16 June 2017

Nigeria: Appraising Buhari's Feat in Security Sector (II)


Continued from last week

Kidnapping and hostage taking in parts of the country is another area the present government has recorded huge successes. It will be recalled that, before now, kidnapping and hostage taking were common place in the South East, South South, South West and parts of the North Central especially the Kogi-Kaduna axis. Available intelligence show this security threat has been reduced in the South East and to some extent in the South-South. The situation in the North Central has also been brought under control. The sour point currently is the South West. Security and Law enforcement agencies need to focus on the incursion of this criminality into the South West especially Ogun and Lagos States. Credit should be given to the present government for eliminating the menace of kidnapping and hostage taking in Zamfara, Kaduna, Kogi and other parts of the country. There are hopes that the menace of kidnapping and hostage taking will be degraded to the barest minimum by the time when the government rolls out the strategies of maximum police presence and community policing, technology back surveillance system and renewed intelligence gathering efforts. The point needs to be made that the fight against kidnapping must be intelligence driven and should be proactive. Relatedly, clashes between cattle Fulani herdsmen and local farmers/communities is a security challenge that is eliciting huge public outcry in many parts of the country. There are suggestions a more holistic approach is required in dealing with this challenge. The menace will definitely be minimized when the new strategies of deploying forest rangers, designating of grazing routes and better communication and understanding between stakeholders are put in place. Effective border control and proper management of movement of arms bearing cattle Fulani in the sub-region, it is believed, will also help in degrading the threat. Incidentally, the threats posed by armed Fulani herdsmen is not local, it is sub-regional and portends serious threats to security in the sub-region. Proper vulnerability assessment and stationing of security forces especially the Military and Mobile Police units will definitely help deter the eruption of unnecessary clashes. This area of security is again one where much has been achieved but much still needs to be done.

Security from whatsoever perspective is about removing inhibitions to the right of people to free movement, association and creating conducive environment for the pursuit of legitimate business. The present government can be said to have guaranteed the right of the citizenry to free movement, the right to reside in any part of the country and generally, provision of the conducive atmosphere required for peaceful living in any part of the country. These rights should not be taken for granted. The government should be commended for guaranteeing security in all parts of the country. Equally commendable is, how the government has successfully forestalled the eruption of inter-religion and inter-communal clashes. The security agencies should be commended for maintaining vigilance on this aspect of security.

The successes of the present government in the security sector in the last two years are not limited to degrading and effective management of threats to security. Commitments in capacity building especially re-equipping the military and security agencies and the acquisition of cutting edge technology are critical parameters for measuring the successes of the government. It is on record that, the government is currently in the process of modernizing the equipment holding of the Armed Forces and Security Agencies. These efforts are very commendable as the current security challenges cannot be fought with the military hardware of the 1970s and 1980s. The government in the last two years have acquired modern fighting platforms for the military and the security forces. This enhanced capability is one factor that has resulted in improved performance and effectiveness. It is assessed today that, the morale and confidence of the members of the Armed Forces is encouraging. The present government should be scored high here in the area of logistics acquisition and improving the welfare and morale of security personnel.

Taking stock of the achievement of the government in an area like security within a time frame is not easy. Principally, because security challenges like other forms of human activity cannot be wiped out within a specified time. Security threats are dynamic. Security challenges cannot be wiped out at the push of the bottom. They require planning and mobilization of resources. The insurgency in the North East for example although substantially degraded still constitutes a major security challenge. So also are, incidents of kidnapping and attacks by Fulani herdsmen. The government has done remarkable well in these areas. Much, however, still needs to be done. What is important is, the government unlike in the past has demonstrated the will to deal with the challenges and is deploying appropriate measures to achieve the overall national security objectives. On this score, it can be said without equivocation that, the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration has done exceptionally well in managing security concerns in the country in the last two years, notwithstanding the persistence of criminal activities such as kidnapping and attacks by lawless Fulani herdsmen.

Gadzama, a former Director General of State Security Service, wrote this piece from Abuja.


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