By Emeka Oraetoka
IT is my opinion that insecurity in Nigeria now should be termed Elite Orchestrated Insecurity, EOI! Improvement in banking service occasioned by the deployment of ICT has greatly reduced armed robbery in the country. Nowadays, stories of armed robbers dispossessing innocent Nigerians of their money in transit or in their homes have reduced.
Travellers don’t carry cash with them while on a journey; just as citizens don’t keep large sums of money at home. Nigerians now go around with their ATM cards with which they can easily access money at any ATM point. Also, POS is almost everywhere in the country; this too has greatly reduced the amount of cash we carry around. In a nutshell, ICT has minimised conventional insecurity in Nigeria.
Internet-enhanced banking has created its own insecurity. Hackers are now on the prowl. They use ICT knowledge to dupe unsuspecting victims. Sometimes, in connivance with bank staff, they get hold of the internet particulars of their victims, and then key it into the ATM and money gone.
At times, at gun point, robbers escort their victim to the ATM, where the unlucky victim is forced to give out vital information that will enable the hoodlums empty their victim’s account. Incidentally, these strands of conventional insecurity get little or no attention in print, electronic and social media because it usually does not attract political attention needed by the elite to pull down the government.
EOI is what this administration is currently grappling with. This variant of insecurity is attractive to the political class, particularly the opposition parties because it makes the government in power look incompetent and lacking the will power to protect citizens. It will be recalled that the party in power got elected on the promise that it will end insecurity in the country; little wonder the EOI appears to be on the rise in the country.
Perhaps it will be necessary to distinguished between Elite Orchestrated Insecurity and Conventional Insecurity. In Elite Orchestrated Insecurity, the perpetrators engage in the crime mostly to score political points and at the same time, make cool cash. In conventional insecurity, however, those in the trade are motivated purely by financial gain.
Crimes like terrorism, kidnapping, assassination, organised armed robbery and banditry are in the category of EOI. It is an organised crime that involves detail in planning and execution. Those in the trade even boast of their targets in the media. For instance, leader of the terrorist group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, had on several occasions posted videos of his operation on social media.
Before Sallah, the social media reported some bandits as saying that they will resume hostility in Abuja-Kaduna expressway. Just recently, the Governor of Katsina State vowed that he will never negotiate with bandits. When government starts negotiation with criminals, it suggests one thing: the criminals are definitely not common.
In the not too distant past, kidnapping started in the Niger Delta. Those involved in the crime claimed that the reason they took to it was to draw the attention of government to their plight in the region. When they started vandalising pipelines which led to plummeting oil revenue, the late President Umoru Musa Yar’Adua granted the youths in the region amnesty for them to drop their guns and embrace peace. In truth, the youths had the backing of powerful political elite and elders in the region.
Not too long ago, about 25 policemen were killed in an armed robbery operation in Offa, Kwara State. Just last week, eight policemen lost their lives in another armed robbery attack in Isonlu, Kogi State. Recently, some bandits reportedly struck in Sokoto State, killing about 70 people. About 80 people were reported killed by Boko Haram on June 10, 2020.
The list is almost endless. The most striking fact in all the killings is they are news items. In fact, most dallies made such their front-page lead. The pattern of execution of these attacks shows one thing: they are highly organised.
The Politically Motivated or Elite Orchestrated Insecurity peaked when the daughter of Afenifere leader, Pa Fasarunti, was brutally assassinated by suspected Fulani herdsmen. This appeared to have fast-tracked the formation of a regional security outfit, Amotekun, by the South West governors.
They primed their action on the fact that police has failed in securing the lives and property of the good people of the region. After series of shuttle diplomacy, the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Abubakar Adamu, was able to secure commitment from governors in the South West that Amotekun will not be regional anymore.
In what appeared to be his first official outing after his appointment as Chief of Staff, CoS, to President Muhammadu Buhari, Professor Gambari, feared that the sectional and regional way security issues are addressed in Nigeria is potentially dangerous for the country as a corporate entity.
Professor Gambari who is Chairman, Governing Council of Bayero University, Kano, BUK, spoke in Abuja at an event organised to honour former Defence Minister, General Domkat Bali (retd.), who recently turned 80 on March 2, 2020. He further said: “The many challenges we are facing are structural in nature. And if the structure is not working, we have a responsibility to make adjustments to the structure for no structure is perfect.”
From this writer’s analysis of Professor Gambari’s brilliant paper, it appears to me there is sharp nexus between insecurity in Nigeria and lack of restructuring. If I am not mistaken, Gambari is saying that once Nigeria is restructured, insecurity will go. I strongly think that restructuring will only reduce and localise Politically Motivated or Elite Orchestrated Insecurity; it may not necessarily eradicate conventional insecurity in Nigeria.
What will eliminate conventional insecurity is eradication of government corruption and bringing governments closer to the people. Nobody has educated me on why Amotekun is imperative in the South West. To me, political consideration was behind the formation of the outfit.
Although, Professor Gambari did not specifically refer to Amotekun in his speech, but this extract from a national daily appears to suggest he is particular about the wider implication of the outfit to the corporate existence of Nigeria: “But for the sectional and regional way we are addressing the challenges, which is not tied to the primacy of the national security apparatus.
So, if something is wrong nationally, we should not find solution regionally and even if we are to take regional solution, it should be a temporary arrangement and not a divorce of the national security architecture.”
The way we are going, God forbids we will have two countries, north, and south which could be increasingly unequal. I don’t see how that can contribute to the nation of our dreams. I am not a prophet of doom, I have never been and I will never become one. If I was one I would not have been proud and privileged to have served Nigeria during a difficult time for 10 years.”
Rationally, for Professor Gambari to link lack of restructuring to insecurity, is an indication that what Nigeria is facing is Politically Motivated or Elite Orchestrated Insecurity. Amotekun was not formed to tackle conventional insecurity, besides; conscious effort has been made by south west governors to eradicate government corruption in the states that make up the region.
No effort is being made in the area of accountability to the masses, either. Misgovernance abounds everywhere in Nigeria; yet, people have not resorted to criminality proportional to the level of general misgovernance in the country. The insecurity being witnessed in Nigeria is the one orchestrated by those shouting about insecurity in Nigeria, through their agents. Yes, there is insecurity in Nigeria, but it is politically motivated of targeted variant!
In the interim or before restructuring, Professor Gambari may need to advise the President on the need to completely and sincerely insulate the police from politics, as the first option towards fishing out the sponsors of insecurity in Nigeria. Secondly, electoral reform is necessary in view of the fact that tackling insecurity was the major reason the current government came to power.
It will be naïve for anyone to think that opposition parties will not be happy seeing the government fail in its effort to ensure security in the country. Opposition within and outside the ruling party may be fueling insecurity in the country. Therefore, an adroit electoral reform that will see serious political parties competing for elections in Nigeria should be instituted.
The reduction in the number of political parties to a manageable three or two, through law and transparent administrative procedure, will help in ensuring sanity in terms of eradicating Politically Motivated or Elite Orchestrated Insecurity in Nigeria.
Thirdly, Prof may advise the Federal Government on need to develop Preventive Policing concept in tackling the following crime: Terrorism, Banditry, Assassination, Organised Armed Robbery and Kidnapping. These categories of crime are usually Politically Motivated. We may refer to the insecurity arising from these crimes as Elite Orchestrated.
The perpetrators or masterminds of these kinds of crime, have wide tentacles in the system. They even have hypnotic influence on the media. In fact, to check these types of crime, government must put in place, a Whistle Blowing Policy on Insecurity, just as she has on Corruption. Once all Nigerians are whistleblowers on insecurity, the incident of these types of crime will drastically reduce.
Oraetoka, an information management consultant & researcher, wrote from Abuja