December 30, 2011

Nigeria and security challenges

FOR some time now, the problem of insecurity which used to be one of the lowest in the hierarchy of social problems facing this country seems to have assumed alarming proportions since the end of the Nigerian civil war which ended in 1970.

During the pre-colonial and colonial era, insecurity was merely handled by the Federal government utilising the ministry of Internal Affairs ,  the Nigerian Police Force [N.P.F] , The Nigeria Prison, the Immigration service  and the Customs, all of which annual budgets was among the least in the exclusive  list . There were also local security men recruited by the native authorities, some of whom where attached to the customary court that were called different names like ‘Danduka’ or ‘Courtma’.

Since the past decade, government expenditure and security has walloped a life chunk of the Federal, State and local budgets in the name of security votes and other related sub-heads. It would appear to me that unemployment is one of the strongest push factors.

A situation where an alarming rate of about 40 percent of Nigerians  most of who are in the youth bracket are not gainfully employed,smacks  of a missing link  in the governance and an absence of a desirable social contract .The emergence of youth militancy  in the Niger Delta could be traced to this factor.

This is why the Federal government has been commended by the international community for the ongoing rehabilitation of the youths. Perhaps the huge expenditure which the Federal and State government have mete in this process could have been avoided  if the actual problem of the Niger Delta  had been nipped in the bud.

And one way of achieving this would have been for the  multinationals operating in the region to have expended part of their surplus value to build roads, bridges  and other  infrastructure in the area in addition to the establishment of industries that will gainfully engage the angry youths. The issue of paying the so called compensation cannot mitigate the impact of their activities. What is more, the compensation does not really get to the grass root.

The Niger Delta is not an island, and even if more than adequate attention was paid to them, the other geo-political zones could become jealous resulting to another claim of relative deprivation, because after all they are all in the same country.

Another strong push factor to the insecurity which the country had suffered is the issue of lop-sided development.

The deliberate concentration of Nigeria’s capital resources to the development of a few cities in the name of Federal and State capitals, culminating  in the prevalence of a large population of rural and under developed communities who later came to see the developing cities of Lagos, Port-Harcourt, Kano, Enugu, Ibadan Kaduna and Calabar to mention but a few, as a different country  has equally compounded the security of this country.

Although, the welfare of the urban poor, like the Ajegunle and Maroko of Lagos and similar slum dwellers in Port-Harcourt, Kano, Ibadan among others is being addressed by successive administrations in these areas, these(second class citizens)see the dwellers of the cities as their enemies.

In the same vain,  the masses in the rural areas appear to have waged a cold war against the urban dwellers. The trend seem to be   organised criminal expeditions to the cities lasting for a few days and  a retreat to escape  law enforcement agencies, and this has continued till date.

The rural dwellers are jealous of the bright light in the cities, the pipe borne water which flows at intervals, the health facilities, the fairly good roads and drainage systems including the educational institutions and the white collar jobs. What do we expect in this kind of confusion?

It has even become difficult for the aggrieved youths to be traced because there is no road to the rural area, it goes without saying that one way of reducing insecurity is to spread development to all the nooks and crannies of the country no matter their contribution to the economy.

It would be unreasonable for anyone to condemn the establishment of educational institutions and subsequent mass educational policies of the Federal and state government which have produced millions of University graduates and other school leavers , since education is the bed rock of development of any country.

But having achieved this, what effort are we making to replace the departed and retired farmers who have been feeding this nation for decades? The unemployed school leavers are neither here nor there and this appears to worsen the food insecurity of this country, forcing the Federal government to import food that we can produce.

It is interesting to observe that the ongoing transformation by the  Federal and State government,emphasised Agriculture and security.The President,Dr. Goodluck Jonathan in a recent speech, advised Nigerians to pray for him and the government  rather than churning out criticisms of all sorts.

I believe that the president is not opposed to constructive criticisms ,since according to him,he is not a magician and anybody who expects him to solve all our problems in one year is not realistic.

the one year old president to solve all the problems facing this country even  within the four years of his tenure, will be regarded as a spoiler. However it has become absolutely necessary for the ongoing Agricultural mobilization and empowerment of the Nigerian youths to embrace Agriculture as a veritable venture that will supply the food needs of the country and engage them in gainful employment in order to prevent them from participating in the devil’s workshop.

Chief Hon. Emmanuel Uche Nwadialor  ( THE IYASE OF ABALLA KINGDOM)                                                    07034550696 [email protected]