Tackling multi-dimensional insecurity in major political transition

By Uche Nnadozie

With Boko Haram still active but massively degraded in the last eight years and banditry becoming the next outpost of terrorism but under heavy pushback by our security forces in the North-West plus Niger State, the next President of Nigeria has his work cut out for him.

But that’s not all. We still have members and agents of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) whose militants are nicknamed Eastern Security Network or its splinter group, Auto Pilot, led by Shekau wannabe, Simon Ekpa, switching apparel between active politics and insurgency in the South-East, I do not envy President-elect Bola Tinubu.

Yet that’s not all, there is a gang of cultists and ex-Niger Delta militants still active in Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Akwa Ibom, etc.

Elsewhere in Benue and the Plateau, the twin challenges of herdsmen-farmers clashes persist, although on a lower scale except until recently.

In the South-West, Yoruba nationists are still kicking like a fatally wounded horse, but they have been subdued. There are also multiple security threats of kidnapping, robbery, cybercrime and ritualism in different parts of the country.

What’s more, there is rampaging inflation, which will certainly make it more difficult for workers to meet their responsibilities at home. Poverty on its own is a major security risk that must be tackled head-on in order to douse some of the other insecurity issues bedevilling our country.

Those are the stark realities of our time. But over time the President-elect has proven to be the man for moments like this.

Yet, anxiety persists on how some, if not all, of these security threats can benefit from his years of investing in our system both as a statesman and an entrepreneur. The investment in human and material resources by the President-elect has been humongous.

Multidimensional insecurity requires multi-dimensional solutions. In solving these problems a multi-sectoral approach and dynamic solutions must be applied.

In tackling these issues, therefore, a careful plan to decentralise policing is very critical. Some have called it community policing, state police, or regional police, but there is no doubt that what we have now needs tinkering.

More personnel is needed. More boots on the ground and more patrols or cameras on the streets. Apart from the fact that this will instantly reduce the number of unemployed youth, the uniformed community’s condition of service needs to be improved so that more people of good character can join the police institutions both at the state and national levels.

Also, it is critical that the president-elect get the police hierarchy and the Police Service Commission to withdraw all policemen serving as bodyguards to private citizens. Even, those with government officials who are not in elected executive positions should be withdrawn. In their place should be the revampment of the private security subsector. Any big man or company in need of guards should hire private guards. That’s an industry on its own. The details will be worked out between the police, DSS and NDCDC.

The DSS also needs more service personnel. Rather than the police, this service should be the one in charge of security for government officials of various levels. This is apart from the president, vice president, governor, and deputy governor. I maintain that the rest of the officials of the state should have DSS and maybe NSCDC officials as their personal security team.

The days of policemen seen at guest houses, banks, restaurants, malls, or carrying madam’s bags and such degrading errands should come to an end, among other quick impactful reforms.

The military needs new thinking on how to end terrorism in the Northwest or Southeast; indeed the rest of the country. This needs to be done so that the police can return to performing their constitutional role and vice versa.

Less than 250,000-strong military consisting of the Army, Navy, and Air Force is simply not enough for 200 million people of a country that’s a regional power. Our influence needs to double within the continent, apart from a larger and prosperous economy, our defence assets and personnel should tell the world know who we are.

Besides the numbers surge, we should find creative ways to expand the manufacturing of light and heavy weapons including ammunition at home.

Part of the laundry list of low-hanging actions for the new president shall be further engagement through back channels for some of these groups and individuals upsetting peace in the land.

Of course, the bandits have leadership cells, and if they want to talk, why not? The same with ISWAP, Boko Haram, IPOB, Yoruba nationists, and Niger Delta militants. We need a renewal of hope, and a pacifist tone at least at the beginning of the new administration to show good faith and attract goodwill for peace and harmony in our land.

With Tinubu and his administration, working with state governors, local government chairmen, trade groups and regional groups and reaching out to individuals to calm frayed nerves, the kinetic component of peace enforcement will hold firm and achieve desired results.

Creating various security agencies when it appeared impossible due to perceived constitutional limitations when he was governor of Lagos State, coupled with his massive strength to engage with all sorts of people and groups, it is safe to say our security challenges will indeed give way to productive activities for renewed hope for the people and a secured country.

Author: Uche Nnadozie

Source: The Sun News

Image source: Punch

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