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SECURITY CHALLENGES IN NIGERIA: WAY FORWARD

Buhari-President

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Two words: Nigeria and security — they are two parallel words. To use them side by side is to say ice is black. You see, though we have a Ministry of Defence, but the ministers of attack have dyed the national green white green colours to the shades of black and red. But then do we because of this do nothing? No! We can’t because of nightmare forgo sleep.

First, for Nigeria and security to become similar words, conscious efforts must be made to uphold law and order, and the land must be ruled by the rule of law.

Also, there is need for us to strengthen our security institutions. Currently, for instance, the ratio of the citizens to the Police (as contained on nfp.gov.ng) is 1:484 as against the UN stipulation of 1:400. Worthy of note also is a 2009 report by a South African researcher, Solomon Kirunda, who cited poor funding as an underbelly to security in Africa. Drawing from this, it is clear that it is only by strengthening our security institutions through proper funding and staffing can we be secured. There is therefore need for the introduction of intelligence gathering and sharing, surveillance, periodic motivation, modernized training and sophisticated technology that meet global standard to inspire efficiency and patriotism.

Furthermore, 12 of the 20 most peaceful countries on the 2017 Global Peace index as rated by the Institute for Economics and Peace invest heavily in education. While UNESCO recommends that 26% of budgetary allocations be pumped into education, only 7.04% of Nigeria’s 2018 budgetary muscle is flexed on education. So, this therefore goes to show that as a matter of paramountcy the government needs to tailor our budgetary allocations to meet the 26% benchmark of the UNESCO.

Attention to education may not be enough; youth empowerment and poverty alleviation needs to be revived. It leaves a sour taste in the mouth like an unripe agbalumo to know that of the 90 million youth population in Nigeria, about 56% are unemployed, 9% are underemployed by NBS figure. An idle hand, a brilliant allegory says, makes work for the devil. Hence, we can secure our land and challenge insecurity by ensuring the citizenry are empowered – Maimonides captured it classically when he said: “give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; [when] you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.”

In the book Small Arms, Armed Violence, and Insecurity in Nigeria: The Niger Delta in Perspective, it was pointed out that the existence of porous border has contributed to the unchecked inflow of Small Arms and Light Weapons into the country – and this has aided militancy and criminality in the country. Sadly, the same source tells us that Nigeria host over 70% of about 8 million illegal weapons in West Africa. Therefore, if the terrors terrorizing our terra firma is to be a thing of the past, then we need to regulate the influx of people from neighbouring countries – like Chad, Republic of Niger, Cameroun and Republic of Benin.

By and large, everyone has a role to play in the quest to stem the surge of insecurity in the country. Though Helen Keller may not be remembered for anything other than she was a deaf-blind writer. But her immortal words “alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” is a great admonition to us. Because individually we can strive but together we thrive.

 

Post scriptum: This speech was written in preparation for the 2018 PIN Oratory Contest which holds Friday, July 27, 2018 in the University of Ibadan.

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