Nigeria: Insecurity - Thinking Out of the Box

8 August 2020

If there's one country so deeply buried in the box of doing the routine and the mundane,that country is Nigeria.

On everything, our leaders, policymakers and implementers never sit and think deeply. They never listen, and are mostly averse, to counsel, wise and otherwise. They either never consult experts who may 'know' better, or else they jettison any and every advice, solicited and unsolicited, that comes their way. ("And Above Every Possessor Of Knowledge There Is One More Learned", says Allah the Exalted in the Qur'an),

That's why, for example, any well-meaning project donor-agencies fund for development of this country dies immediately the 'experts' leave after the programme's lifespan, because public and civil servants work on the Nigerian principle of 'what is in it for me'. As soon as there is no more DTA and Estacode, they abandon a project, and that's the end. This Column had lamented such a brilliant project - M4D (Mobilising for Development) - which has come, and gone.

That's why, with that backgrounder in mind, one is always reluctant to proffer advice to our policymakers. They always think academics, academicians and thinkers are just 'I-too-know' people; whereas to Nigeria God has given people of ideas; may the Good Lord to count us among them, and may He open the minds of our leaders to think out of the box on national development, corruption and, especially, insecurity; which is the topic for this week:

FIGHT GUNS, DRUGS: Guns Make Them Bold;Drugs Make Them Reckless (and this, in sha Allah, will be topic for another time). All criminals, because they hold an AK47, are disproportionately emboldened. Add to that the drugs they take, especially Tramadol, which make them utterly reckless. These two ingredients, guns and drugs, make Boko Haram and kidnappers and armed robbers and bandits 'courageous' enough to do what they do - killing, pillaging, raping, abducting. Nigeria must find a way of staunching the movement of small arms through our porous land borders; andof stopping the trafficking of drugs through especially the sea routes. The laws should be amended to prescribe capital punishment and immediate execution of all gunrunners and drug traffickers. And it has to be now, not later. And don't let those Human Righters tell us otherwise.

BURN THE FORESTS: We have to start selectively burning the forests used as hideouts by Boko Haram, kidnappers and other no-gooders. 99% of all criminals, especially in Northern Nigeria,take to our forests to hit and run to, and hide. We have to start a systematic and selective (not wholesale) burning of those forests. We have to smoke Shekau out of Sambisa, and Katsina bandits out of Rugu. Environmentalists will quickly retort to say that burning forests in a desert-threatened region is disingenuous; this argument is as wise as the forest ranger shooting dead a 'poacher' (usually a poor African hunter scrounging for meat) to save the gorilla. We better lose part of the forest than continue losing hundreds of our compatriots daily. Let the Air Force pour petrol on a selected area of the forests and set it ablaze. There seems to be no other way. In sha Allah the forests will regenerate themselves in five years. And don't let those Environmentalists tell us otherwise.

WATCHTOWERS, CCTV, DRONES: What prevents the police from erecting watchtowers at every kilometre all over the country? And have drones been invented yet? For the Nigerian security apparatus, it seems as if there is no satellite or drone anywhere in the world. This simple technology seems to be passing us by. Perhaps our leaders are still negotiating drone contracts and inflating the invoices such that, by the time they are deployed, the kidnappers would have been able to 'buy' the remote control. CCTV has since been overtaken by drones; but don't we remember that an international television station recently announced the rediscovery of a certain animal thought extinct for several years? How? By the use of hidden cameras in the forests. And we cannot install hidden cameras or use drones in our own forests to 'catch' a glimpse of these 'animals'?We take a cue from Akpabio/NDDC 'Enough! Off the Mic!'

THINK OF MERCENARIES: Criminals are crazy - but in this world there are crazier human beings called mercenaries. They are available, ready, well equipped and daring. Normally, we should hate them. But at this time and situation, we should give anything, everything, a chance. We should hire them and give them this simple task - end Boko Haram, kidnapping, banditry. This Column recommends fees up to the equivalent of the budget of NDDC. Justification: It is an incontrovertible fact that our security forces are overwhelmed, and are losing life and limb every day. We hear hundreds of them prefer to 'prematurely retire', rather than 'commit' suicide by obeying their incompetent, and sometimes corrupt, commanders.

PILOT, ESCORT 'PATROLS': If the government wants to restore public confidence in its so-called 'security architecture', the IG of Police should start from Abuja-Kaduna road by ordering Commissioners of Police of FCT, Niger and Kaduna to institute hourly convoys to pilot and escort commuter vehicles from each end of the highway to the other. Since we all know that the most dangerous part is the 100-kilometre one-hour stretch from the tollgate after Tafa (on the Abuja end) to the tollgate just before Kaduna, hourly convoys can depart with fully-armed pilots and escorts between the two points. And we shall arrive happily ever after. Then every DPO along the road should allocate a five-kilometre beat for every police vehicle for a REAL PATROL, not the lazy, stationary stand they now execute and call checkpoint. Many suspect, and for good reason, that checkpoints are just a ploy to 'cede' (or sell) territory to criminals.

YOUR SAFETY FIRST: Whenever the police parade apprehended suspects - kidnappers, armed robbers and other criminals - that is usually the first and last you hear of them. There are insinuations that some of them 'buy' their 'freedom' with the millions they rake in from ransoms, and return to their criminal underworlds. Why is there no parade of suspected criminals BEFORE they strike? It's hardly no comfort for victims and their relatives to see that their abductors have been arrested, only for them not to hear anything after that. No trial, no sentencing, no execution even in the states where capital punishment is prescribed for such criminal activity.

KURSIYY, FALAQI, NAS: We are the most religious geographical entity on earth. So hold on tight to your Kursiyy, Falaq and Nas, and remember "Bismillahi Tawakkaltu AlalLahi Wa La Haula Wa La Kuwwata Illa BilLah!" on leaving home. May Allah protect us all.

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