Rising insecurity and the question of sincerity
For more than a decade, Boko Haram has become a popular topic of discussion both within and beyond the country, thanks to the compact nature of our world. Coupled with banditry and other criminal activities, our nation has gained prominence as one of the World's top terrorised nations. With all the efforts expended on the war against terror and other police and military campaigns, we still long for territorial peace like we have never experienced it before. Insufficient funds which would have been spent on national development have been diverted to keeping peace, yet, much is still being desired. How come our efforts are yielding less fruits? It appears that we are firing in the wrong direction, or our firepower is weak, or we are firing the wrong target or all of the above.
In situations like this, our sincerity of purpose is the most essential ingredient. As it appears, we have gotten it wrong in this regard. Our efforts are evidently fraught with tribal, ethnic, political and religious colouration, a pretty good way to water down any genuine effort, thus making the enemy more emboldened. The Boko Haram war cum Herdsmen brouhaha started out as a Muslim issue. It later became a cry from the Christians about Islamization. The political heavyweights also threw their punches while our ethnic chauvinistic singers played their discordant tunes, leaving the nation lost in the middle of the equation. A small fire that could have been put off has since raged on ferociously, burning our house while we look on.
Security issues across the nation have become fragmented, each region in the federation drawing plans that do not fit into the national whole. Even within and between the national security outfits, coordination still remains a major issue. Responding to urgent security issues may take forever in several cases due to the absence of dynamism. In simple terms, our security programming language is reactive rather than proactive. What can be more ironic? Our security operatives receive merit awards for outstanding performance outside our shores while our nation continues to receive a gold label for being insecure.
Security is a fundamental part of national life, if we are not secure enough, we cannot relate with ourselves and the outside world. This implies that the nation must be at least a step ahead of intruders at all times by leaving no stone unturned. To a large extent, the menace of insurgency has paid off for the insurgents due to the inconsistency in the handling of the situation. For example, the religious and traditional leaders have been grossly underutilized in the aspect of grassroot intelligence Gathering. How easily can you apprehend a notorious thief when you decide not to involve his people and associates? Similarly, the absence of a national database of citizens makes the situation worse. To identify a Nigerian is tougher than a jamb exam question. How about insubordination and sabotage by those whom we entrust our affairs in their hands? These are open truths before us all. However, our insincerity has made the puzzle more puzzling.
Away from the hot-spot coming down south, the unregulated influx of people, both local and foreigners into the Lagos urban continuum is terrifyingly amazing. This is a time bomb ticking so fast. Unkempt and dangerous happy youths, including minors, litter the Lagos high traffic areas, waiting for the next available opportunity to steal and extort from people, even in the presence of security operatives. From Mushin, Oshodi to Agege, and many of the flyovers and general markets, one has to look cautiously before navigating through. The situation is similar across the nation, only the degree and peculiarities differ. These street urchins are ready instruments at the periods of elections. After the elections, they cannot afford to be idle, so they find a way to meet their needs.
We are in dire need of an urgent shift from our armchair administrative style to real time and proactive action based governance. This will only come about when we become sincere with our actions. How, in a nation with less than enough security personnel, do we rationalize the deployment of security details to protect political office holders whose sincere actions should be enough to earn the confidence and support of the masses? It is simply that our insincerity has led us to misplace our priorities to seek personal comfort and safety over public security.
As a result, the masses thus seek private means of safety which cannot be enough when detached from general coordination. Equally, the security operatives largely see their job as a privilege for the citizens. This is why they do not hesitate to threaten and coerce innocent people to do their bidding. Everyone is a government of his own. Things have fallen apart, even within the government circles. Year after year, we keep hoping for a better time as it worsens.
We may not be culpable in the same degree, but the bottom line is that it affects us all together. When a few people are responsive while others do not seem to care as much, the brunt will be borne by everyone. Our insincerity stems from our lack of genuine love for the nation. It is rather a tribal alliance that is being displayed at the expense of national cohesion, a reason why a region is always pitted against another since our nationalist journey started.
Enough of the blame game, we have lost more than enough already. In any case of insecurity, the nation loses; economically, socially, culturally, environmentally, even intellectually as insecurity knows no boundaries when unchecked. It is high time we retrace our steps, to prioritize "we" over "I", to rejig the system. Time is against us.
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