There is perhaps no issue that attracts attention of the general populace, and is more contentious today than security breaches. TERRIFIC HEADLINES has always been cautious in commenting on security issues because they are very sensitive matters that demand and command proper understanding and dispassionate contributions. Evaluation must be for the common good and in national interest. The attainment of proper and just evaluations may not be achieved on current estimates, except backed up with facts provided by a reviewer. It is from those facts that a dispassionate conclusion; based on the ‘’whys and hows’’ as well as prospects would emerge. Balanced reports could obtrude themselves better on reports provided by security agencies, upon which comments could be made and conclusions drawn; because all facts –should necessarily form the basis for opinions and arguments. This account, therefore, is not rendered to apportion blames, but to contribute to discourse on the ideal situation.
SECURITY AS AN IMPORTANT ISSUE: THE WHOLE WORLD IN A PERMANENT STATE OF CONFLICTS: One of the mandates of TERRIFIC HEADLINES is to promote discourse for the common good, enlightenment and education of the society. We searched our records attempt to promote discourse, or at least contribute by making available facts in our possession, that might be helpful, as the nation continues its quest for peace and peaceful conducts. Conflicts are sad occurrences that humanity could, and should avoid. Instability is a contributory factor to the pervasive poverty in the African continent. ”Since 1963, the international community has evolved several legal instruments and various amendments to prevent terrorist acts. In essence, the super-powers cannot sleep with their two eyes closed in a situation of instability in other regions of the world. It is for this reason that the whole world is united in the fight against acts that amount to security breaches. Security is a most important matter that concerns everybody; hence, staying on the fence could be injurious to the society. A secured society would evolve and function better where all segments of the society cooperate with security agencies, particularly with regard to hints about unusual situations and movements. This is one of the reasons security agencies fare better in the First World.
STATE POLICE, PEACEBUILDING & SOCIAL JUSTICE: It is highly commendable that State governors realize the need to take a thorough look at the proposal thrown to them by the Presidency. Sensitive to contemporary developments, President Muhammadu Buhari assented to the proposal ordering the examination of the feasibility report on the establishment of the State Police. The Report is to be submitted within three months. That decision must have calmed frayed nerves, albeit momentarily, given the magnitude of the insurgency ravaging the nation. Schools of thoughts have argued that a functional State Police is most desirable. and will go a long way in addressing security challenges. Given the importance of policing the society and current security , there is the need for contributions and discourse since all citizens are involved in security matters.
Nigerians hailed President Muhammadu Buhari, whose action was apparently influenced by the calls for a secured polity. From that Report expected in three months may emerge issues of common interest, pertaining to surveillance, combating illegal militia, conflict resolution, political stability, and economic empowerment. Several others who were encouraged regard this development as the first step towards implementing the much-touted constitutional policy of true federalism.
STATE GOVERNORS & CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM: It is to be noted that state governors considered the issue with a great sense of responsibility, by stating their preference for a thorough examination of establishing State Police. There were many questions calling for answers. The most prominent, it seems, is the ability of all the 36 States, many of whom are currently destitute, to implement the security issue as a result of funds constraints. Issues that came to mind following the Presidential pronouncement included: the ability of State governments to put in place outfits of State Police that would act dispassionately and respect the Rule of Law. This must come with reforms including training and retraining for the right values by law enforcement agencies, updating the national defence policy, and human rights, among others.
One other pertinent matter is how State Police would not be used for ulterior motives. Those who witnessed occurrences of the First Republic would remember the roles of local government police. Could they be trusted to act dispassionately and in public interest? Would they perform professionally and be able to free themselves from political encumbrances? How would State Police and State governments prevent abuse as recorded in the First Republic, when local government Police named: ‘’akoda’’ in Yoruba, were used to frame charges against political opponents.? Are we going to introduce these outfits responsibly and in line with established best practices globally. The local government police of that era were simply irresponsible, crude and reckless.
ADOPTING THE RIGHT PROCEDURE: Knowing how lobbyists operate, it is not impossible that people might have put the the most important consideration which is planning, aside, to commence lobbying for top positions and enlistment in the proposed security institution of State Police.Moves might have commenced by vested interests to start identifying who would be State Inspector-Generals who would dance to tunes of government and others to be enlisted into State Police Forces. It is possible that others could also have started thinking about quota system at the States level. And businessmen and women must have been planning how to corner the contracts for uniforms – a legitimate but unripe move. Those steps seem like climbing the tree from the top. The first consideration must be the evolution of strategic and enduring steps that would make successes of policies, programmes and plans. We must engage in the pursuit of the ideal and national integration. There must be commitment to security as the prime reason for establishing such outfits to protect the interests of fellow citizens; not that of State governments, as well as consensus-building and the rule of law.
REVISITING THE PAST FOR THE PURPOSE OF STRATEGIC PLANNING: Mallam Adamu Fika, the Wazirin Fika, (2011) who served as Secretary to the Federal Military Government and Head of Service asserted that:‘’If we are to progress as a nation, we must learn to pay due respect to the past and learn from it and treasure the legacy bequeathed to us by our Founding Fathers and their immediate worthy successors—the pioneer public officers in both mufti and khaki—who toiled to make Nigeria what it is today. This unfortunate disrespect for the past and what it represented and the disdain for the memory of the great personalities who led our country were the result of a series of disastrous events, beginning with the dumping of the people’s Constitution in 1979’’ The foregoing necessitates examination of the past.
THE NEED FOR A WELL-RESEARCHED AGENDA: Leaders of the First Republic succeeded largely because they planned before hopping into initiatives. Are there preferred models, and have State governments analysed anticipated commitments such as how much it would cost to maintain an outfit, and how to go about implementing this idea at a time that several States have gone destitute? Increased funding of States and local governments would certainly be required through a reconfiguration of the revenue allocation formula in a manner that would give States and local governments additional income from the federation accounts. Otherwise, we might witness a situation, whereby State Police would be required to generate revenue to sustain themselves, thus creating room for setting revenue targets, that would lead to arbitrary fines and arrests.
CONDUCTS: We already see on the highways, officials of several government agencies risking their lives by jumping in front of moving vehicles to request for documents for drivers and vehicle owners. One has always wondered: Are there no better and civilized ways of inspecting vehicles? What if mechanical failures occur? State Police must be constrained from adopting this practice of government officials deliberately subjecting their lives to avoidable risks in order to generate revenue; or lurk in one corner, looking for a motorist to apprehend on account of alleged violation of traffic regulations. They engage in this horrible crime of extortion, without paying due attention to the need to assist in traffic flow. And several of such officials, particularly in yellow dresses are at junctions on illegal outings. It is to the credit of heads of security agencies that warnings have been issued several times on this disgraceful conduct. It is apparently a function of recklessness and lack of training on civility and due courtesy. It is important that a few of such officials be brought to book because they are financed by taxpayers money.
GENERATING THE PUBLIC POLICY AND FORESIGHT: In a brilliant expose on the Obafemi Awolowo political leadership, Prof. Tunji Olaopa, Executive Vice Chairman, Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy noted that the genius was not only farsighted but also realistic. He utilized the Free Education policy of the Western Region of Nigeria government led by Obafemi Awolowo as an example ‘’Awolowo’s people-oriented leadership was formed along this line. Awolowo was aware, for instance, that the real burden of a universal, free and compulsory education came from the challenge of funding it. ‘In 1952, the government of Western Region projected a total of 170,000 pupils to be enrolled in the primary schools. By 1954 (a year before the launch of the programme), 394,000 pupils had already registered. But then the government realised that a free education scheme cannot really be “free.” Economic realism led to the introduction of a capitation levy which was later abandoned for an increment in the existing tax regime’’The success of the universal basic education scheme derived essentially from the fact that the Awolowo government did its homework, and was ready for the eventualities of policy execution that would have fazed any other government unprepared for the consequences of a complex implementation dynamic’’
ALIGNING WITH NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL BEST PRACTICES: In driving policies on State Police, it is important to understand the best practices globally. In the First World, Police act impassively. They respect the law and not the maker of Laws, a design that is introduced to safeguard people against abuse. The rule of law is the ingredient that made a police officer in Britain to confront the wife of a British Prime Minister for forgetting to pay for train tickets after boarding a train. They would always act with civility and utmost respect; even at the verge of pushing an accused into prison through constitutional means. Here, your job and life may be at risk if you attempt to charge a relation of a local government chairman.
DECENCY & COURTESY: In Britain, former Prime Minister John Major introduced a campaign that was directed at traditional values such as “neighbourliness, decency, courtesy”. Undoubtedly, this trend will continue to recur until we purge ourselves of undue privileges. In the First World, the citizenry cooperate with security agencies. Here, we run away from them instead of volunteering useful hints that could assist preventive measures. What should be on the front burner is attitudinal changes and it is better to start through training and re-training of our security personnel. For instance, why must civilians be whipped or treated unjustly on the streets before the courts deprive them of their rights and privileges? Nobody has the right to treat people as criminals until so pronounced by courts of competent jurisdiction. The Police must be ‘’our friend.’’ Which of these is supposed to be the master? Security agencies that must be subordinated to civil rule, or the taxpayers?
GLOBAL STATE OF PERMANENT CONFLICTS: A Report of the United Nations Office on Drugs states that ”Terrorism continues to pose a major threat to international peace and security, and undermines the core values of the United Nations. In addition to the devastating human cost of terrorism, in terms of lives lost or permanently altered, terrorist acts aim to destabilize governments and undermine economic and social development. Addressing this threat is much more difficult given the complex and constantly evolving nature of terrorist activity. Its motivations, financing, methods of attack and choice of target are constantly changing. The report under reference reveals that: ‘’Terrorist acts often defy national borders; one act of terrorism can involve activities and actors from numerous countries’’. This has come at great costs to peace and development. It has provoked hunger, instability and economic disorder.
COOPERATION BY STATES POLICE – Opinions have held, and rightly too, that the whole world is in a permanent state of conflict. Cooperation and collaboration;as well as sharing resources by States Police would certainly be most beneficial. They would have to cooperate with federal government security agencies too, and lines must be drawn so crises don’t arise from overlapping functions. A large percentage of what should be spent for development, even at the United Nations periodically goes into peacemaking, enforcement, and peacebuilding. A United Nations Panel of Experts noted in its Report that that dealing with illicit arms squarely requires a multi-dimensional strategy: ‘’improved intelligence gathering, retraining of security personnel, counter-insurgency measures, tightening of immigration laws, and exploiting the tool of diplomacy. It highlighted some countries that it claimed serves as training grounds for terrorists and also as illegal arms channels; necessitating calls for collaboration among all nations to curb the dangerous trend’’
WHAT TO EXPECT BY STATES: A Report of the United Nations Office on Drugs cited earlier states that ”Terrorism continues to pose a major threat to international peace and security, and undermines the core values of the United Nations. In addition to the devastating human cost of terrorism, in terms of lives lost or permanently altered, terrorist acts aim to destabilize governments and undermine economic and social development’’ The trend of violent crimes and armed conflicts in Africa are being are being worsened by the proliferation of small arms and light weapons. Humankind has now acquired deadly ability to destroy civilization, and the whole world is in a permanent state of conflicts.Conflicts are sad occurrences that humanity could, and should avoid.Instability is a contributory factor to the pervasive poverty on the continent. It is for this reason that the whole world is united in the fight against security breaches. And this has come at great costs to peace and development. It has promoted hunger, instability and economic disorder. A large percentage of what should be spent for development periodically goes to peacebuilding and peacemaking.
SERVICING CRIPPLING INTERNATIONAL DEBTS: It is to be noted that developing nations are under the heavy yoke of foreign debts. They are being subtly compelled ot to default in their repayment of loans that continue to increase geometrically. And this is the same period that advanced nations have been found to be culpable of illegally siphoning illicit funds out of Africa. These are funds that would have been channeled into the development of African nations but which foreign powers have tied down in their vaults for as long as 30 years to grow their own economies; while Africa continues to be strangled. In 2004 alone, for example, sub-Saharan Africa paid US$15 billion on debts of US$220 billion; an outflow of US$41 million every day. And it is to be noted that many of these debts are questionable as several African nations have paid more than they borrowed from multilateral institutions and are paying interests through their noses. Foreign loans to set up a State Police would, therefore, be counter-productive. But States could approach First World nations for collective training programmes in Nigeria. They would be glad to do that given the fact that insecurity is the problem of the whole world.
GLOBAL POVERTY & CORRUPTION: Poverty and corruption are being bred phenomenally, in a manner that has raised serious concerns all over the world, as social and political tensions creep across global borders. These have ostensibly raised concerns in the developed world, and renewed commitments and joint global approach to confronting terrorism that has developed into a monster that knows no boundaries. This development has provoked rise in military expenditure with the attendant cut in spendings on welfare and human security. But the reality is that security agencies must spend on peacekeeping and peacebuilding, as long as the human society continues to be irresponsible by their conducts of engaging in avoidable conflicts and violence.No serious nation leaves its security to other nations to manipulate. The figure of refugees has shot up astronomically, apart from the lives of millions of people that have been terminated by Insurgency and senseless breaches to security. Apparently, the current situation in Africa is one that requires an emergency global assistance. The Rector of the United Nations University, Tokyo, Prof.Hans Van Ginkel has painted grim pictures of widespread poverty, which he believes, would continue to be the bane of the African continent for a long time to come.
PRIMORDIAL GROUPING & WEAPONS: Since independence in 1960, Nigeria has had a number of general elections and have had administrations at the federal and states levels. The administrations have attempted to deal with political and economic situations in multifaceted ways. Some of these have left sour tastes and disaffection. But God has been good to Nigeria such that it has emerged victorious over problems that have scattered other nations. Primordial groupings, disguised as cultural, religious or regional associations have made crippling in- roads into the political arena, and are dangerously seeking to, determine the political directions of nations. In the past few years,religious and political developments that have accounted for senseless and preventable conflicts. Regrettably, the last three decades have featured huge proliferation and influx of illegal weapons into Africa. The influx of these weapons have, without doubt, worsened the security situation in Africa and hampered efforts at enforcing state control of security.
PREVENTING & CONFRONTING THE MONSTER: Humankind has now, as a result of civilizations acquired deadly ability to destroy the whole world in a jiffy. In 2012, the Chief of the Nigerian Army Standards and Evaluation, Shehu Abdulkadir, a major-general, raised the alarm that 70 per cent of the 10 million illegal weapons in circulation in West Africa,were in Nigeria. Arms and ammunitions for destroying Africa have been sold to these poor nations by advanced countries of the world which should ideally seek for the peace and development of Africa. Unquestionably, these conflicts have been fuelled by uncontrolled accumulation and proliferation of small arms and light weapons, recording increased criminality, banditry, cross-border crime and emergence of the phenomenon of child soldiers.It is patently clear that increase in the supply of illegal arms would mean an upsurge in criminal activities such as robbery, gunfights with the police, clashes among criminal groups such as the commando-like invasion, killings, maiming of people and destruction of property.
UNITED NATIONS CONCERN ON MOUNTING EXPENDITURES ON SECURITY: To be able to confront the monster, it is important to go to the roots. Terrorism and armed conflicts have been on the international agenda since 1934, when the League of Nations, established in 1920, took the first major step towards outlawing the scourges of terror by discussing a Draft Convention for the prevention and punishment of terrorism. Although the Convention was eventually adopted in 1937, it never came into force. It was not too long before the world was caught in another serious conflict of devastating proportions between 1939 and 1945. According to an American publication contained on http://nuclearweaponarchive.org, the Hiroshima bomb had the explosive power equivalent to 20,000 tons of TNT, (i.e. 20 kilotons) but the typical superpower weapons of 1991, were much more devastating and were measured in megatons! With the invention of nuclear weapons, and their first use in August 1945, the world has never been the same again. The trend of violent crimes and armed conflicts on the continent are being aggravated by the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the world’s continent.
In 2010, former UN Secretary-General, Banki-Moon lamented that world military expenditures exceeded US$1.5 trillion, at a period that there were global concerns about food security and peace. Ban Ki-moon also noted with regrets that of at least 640 million licensed firearms worldwide, roughly two thirds are in the hands of civil society. The legal trade in small arms and weapons exceeds US$4 billion a year.Addressing a session of the ‘Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean Ban Ki-Moon (2008) disclosed that ‘’The illicit trade is estimated at US$1billion. And such conventional weapons as landmines take a toll on life and limb that continues for years after the conflicts that spawned them are finished. And yet, beyond the obvious effects of these weapons, is their deeper cost — a cost that stems from misplaced and absence of vision’’
PEACE & SOCIAL JUSTICE: African Union’s stand on security may very well have been premised on the need to take proactive steps to prevent security breaches than combat such dislocations to peace and security. In other words, African Union prefers proactive steps than reactive options. The continent recognises the need to pay particular attention to surveillance, good governance, combating illegal militia, conflict resolution, political stability and economic empowerment to be able to have a secured and progressive environment, since democracy itself is built on non-negotiable values of peaceful approach to the resolution of crises. But African nations must step up our efforts in the areas of peace building and social justice.
BUILDING OF INSTITUTIONS & A UNITED AFRICAN FRONT: Some pertinent questions now arise: what should be done to promote national security and democracy which are undoubtedly two key agents of development? What are the roles of the military in engendering Nigeria’s sustainable growth? And what does the future portray? The answer lies in our accepting that it is better to prevent security breaches than to combat such dislocations to peace and security. In other words, I advocate pro-active steps than reactive options. The matter goes beyond that point. We need to pay particular attention to surveillance, good governance, combating illegal militia, conflict resolution, political stability and economic empowerment to be able to have a secured and progressive environment since democracy itself is built on non-negotiable values of peaceful approach to the resolution of crises. We must step up our efforts in the areas of peace building and social justice.
As African leaders grapple with the situation, a commentary in the Nigerian Guardian Newspaper edition of September 17, 2014 asserts that ”While it adopts religion as a catalyst, terrorism blossoms in a society where government officials are too selfish to think of the welfare of its citizens; where the ruling elite refuses to build institutions that cultivate the character of people, where government overlooks incidents of social discontent, and treats issues of structural injustice with kid gloves. ”Only when African leaders have been able to purge themselves of the inordinate power-craze and misappropriated privileges that negate genuine moral leadership, can they muster the moral courage, political sagacity and wisdom to fight terrorism.” Similarly the Punch Newspaper, in its editorial of September 4, 2014, noted that ”African countries coming together in a joint defence arrangement is, therefore, an idea that should be supported. ”Unlike the Arabs who would rather wait for the United Sates and Britain to provide their conflict resolution needs, Africa has a lot to gain by sticking together on matters of security.’’
GOOD GOVERNANCE AS RECIPE: Joaquim Alberto Chissano, was the first recipient of the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Good Governance. Chisano served as the second President of Mozambique for 19 years, from 1986–2005, and has also served as the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General to northern Uganda and southern Sudan. He also chaired the Forum of Former African Heads of State and Government. Chisano, whose country, Mozambique went through 16 years of armed conflict in which an estimated one million human casualties has disclosed in a public presentation that his first major step on assumption of office as president in 1986 was to initiate wide-ranging reforms and made attaining peace his number one goal. And that accounts for Mozambique’s strong and vibrant economy,averaging 8 per cent in economic growth between 1996 and 2006; one of the highest rates in Africa. According to the World Bank, between 1997 and 2003, almost 3 million people were pulled out of extreme poverty out of a total population of 20 million Mozambicans.
Chissano called upon Africa’s leaders to re-examine their spending priorities and consider the opportunities lost when these monies are not invested in providing health and education to our people. Another huge drain on our treasuries and our people is the heavy debt burden the continent carries.The former Mozambican president asserted that ”there is no alternative to good governance if any African nation is to grow: ”Good governance is our best hope against these challenges’’. Governance entails choices. It demands a visionary leadership that willset enlightened priorities and redeploy resources and retain skilled talent. Compassionate and committed leaders can, and must create the policies and invest the necessaryresources in rogress towards the SDGs.
ENDURING PLANS: From this point of view, we require strategic and enduring plans towards building a progressively, infrastructure and services, empowering people to improve their conditions and safeguard their children’s lives, thus accelerating the evolution of a truly secured nation. All Nigerians and indeed residents of the most populous black nation in the world must know that security of the society is the responsibility of all. In this regard, a national crusade in which every Nigerians would be involved in the peace process is necessary for us all to imbibe the right political culture.
An eminent Nigerian, Dr. Christopher Kolade, in a Nigerian Guardian on Sunday publication of Sept. 30, 2012, argued that “we must pursue the task of restoring hope to our nationhood; and for this to happen in this generation, we must jointly build a Nigeria that will bring succour and hope to her resilient people” Of course, to reduce friction, there must be democratic renewal and more importantly, well structured programmes and policies. Political leadership would have to do more to involve the citizenry in governance in order to encourage the new awakening that emphasizes the fact that people are the key components of governance.