By TAHIR IBRAHIM TAHIR
“The government must stop being friends with everyone. Enemies of the state must be identified and put in their place. People ‘do anyhow’ and ‘talk anyhow’ and get away with it. It must all stop. Security is top priority and without it, all other glories will appear to be in vain.”
The last one year, echoes of sack the service chiefs were rife and as if in unison, everyone felt they had outlived their usefulness. Something made Baba stick with them all these years. Now they are gone and we all are not the better for it.
The Nigerian Airforce has suffered two plane crashes already. ISWAP and Boko haram have made new incursions into civilian territory in Yobe state, and hugely in Niger state. We’ve had friendly fire take up close to 40 soldiers along with their weaponry.
The picture is quite grim and the days we used to report on the successes of the military in the war against terror are fast depleting. Our foreheads are sunk in our palms and we reckon that we have taken quite a bit from the terrorists. Photo-ops of commanders of the war in their offices have not been reassuring either.
Even though the advisory from NNPC is not assuring, but the bare-faced reality is that the security forces have been overwhelmed and their numbers are too few, to face what they are up against.
There has to be a massive recruitment exercise in all of the forces. The military, the airforce, the navy and the police. Even the DSS needs more and more hands. The NSCDC shouldn’t be left behind either.
When Bola Ahmed Tinubu mentioned that atleast 50 million youths should be recruited, he actually wasn’t too far off. On a daily basis you hear of terrorists being killed and the war just doesn’t go away. That is because on a daily basis they are recruiting. Weaponised poverty is working in their favor and the millions of jobless youths all over the country fall prey to their induction exercises. No one is preaching ‘boko’ anymore. It’s all about food, food and food. They give them a living and a so called life, as against wallowing in poverty.
We have thousands of hectares of ungoverned space. Forests and villages that have no presence of governance whatsoever. Urbanisation is not the only method to growth and development. We must look at rural economies and build them. Local governance must be made to prevail, inspite of the opposition it is facing from governors and the like. This also means that community policing must be brought to bear on our localities.
The bandits and terrorists use locals and the intelligence they gather from them, to thrive. If the communities have empowered security outfits that they can rely on to protect themselves; we would all be the better for it. Not regional security formations that are about funfare and politics– but localised community police for each local government.
Intelligence gathering is a key component of warfare. You must know who your opponent is, what his aim is, what his targets are, and if there is a time-plan for his activities. You must know his sources of funding and ammunition. You cannot depend on sporadic discoveries of information like the situation on our hands in Niger.
All the security agencies have this particular role of intelligence gathering to play. There must be a co-ordination of the Intel received by each outfit which must be shared across them.
The police and the DSS should be able to infiltrate the ranks of the bandits and terrorists and have first hand information of their activities and modus operandi. The idea of hundreds of bandits moving about on motorbikes in their hundreds, through communities is simply unacceptable– in this age of modern technology.
Top notch Surveillance infrastructure must be put in place, to signal any massive movements of bandits. There must be an effective mechanism, through the NSA, where the activities of all the security outfits are co-ordinated and synchronised.
Ofcourse there is the political arm, and the funding scheme of all the terrorism going on. It is largely believed that politicians, to a great extent, are behind all the unrest that our country is suffering. We recently had a pool of bureau de change operators that were listed as sponsors of terrorism. There must be a political list as well. Politicians behind banditry must be identified and exposed. They must be brought to bear the full brunt of the law.
When crimes go unpunished, especially crimes against the security of our nation, it leaves much room for disdain and petulance. Criminals become disrespectful of the government and the system as a whole. Scapegoats must be made out of the goats in capes.
The government must stop being friends with everyone. Enemies of the state must be identified and put in their place. People ‘do anyhow’ and ‘talk anyhow’ and get away with it. It must all stop. Security is top priority and without it, all other glories will appear to be in vain.
*Tahir is Talban Bauchi.
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