The first pattern to break is to first ensure that heads are forced to roll following the Kuje attacks. If President has being anything it is that he has being too lenient with those who are saddled with the responsibility of ensuring such security, it’s being one attack after another and all Nigerians continue to get is the redundant declaration that the security agencies will get them, thus I am sure will not have been the case had President Buhari shown some of these officials the exit door and proven that there were no tin gods nor sacred cows in the nation’s security architecture. While I agree again that securing a nation like Nigeria is not easy, it is however not acceptable that we will continue to go through such sordid rounds despite the humongous funds sunk into security.
Another pattern to break would be to retool the security architecture to ensure enhanced collaboration amongst them. With 17 security agencies at its disposal, there is the problem of non-collaboration amongst each agency with each guarding its turf jealously similar to what obtained between the Brown Shirts, the Wehrmacht and the SS. Such rivalry has led to each agency in Nigeria undermining each other rather than collaborating for the good of the nation. It is alleged that a majority of the these security agencies have allowed issues such as matters of responsibility, distrust lack of cooperation and unhealthy rivalry to dominate their relationship with each other. The Bible says that a kingdom against itself cannot stand and if this is the order of the day for our security agencies then it is no wonder these non state actors are having a field day, and have continued to have dire consequences on national security.
The quality of our intelligence gathering systems is another key to breaking the pattern. No nation has emerged successfully in terms of dealing with its security challenges without a fixation on intelligence. There is in fact a correlation between Intelligence and the propensity to deter attacks, as the availability of such intelligence as well as its utilization will help prevent the attacks. Of a truth, the nation’s intelligence apparatus is over stretched and fragmented which in turn leads to Inter-Agency rivalry and non collaboration. Asides the disadvantages earlier mentioned it is also alleged that there is too much red tape in processing such information, and this on many occasions leads to a late mobilization for a response or non at all, thus making sitting ducks of such targets.
There is also the need to add more men and women into these security agencies. The staff strength of the Nigerian Armed Forces and Police is presently inadequate. The Armed Forces asides its low numbers( 223,000) is heavily overstretched given numerous instances in which they have been deployed to carry out tasks naturally within the purview of the Nigerian Police. While the Nigerian Police is also underpopulated with 371, 000 officers to our population of 200,000,000 people. There is no sense in having an army of not less than 400,000 members with one fifth of the number acting as a reserve army. Egypt with a population of 104 million people possess an armed forces population of 310,000 with a reserve army of 375,000 troops. Yes there are other factors that influence such numbers but these factors are similar to what the Nigerian nation is presently facing. Likewise there is need to upgrade the Nigerian Police and give it some of the responsibilities that we have always entrusted to the army, this will give the police the much needed experience to combat domestic incidences of crime, banditry and terrorism while calling on special units of the armed forces to assist it. I will be doing this piece a disservice if I do not mention the twin issues of welfare and training. We would be joking if we fail to address such issues and yet expect the best from these men and women.
There is also the need to “follow the money” and reach deep into the financing of such groups. This yet again is a clear cut task of the intelligence agencies, who by trailing the movement of such funds can help undermine and deter a number of these attacks .
There is also the need to restructure such architecture by ensuring the creation of regional, state and local government police units that will seek to tackle crime. This will simply mean removing the Nigerian Police from the Exclusive List to the concurrent list .
Asides from adequately increasing the number of police officers per citizen, the combination of these various police units will not only localize policing by ensuring that locals who reside in an area and have a know how about such an area would help participate in the policing of such an area. Asides such the removal of policing from the Exclusive List would reduce the immense responsibilities saddled on the centre and allow the regions, states and communities to determine how best to secure their areas.