State of the Nation: Time to take security serious
A troubling revelation emerged lately when Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, made shocking allegations that some officers were unwilling to fight insurgency.
“It is unfortunate, but the truth is that almost every setback the Nigerian Army has had in our operations in recent times can be traced to insufficient willingness to perform assigned tasks or simply insufficient commitment to a common national and military course by those at the frontlines,” he said.
Coming on the heels of the invasion and looting of, at least, four military bases in Mobbar, Damasak, Mongunu and Gajiram areas of Borno State by Boko Haram, and massacre of unknown number of military officers, Buratai’s claims definitely trigger renewed anxiety over the state of the nation.
Only in May 2019, over 310 more Nigerians were killed with about 22 of them identified as military personnel. Regardless of claims by security heads that the military has control over insecurity, several attacks from insurgents, bandits, cultists and herdsmen, among others, occurred, further raising fear. Incidents of kidnapping, armed robbery, cross border crimes are also not abetting.
As stated in a report by a media tracking group, Nigeria Mourns, the deadly attacks which claimed the lives of 310 Nigerians occurred in Zamfara, Taraba, Edo, Plateau, Rivers, Delta, Katsina, Borno, Ebonyi, Kogi and Jigawa states, illustrating the national spread of terror and unease.
While it remains for authorities to assuage this fear, we must further interrogate the General’s premise: is the military war-weary, overwhelmed by its multiple frontiers of war, or weakened? What is the plight of its personnel? Are they properly catered for or neglected?
For what is characteristically an internal communication to surge into an open public discourse, we reckon that Nigeria faces a daunting security test that requires the support of all, but much more the gallantry and courageous patriotism of its officers to fix.
While we acknowledge the General’s expose’ as a subtle admission that the country’s security architecture is becoming lax, with men who have sworn to protect it reneging from their cause, the military must look inwards and purge all its formations of bad eggs who look the other way while ordinary citizens are attacked and killed.
Before now, Nigerians were high in hopes that the military under this administration has overcome its myriads of problems and was well-motivated and positioned to confront the criminal gangs and terrorists multiplying across the country; but Buratai’s remarks uncovered a crisis within its formations which accentuates the imperative for concerted effort by appropriate authorities to address the underlying causes.
While we align with Buratai’s decision to flush out reluctant troops from the service and refusal of the Nigerian army to further tolerate them, the military must offer the hesitant troops the opportunity to explain their unpatriotic conduct as such clarifications could provide clues to forestall any repeat of similar occurrence.
While sustaining its campaign against terror, banditry and cross-border crimes, the army must reinvent its will, tactics and strategies to break the resilience of such criminals and flush them out, even as all citizens must offer their support and ensure that evil is exposed, avoided and eliminated from the country.
Both traditional and political authorities must consult widely and calm the tensions brewing across the country over marginalisation and socio political exclusion which usually form the basis for eruption of disruptive tendencies that impact on law and order.
Overtime, the proliferation of arms has been identified as one of the factors fuelling violent crimes across the country. It is therefore appropriate to pursue treaties with local communities and armed groups to broker disarmament deals, leading to arms reduction and the return of peace to restive areas.