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On Security: Self-Governance by the People

While the President was away on his unexplained trip to the UK, the father-in-law of his Aide de Camp was kidnapped. The presidency has since remarked about this as a sign that the President and his officials are not enjoying a better security than even the average Nigerian does.

News also filtered in over the weekend that the Interior Ministry, headed by Abdul-Rahman Dambazau, led a delegation of security operatives to meet with the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), to help prevent the rising spate of kidnappings in the country. At the meeting, which comprised other members of the FG delegation as well, were the Director-General, Department of State Security Services (DSS), Alhaji Yusuf Bichi; Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Alhaji Ahmed Rufai; and the Inspector General of Police, among others.

The minister told newsmen after the closed-door interactive session with leaders of MACBAN in Birnin Kebbi that the meeting was part of a regional action plan on security and the government will be awarding N100 billion for MACBAN’s ‘security services’.

In a separate report, the Inspector General of Police also announced that there has been 1071 deaths and 685 abductions cases reported in the first four months of the year. Despite all of these intelligence gathering and reports available to the security top echelon in the country, all they could come up with is an award of billions of naira of taxpayer’s fund as grant to a controversial organization.

This erroneous recommendation by security officials to pay such a huge sum to contract herdsmen for the security of lives and property is all the indication we need to see that the president and his officials have relinquished the management of the national security apparatus to questionable contractors.

At best, this rising spate of paying ransoms is beginning to get suspicious and it indicates that there is a collusion for money to get laundered through these sub-contracting of security to inexperienced and prejudiced third parties. It is still less than 14 days from the kidnap of the chairman of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), and a sum of N60 million was summarily paid to secure his release. Surely, something shady is going on across board.

The problem with pushing too much money into security is that exploiters will begin to see it as an opportunity to cash out of the largesse. Insecurity is also an opportunity for corrupt people to ply their trade. The case where the contract for weeding one of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in the North East was inflated and awarded for about N200 million still rings a bell. As the wave of insecurity continues to rise, it gets more attractive to desperate jobless youth and corrupt government officials, and the opportunists begin to exploit the arbitrage that the insecurity has opened up. In another incident where security agencies could no longer guarantee the safety of passengers plying the Abuja-Kaduna route, the Nigerian Railway Corporation discreetly arranged for military attack helicopters to escort the train plying that route.

As insecurity keeps rising in the north due to banditry, Boko Haram, and the like, even Nigerians living in the south who once felt they are not much affected by the national problem are now beginning to get agitated. We have now seen that the option of each citizen providing for their own security in abject self-governance is not fool-proof after all.

It is high time the citizenry woke up from slumber; it is time to stop pretending that this dire situation does not concern us all. A regional problem slowly becomes a national problem if not quickly attended to.

Featured image source: Daily Post Nigeria

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Adedoyin Tella

Adedoyin is mostly a farmer in the day who also dabbles into technology at night, in search of other cutting edge intersections. He's on Twitter @i_fix_you

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