A vote for funding of intelligence gathering

The current security challenges in the country, according to experts, could be a thing of the past if all hands are on deck. SINA FADARE reports.

It is obvious that the country is not finding it easy in the area of security. As the federal government is battling the insurgency, banditry and kidnapping have become lucrative with Nigerians scared to travel from one place to another for fear of being kidnapped.

At every point in time at public gatherings or in a beer parlour, the issue of security becomes handy and everybody puts the blame at the doorstep of the military. However at a recent three- day conference at the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), experts put the perspective right on how best to tackle the situation at hand which is beyond the military.

The participants agreed that insecurity is a global concern because of its many human and environmental dimensions that require critical thinking and education in curbing its debilitating effects on people and communities.

According to a communiqué signed by the Head of the Centre, Dr. Nafisatu Muhammad, the team of experts see education as critical thinking to combat the national security which “will instil critical thinking as an attitude of mind and a tool for the practice of development.”

The team of experts noted beyond the military, “The security challenges being experienced in Nigeria today range from those related to political evolution to economic and socio-cultural imbalances which are posed by population explosion and mismanagement.”

The summit pointed out the Nigeria military has all its takes to arrest the ugly situation at hand if all hands are the deck, adding that what is most important is equitable distribution of public offices, goods and services as well as natural resources to curb internal conflicts and tensions that threatened the unity of the country.”

The participants recommended massive investment in education, skills acquisition and provision of employment by all levels of governance. “The security challenges being experienced in Nigeria today range from those related to political evolution to economic and socio-cultural imbalances which are posed by population explosion and mismanagement.

The team of experts canvassed for in-depth researches of specific security challenges to identify the root causes and develop actionable solutions that will curb terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, herdsmen/farmers’ clashes and other organized crimes. The participants also called for comprehensive profiling of all citizens and immigrants.

“To reduce the crime rate across the nation, community policing should be encouraged and facilitated. “It must be characterized by service, not force; and must involve community consultation and interdependency. “Community policing must be based on trust, rule of law and respect for human rights regardless of faith, ethnicity or class.

It must be proactive, available, accessible, responsive, accountable, and transparent.” The participants identified poor governance in Nigeria has given rise to security gaps which in turn breeds insecurity, conflict and terrorism. “Leadership at all levels of governance should, therefore, be more constructive, cooperative and democratic in addressing corruption, poverty, illiteracy, religious bigotry, ethnic conflicts and ecological problems.

Thinking along this line while speaking to the Nation, on the challenges confronting the nation on the issue of security, an expert Dr. Sunday Igodalo noted that the challenge at hand should be tackled holistically instead of putting the blame at the feet of the military.

Igodalo pointed out that the country is blessed with an array of seasons and prolific military personnel who are equal to the task but that they needed a political will from the leadership to achieve the desired result.

He argues that “Information dissemination is useful for development but misuse of information is destructive, therefore, the government should enforce the laws to check abuse of the media to disseminate falsehood, malicious and fake news that are destructive and divisive. “There should not be an exclusion of these aspects of diversity in the design of social, political and economic policies and programmes.

According to him, the military is a micro-community with the larger society in which whatever the inadequacy which the system has forced on all other social strata will equally affect the security system directly or indirectly and since their inadequacies and error can be seen by all, it will look as if they are not on the top of the situation.

He lamented that if corruption could be so endemic in all our social strata to the extent that nothing can be done in the country without greasing the palm of somebody, then, the military is not insulated from this social menace.

‘There was a time in this country when the supposed fund that was targeted to equipped the military suddenly developed wings into a private pocket and to make the situation worst it is an institution that is well discipline and protocol followed to the letter, therefore grumbling in silence become the order of the day. In the end the institution is dented for a mistake committed by a political class. This is the precarious situation we find ourselves.” he lamented.

To Alex Sankara, an activist, all hands must be on deck to assist the military to achieve their aims and objective of guarantee the safety of every Nigerians from bandits and kidnappers. He argued that there should the promotion and sustenance of intercultural and religious cooperation and dialogue for mutual understanding and co-existence.”

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According to him, there is an urgent need to upgrade the Nigerian military platforms “There is 21st century weaponry with capabilities that can be controlled from miles away. The war can be won without military casualties. Armed drones can identify enemies and eliminate them with precision and minimal error.”

He emphasized that it is high time to sincerely engage in the war against terrorism using technology. ”The Nigerian Armed Forces are well trained. The problem is sabotage from within and outside which need to be tackled holistically if we want the desired result.”

Perhaps a pertinent and relevant question was asked by comrade Ibrahim Garba, a policy analyst on the issue of security particularly the insurgence in the country, saying why did the military neglect for so long in terms of meeting their demands to fight insurgent

He explained that along the line most of the support which the President thought that the military have received may be a mere hoax. “Has the President taken time to find out if the money was utilized for the purpose it was meant

He lamented that “there is no administration that has not claimed to have spent billions of naira for security. The problem with this country is that corruption will not allow those in power to do the right thing. If the government is able to monitor those responsible for the security of this country, things will be better.”

It is obvious that surveillance and intelligence gathering are some of the sophisticated methods that law enforcement authorities use to tackle security challenges. These help them to gather information sufficient to prevent a crime that is yet to be committed, intervene in one that is being committed or investigate a crime that has been committed. However, experts say this aspect was not adequately funded.

A proponent of this school of thought, Major General Ohifeme Ejemai (rtd) pointed out that security is all about prevention and not waiting for a crime to happen before reacting to it. According to him Nigeria is now experiencing failed institutions, weakened national cohesion and hegemonic stance as fallouts of insecurity.

The former GOC 7 Division, Nigerian Army, lamented that Nigeria is now experiencing failed institutions, weakened national cohesion and hegemonic stance as fallouts of insecurity, adding that there must be political will that transcends political parties or administration to deal with all forms of immediate and foreseen insecurity threats.

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