Nigeria’s security system unprepared to fight non-state actors — Don

From Fred Ezeh, Abuja

Prof. Samuel Odoh Odoma, a senior academic with Bingham University, Karu, Nasarawa State, has provided a hint to why armed non-state actors (Boko Haram insurgents, bandits, unknown gun men) are freely unleashing terror on Nigerians without much response from the security agents.

Prof. Odoma, in an inaugural lecture titled “the imperative of securing Nigeria’s security” delivered at Bingham university campus on Friday, noted that his research work indicated that Nigeria’s security system has been unable to match-up with the capacity and onslaught of non-state actors that terrorize and threaten Nigeria at will, without the state security operatives showing the commensurate or better ability to control their excesses.

He said: “No doubt, the nation’s security appears threatened and insecure on a regular basis, to the extent that scholars have argued that the nation at the moment is at the brink of a fragile and or failed state. This underscored the fact that national security operatives have suffered serious casualties and losses that can only be envisaged in a conventional war situation.

“Evidently, Nigeria is not at war with another country but only contending with insurgents and insurrections from within. For the security operatives to suffer huge casualties such as losing helicopter, fighter jet, armored tanks, patrol vehicles and personnel to bandits and unknown gunmen only suggests that Nigeria’s national security needs to be secured.

“It is only then that it can function to secure the citizens, and their investments across the nation. This is because they cannot give what they don’t have.”

Odoma, a professor of criminalogy and deviant behaviour, however, submitted that the sorry state of Nigeria’s security is, no doubt, a function of misperception of the social virtue of security by majority of the Nigerian population.

“Until now, there has been a wrong belief that security is a project to be provided by only the government and to be enjoyed by the citizens. There’s equally erroneous belief that persons that can be of security threat are strangers and foreigners, but not known and familiar faces.

“When a people accept and sustain this kind of belief as it appears to be with majority of Nigerians, security will no doubt, be elusive as it has been and may continue to be, except there is a drastic change in attitude of the generality of Nigerian citizens.

“The change in attitude as a veritable antidote to the present state of insecurity in Nigeria must be comprehensive, covering all the stakeholders in the provision of security, notably, the government, citizens, and security operatives.

“Stakeholders must be willing to give their all to achieve the much cherished security. The reason for this is that, the same stakeholders could be responsible, and have been responsible in one way or the other for the current state of insecurity in Nigeria.

“Government as the arrowhead of security must champion and have firm grip and command of all the groups within the borders of the nation. It must be ready to deploy and exercise its right of the sole prerogative of use of force to ensure compliance of all, no matter how highly placed.

“The society, being a system that is akin to a biological organism possesses many parts. All the parts exist independently and perform distinctive roles to sustain the society that house all the institutions, and the political institution (government) always stands tall among the other institutions.”

He, however, insisted that the institutions of social control in Nigeria must “step-up their game”, stressing that the noise about ‘unknown gunmen’ appears needless, but only suggests the failure of government and its agencies to come to term with modern management of threats and insecurity.

Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Haruna Kuje Ayuba, in his remarks, commended the inaugural lecturer for the deep content of his research work, challenging relevant agencies and stakeholders to lay hold of the document, understudy it and use it to improve their work.

He, however, stressed the importance of inaugural lectures in the University system, making reference to a declaration at one of the meetings of Association of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (AVCNU) which highlighted the importance of inaugural lectures in the university system.

He said: “it is the inaugural lecture that inaugurates a person’s chair as Professor, and this is usually held within one or two years after the date of appointment, promotion and announcement. Sadly, this cherished academic tradition has been neglected or is done on irregular basis in many universities, to the extent that some professors retire without giving their inaugurals.”



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