few days ago underscores the nations insatiable crave for foreign products. Recall that Nigeria’s department of state services (DSS) had issued such security alerts in March and April this year and December 2021 but such calls were never accompanied by the rapid response across the country that greeted the recent U.S warning.
Yes, the U.S was spot-on to issue the latest security alert and in a way, they were helping Nigeria in upgrading our consciousness levels on security. The fact that some people feel that the U.S alert was untimely, could keep Nigerians ‘tensed’ and impact negatively on free movement is unfounded and leaves much to be desired. The U.S security alert needs to be appreciated more so when juxtaposed with the fact that terrorism is a global phenomena and there is a mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries to share intelligence on security.
One thing is clear. We, the people in Nigeria that face this clear danger of banditry and terrorism are not so much conscious of this danger and do not appreciate it as much as a foreign country that is not so much directly involved in it.
On the other hand, it is a slap on our collective intelligence as a nation and as a people that Nigeria with all its resources and arsenal on security has to wait for a foreign country to tell us about the dangers that we live in before we take a drastic action. Don’t read me wrong: I feel that the DSS is working on security but more needs to be done. As a matter of fact, the DSS should initiate a barometer of security threats and brief the public on weekly basis on the level of such threats. Red, yellow or blue flags should be raised by the DSS as the case may be based on the prevailing levels of security threats not only in Abuja but across the country.
For example, the DSS should be able to advise citizens on the threat level in Zamfara (the capital of banditry-related terrorism in Nigeria), Borno (the epicentre of Boko Haram related violent terrorist extremism) and Imo (the hub of IPOB secessionist related terrorism). Our dear DSS should be able to tell us on frequent basis, which roads we must never ply and which locations we should avoid.
Our dear country is arguably the most terrorised nation on planet earth today. This is not a child’s play even when juxtaposed with the fact that innocent lives are being lost daily and internally displaced persons (IDPs) have flooded some states and local government areas as a result of terrorism and banditry. From Maiduguri to Lagos, Sokoto through Zamfara to Port Harcourt, nowhere seems to be safe. If Nigeria with all its resources (the DSS, the military, the police and other security agencies, the intelligence community) should wait for a foreign nation (the U.S) to tell us what to do about our security and when to do it, then we all have to think again.
No sooner had the U.S issued the security alert then all hell broke loose. There were police, the DSS and the army all over Abuja. There was a frenzy I have never come across in all my sojourn in different parts of the country. Even in the traffic, the car beside you will have its windows rolled up and the driver looking at the next driver in the car beside him suspiciously. This U.S alert has really gone into our heads – but it is for good reasons.
It has been confirmed by the DSS that there were raids this week on sisiecred terror locations in Abuja after the U.S alert. That’s great but these raids should not come only when the U.S or the U.K raise the red flag. It should be a continuous process.
It is alarming that so far, no bandit, and terrorist including their informants and other accomplices have been convicted by Nigeria’s extremely weak justice system even when such terrorists confess to the crime when paraded by the police as shown on YouTube and other media channels. The courts are quick to dispense cases of election petition within 90 days but no bandit or terrorist is tried in these courts. Cases involving single individuals are given expeditious hearings by the courts under a ‘fast-tracked’ process but incidents of mass murder by bandits and terrorists are never investigated or prosecuted.
Security cannot be achieved without penalties, sanctions and deterrents based on the provisions of the constitution FRN 1999 (as amended) and other extant laws of the land.
Clearly, the conventional courts are too weak to successfully try cases involving bandits and terrorists hence there is the urgent need for the federal government to Institute reforms in the justice system in the fight against insecurity namely:
1. Set up special courts to try bandits and terrorists
2. Train special judges to prosecute cases of banditry and terrorism.
3. Promulgate new laws on banditry and terrorism.
In the fight against insecurity, there is the need that the justice system be urgently reformed to tackle this grave danger that we all face.
Our gallant military and other security agencies are doing the best under the circumstances but there is the need to compliment their efforts through appropriate reforms of the criminal justice system.
Security cannot and must never be politicised. Buck-passing, shying away from work and being defensive even when innocent lives are lost to bandits and terrorists will not and cannot fix insecurity in Nigeria.
DR ABUBAKAR ALKALI