Letter: Appalling state of security in Nigeria By – JOEL ADEMISOYE
Well, I am totally outraged at and disappointed in the Buhari administration for its timidity, the lack of establishing of organised and well-structured para-military, anti-kidnapping and anti-armed robbery special squad, to go into the bushes and forests to flush out this group of criminals along the roads.
How to reduce the kidnappers and armed robbers in the land? First and foremost, the Federal Government needs to and must reclassify the kidnappers and armed robbers as members of the official definition of what constitutes a terrorist group in Nigeria.
Once this classification is done under the Nigerian law, the FG is ready to engage and use military force/modalities against them anywhere in Nigeria. For a long time, I suspect the kidnappers are the remnant members or leftover of Boko Haram or other renegade of external terrorist groups, who have illegally migrated into Nigeria because of the country’s porous borders. Consequently, illegal aliens from Niger, Chad and other countries, north of the Nigerian border made their ways into our country. Thereafter, these aliens make their way into the hinterlands of the country to such places as Ondo State. Where are the Nigeria Immigration Service officials in performing their official duties by intervening and preventing the entering of these illegal aliens into Nigeria?
Fast forward, these illegal aliens are not law abiding people, they organise themselves into bandits and kidnapper cells all over the South of Nigeria. They occupy and live in the bushes and forests miles away to the roads or highways in close proximity to towns and cities around the country.
In recent times, Nigerians have seen this kind of knee jerk and uncoordinated response from the military command in Ondo State. However, it is a welcome development in the face of mounting occurrence of kidnapping in the state, but I question its efficacy in stopping this brutal, violent human abuse and killing of innocent Nigerians. What we need is a Federal Government security plan to fight and to end the murderous kidnapping and deadly armed robbery in the country. I don’t understand why the Buhari administration is silent and taking the current position of inaction on putting out the government’s comprehensive security policy and programme across Nigeria. Nigeria needs a blueprint on security to guide and to inform the citizens on how to respond to and cope with insecurity threats and situations in towns and cities. There is an urgent need to create an awareness programme on security issues and how citizens can work and collaborate with the police and other law enforcement agencies, and attempt to improve and broaden the government’s intelligence capacity in fighting heinous crimes such as kidnapping.
Back to the intervention of the army command in Akure to get involved in the efforts to reduce kidnapping, I hope the commander is seriously committing his troops to an all-out battle against these ferocious, brutal kidnappers, currently taking refuge in the bushes and forests across the state. The Army Special Force of the 32 Artillery Brigade is welcome to this new role and assignment of flushing out the kidnappers and their supporters from Ondo State.
In the end, there is an urgent need for the state government to put in place, a comprehensive and sustainable security plan to prevent the return of kidnappers to the state. Part of the security strategy is to keep the residents mobilised, organised, create awareness among residents in all communities/towns across the state. This would allow for a new participation, partnership and collaboration between the government and residents in the fight against kidnapping in Ondo State. I see the residents as a potential gold mine/source for information and intelligence gathering for the security and safety of the community in the state.
It is about time that a more radical and severe approach was employed to expunge the kidnappers from their hide-outs in the forests. If the army is going to be successful in its mission, it must leave no stone unturned by developing a strong intelligence base and using modern surveillance equipments and tracking system to locate the kidnappers’ den. The use of ground forces alone may not be sufficient to quickly weed out the kidnappers. Also, the use of contemporary technology for the demise of terrorists such as the use of surveillance helicopter/attack helicopter from the air and drones can improve the attack capacity and sharpen the latent capability of the soldiers on the ground, in order to rapidly flush the kidnappers out of the forests.
It is imperative that the state government develops its own alternative plan for the security and safety of the Ondo State residents. The truth of the matter is, the state government needs to de-emphasise and to reduce the heavy reliance on the Federal Government and its Nigeria Police Force for the security of the state. Currently, the NPF is a colossal failure in providing adequate security for Nigerians and their property throughout the country. Punch
Dr. Joel Ademisoye, Akungba Akoko, Ondo State