Experts proffer solutions to insecurity in Nigeria

SECURITY experts who participated in a Twitter Space organised by The ICIR on Tuesday, June 27, have proffered solutions to the high level of insecurity in Nigeria.

They also charged President Bola Tinubu’s government to urgently tackle security challenges, including terrorism, banditry, communal and pastoral clashes, across the country.

The Twitter Space was themed ‘Insecurity: Setting Agenda for Tinubu’s Government’.

Government should address root causes of insecurity 

One of the experts, a Researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, Malik Samuel, advised the Tinubu administration to address the root causes of insecurity.

“The President should address root causes of insecurity. He should look at insecurity not just as a threat to national security but also as a threat to the people.

“He should focus on the safety and the welfare of the people. Instead of focusing on military force, address the issues driving the violence. Address the issue of governance and corruption.

“No group in Nigeria possess the capacity to take on the state. It is really about dealing with the drivers first.”

Corruption in the defence sector should be tackled

Malik also urged the government to deal with corruption in the defence sector.

“A good way to start is to deal with corruption in the defence sector,” he said, adding that there is a correlation between corruption and insecurity.

Learn from previous administrations

The security expert further advised the President to learn from how previous administrations handled insecurity and toe a different part. “He is on the right path with his recent appointments, but the strategies that will be adopted are more important. The President must also demonstrate good leadership,” he said.

Weaken terrorists

The security expert spoke of the need for government to weaken the terrorists operating in the country. 

According to him, the government should look at cutting the source of their income and supplies from outside the country.

“Terrorist groups like ISWAP should be driven out of their comfort zone. We all know where these guys are located. We know that they are on Lake Chad Island. What is stopping the government from uprooting them from these places? Take them out of their comfort zone, and ISWAP will struggle financially. While at this, the government should ensure that the livelihood of civilians is not affected to avoid pushing the people back to the extremists.”

Government should listen to the people

Also speaking at the Twitter Space, a Senior Security Analyst at SBM Intelligence, Confidence MacHarry, advised the government to listen to the people.

“These (security) issues are issues that can be avoided if the government listens to the people. As we see in the Gombe State case, the government often doesn’t listen and would instead do what is on its mind. Eventually, they escalate the conflict, which is blown out of proportion. The government needs to learn to listen to the people.”

President, governors should be impartial 

The security expert added: “Anyone controlling the security agencies is to be seen as impartial. That partiality and affinity towards one particular ethnic group seem to offset the balance of power. For example, in Akwa Ibom, the governor Emmanuel Udom, he was accused of trying to illegally alter the state boundary to favour his LGA over a rival LGA. This is one of the issues in response to increased conflict.

“The key reason there seems to be a massive decline in state capacity is the absence of institutional trust. Nigeria naturally is a low-trust environment, and the trust in government capacity is diminishing.”

Government should address injustice

MacHarry further advised that government at all levels should address injustice.

“Justice has to be seen to be done. And this is the problem Nigeria’s political elite do not grasp. You should not only be saying you’re going to bring justice to the victim’s family, you have to demonstrate; people have to see that you are doing justice. If a court order says this property belongs to this ethnic group, it should be effected in the country’s gazette. If the other group try to make trouble, the government must deploy state capacity to crush that problem.”

According to him, the ban on sit-at-home in the South-East won’t work if the government fails to address the root cause of the conflict, stressing that the government must put in the work to make sure there is no sit-at-home instead of making a declaration.

“The high rate of employment in the region has influenced the increase in violent non-state actors. The government should address unemployment and provide many other basic amenities absent in the region before announcing an end to sit-at-home.”

Tinubu should avoid starting a new war

He warned that Tinubu shouldn’t start a new war like the previous administration did.

To avoid escalating insecurity, MacHarry advised that the Army should not be deployed to quell crises that require the attention of the Police.

    He also suggested that political issues should be addressed politically, rather than with military force.

    “In the US, there is a lot of talk about scorecards, and a President is rated much more highly if he doesn’t start a new war in Africa or the Middle East.

    “This government has to stop this bad streak of new Federal Governments starting new wars. What the Tinubu government should be doing is solving political issues politically. The police should address issues that need the police.

    “It should only use the military in situations where it is absolutely certain that the police cannot carry out peacekeeping operations.”

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

    Beloved John is an investigative reporter with International Centre for Investigative Reporting.

    You can reach her via: [email protected]

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