[Opinion] Nigeria’s Security Challenges

As I write this piece, the Nigerian police and allied securiy agencies are at a loss on how to handle the dreaded Boko haram terrorist sect. The government have declared state of emergency in fifteen local government in four northern states where their nefarious activities have been rampant and as expected they have spread to other states in the north where the emergency rule was not declared.

Church bombings by the sect have become a weekly occurence now with each dastardly act becoming more audacious than the previous one and our police keep telling us they are at the top of the situation. At least the president was more down to earth when he said bombings are a burden we should live with. True to his word it has indeed become a heavy burden we can’t bear anymore. We are all watching daily as Nigeria is being turned into a new Somalia with militias gradually taking over territories.

Boko haram have already claimed theirs with their threat of asking sourtherners to vacate their abode in the north and with the subsequent matching of their words with action.  For a group of social outcast and miscreants who abhors western education to hold us all to ransome speaks volume about the quality of men and women we have in our police and allied securtiy agencies. For a long time now policing the nation have become a secondary duty of the police force.Extortion and bribery have become their main preoccupation. The police force is filled with so many people who can’t even write their names when the basic qualification to become a recruit should be an SSCE.

How did they get there in the first place?  Your guess is as good as mine. People pay huge sums of money to recruiting officers to get enlisted and as is expected they go into the police to recoup their investment in whatever way. A visit to any police station will make you wander how these policemen are recruited and trained. Just go and report any case to the average police station in your neighbourhood and you will be bombarded with so many stupid and funny questions the average 12 year old watching CSI or any of the crime series won’t even bother asking. To crown it all you still have to part with money to buy recharge card for the investigating police officer, pay for files and so many other mundane and stupid things.  This security challenge should serve as an eye opener to the authorites. We need a total overhaul of the entire security apparatus of the country.

The era of using brute force to quell harmless protesters and remaining powerless where they need to be should be done with. Everywhere in the world their brightest minds are being courted and recruited into the police and sister security agencies while the reverse seems to be the case here. Security is not sometime the government have to toy with because without peace their will be no development.

Good enough they have devoted the lion share of the 2012  budget to security. What remains is how well this huge sum will be expended. We can’t afford to do things as before.  Mr President, the whole country is watching. We need to know we are safe wherever we call home in Nigeria.

By  Odoh Ogwuche

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