Insecurity is presently one of the biggest challenges that Nigeria is facing as a country. Things have gone so bad that hardly would a day pass by without reports of instances of kidnapping or killings by bandits, armed robbers, and terrorists as well as other gruesome acts resulting in the loss of innocent lives and property. Sadly, no part of the country is spared by this hydra-headed problem, which has negatively impacted virtually every sector of the country’s economy and its overall development.
Even though what Nigeria has lost to the menace of insecurity is no longer quantifiable, all hope is not lost. The security situation in the country can still change for the better if the present ugly realities are addressed as soon as possible.
How to Tackle Insecurity in Nigeria
In this article, I will be recommending major workable solutions that can help Nigeria overcome its present insecurity challenges. And without further ado, I would cut right to the chase.
Firstly, Nigeria needs to urgently address the problem of unemployment among the youth, as this is the biggest underlying cause of insecurity in the country. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, a staggering 56 percent of the country’s over 90 million youths are unemployed. Unemployment leads to poverty and hunger, which, in turn, fuel the resolve to engage in crime. I have listened to countless video interrogations of criminals apprehended in Nigeria, and the majority cited unemployment as their main reason for venturing into crime. So, the link between youth unemployment and insecurity in Nigeria is crystal clear.
To this end, the Nigerian government should focus more on youth empowerment and employment creation. More job openings should be made available at all levels of government to unemployed youths. The government should also create business-friendly environments and conditions for private investors, as this would open up more job opportunities. In addition, youths who have opted for entrepreneurship should be supported by the government through the issuance of soft loans and sponsorship of skill enhancement trainings and schemes.
Corruption is another important cause of insecurity in Nigeria. This rot has eaten deep into every aspect of Nigeria, and both the country’s leaders and the followers are guilty. In fact, massive corruption on the part of the country’s leadership is one of the causes of massive youth unemployment, which, as discussed above, is the biggest motivation to go into crime.
Corruption on the part of the followers is one reason why they will not report criminal acts going on around them to the appropriate security authorities. This “look-away” attitude usually results from bribery, ethnoreligious loyalty, or anticipation of other undue benefits which can be marred by the awareness and involvement of security agents.
Therefore, the Nigerian government must intensify its efforts at combating corruption at all levels. This would involve making political office less lucrative through a downward review of remunerations as well as implementing stern punitive measures against anyone found guilty of involving in or abetting corruption.
A complete overhaul of Nigeria’s security apparatus is another measure that would go a long way in abating insecurity in the country. Presently, various security organizations in the country are understaffed and underequipped, with many of their personnel being underpaid. This explains the seeming incompetence of these agencies in the face of insecurity in Nigeria.
The government at all levels should empower the various security organizations, especially the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigerian Customs Service, by employing additional competent personnel, providing modern and sophisticated combat equipment, arranging or sponsoring trainings to enhance tactical skills and weapon-handling proficiency, and reviewing the remunerations of underpaid personnel. The government should also tap into the potential of technology by procuring and installing security cameras and other intelligence-gathering and crime-fighting devices.
With better working conditions, remunerations, and equipment, Nigerian police personnel would do a better job at keep crime at bay, while the Nigerian Customs’ officers would do better at manning the presently porous borders and preventing the influx of criminal elements and their machinery into the country.
Finally, the communication gap between Nigeria’s security agencies and the populace should be bridged through the proper introduction of community policing. It is common knowledge that criminal elements and activities in any community are first sensed by the inhabitants of that community and not by the security agents. This is evidenced by the fact that most arrests of criminals in Nigeria have been made following tip-offs by community inhabitants who gave helpful information to the security agents.
Therefore, to further clip the wings of insecurity in the country, the government should encourage increased participation in community policing, set up channels and platforms for fast and effective communication between community inhabitants and security agents, and encourage rapid response by security agents to intelligence reports gathered from the communities. The government should reward whistle-blowers handsomely as a way of incentivizing prompt reportage of criminal activities.
If all these measures are duly implemented in line with a well-laid-out blueprint, they would go a long way in helping Nigeria solve its biting insecurity problems and set it back on the right track towards overall socio-economic development.
This piece was written by Adenuga Ismail.