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Opinions of Friday, 2 July 2021

Columnist: Segun Ige

Dealing with rising insecurity

A member of #RevolutionNow and policemen during a protest against bad governance and insecurity in t A member of #RevolutionNow and policemen during a protest against bad governance and insecurity in t

Currently, I think there’s more hope in the future than in the present: Nigerian leaders seem to be paying more attention to the 2023 elections than on the spate of insecurity across the country. We’ve, however, forgotten that the present ultimately determines the future. Surely, when there’s power in the future, there ought to be a symbiotic synergy of power in the present that would propel us to acting and living as we want the future to be.

Focusing more on the 2023 presidential election, in particular, and not on the more daunting security challenges is a gross dereliction of duty, making many ambassadors of disintegration and disunity.

I remember T.S. Eliot talking about “historical sense” in poetry. However, in a polity like ours, I believe it’s about time we plunged into some deep “political sense” of inspiration for transformation, even more seriously, where the past, influencing the present, and the present simultaneously work together for a blissful future. The sweat of the toil, the toil of the slavery and the slavery of our heroes past are worth remembering for significant political progress in Nigeria. No politician politicks in a vacuum. It behoves us to assert, then, that they could not but be metastasised by the power of “the anxiety of influence.”

While it’s commendable that local security outfits, like Amotekun, Shege Ka Fasa and Ebubeagu, have been put in place primarily to subdue killings, kidnappings and banditry, and secondarily to work with constitutionally established armed forces, it’s noteworthy to mention, particularly, that these policing architectures have been institutionally abused, that their raison d’être has been misplaced altogether. I don’t know – but maybe because of his military background – the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), nay his regime, is loaded with good initiatives and ideas. That’s why the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, could come out openly castigating the Federal Government with respect to the, he claimed, “illegal” creation of Amotekun. It might be argued that the bottom-line of such rebuttal roughly could be pinned on the nuanced belief that Buhari operates on a rather undemocratic panoply patterned after Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu (or even Naftali Bennett himself!), Belarus’s Alexander Lukashenko, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and the rest of them.

First, I feel very strongly that if Shege Ka Fasa had been strengthened in the North, Boko Haram or bandits would not have made the business of banditry through the cracked walls, which could have been holistically cemented by the complementary efforts of the entire components of a federal system; cracking down on the collapsing walls of the zone, notably craving for lives of schoolboys and schoolgirls, is actually discomforting. The rescue of the Chibok schoolgirls, on April 14, 2014, looks to have been replicated in the overnight Kankara schoolboys’ return on December 15, 2020, indeed, absolutely appalling to social activists and crusaders. A former minister, Oby Ezekwesili, in particular, believes that the Kankara episode was a presidential magical act borne out of the Buhari regime’s desperation to gain some credibility.

Secondly, and far more importantly, the South-West’s Amotekun, well-resourced, would have definitely played a crucial in easing the tension between the police and #EndSARS protesters last year.

Leadership in turbulent times requires a high level of team management, which is what democracy has afforded. One of the reasons why any significant progress has not been made with respect to insecurity in the country is the ambition of the Presidency for 2023.

In the meantime, I suspect we are losing more lives to insecurity. All the jabs necessary to combat the growing insecurity, motivating calls for secession, should, as it were, be imported as quickly as possible.