Security experts from across Nigeria met recently in Birnin Kebbi to x-ray the security challenges in the country and to proffer solutions on how to tackle the menace.President Muhammadu Buhari
Nigeria’s security outfits had been tackling the challenges ranging from Boko Haram insurgency to cattle rustling, kidnapping, banditry, communal clashes, among others.
In their 2019 Fourth Bi-monthly Federal and States’ Security Administrators’ Meeting, the stakeholders stressed the need to deal decisively with issues such as fake news, hate speeches and border security that pose serious threat to national security.
The experts emphasised the need to critically examine the menace and evolve effective ways of checking them.
They noted that the North-West which was one of the most peaceful zones of the country, in the last few years, witnessed attacks by bandits, which resulted to loss of many lives and destruction of property worth billions of naira.
They, however, called on governments at all levels to ensure functional security committees that would handle security-related matters in their respective areas of jurisdiction.
The stakeholders were drawn from the Police. Civil Defence, Immigration, EFCC, FRSC, NDLEA and DSS, among others.
Dr Amina Shamaka, the Permanent Secretary, Special Services Office, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, decried the prevalence of fake news and hate speeches.
She described the trend as a worrisome development, due to its negative implication on national security.
She said the emergence of social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, made it easy for mischief-makers and disgruntled elements to propagate negative and anti-government sentiments for selfish motives.
“While the government is not unmindful of the fundamental human rights of the citizens as enshrined in the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, as amended; acts and behaviours inimical to national security should not be condoned.
“Countries like Finland, Germany, Malaysia, France, Russia and recently Singapore, have passed legislation against the menace, in order to stem the rising tide of fake news and hate speeches.
” The issues of national security take precedence over any other consideration since a nation must first be at peace in order to guarantee fundamental human rights,” she said.
She noted that the North-West zone of the country had generally been one of the most peaceful zones of the country.
She said that in the last few years, the zone had witnessed attacks by bandits, adding that the development had remained a source of concern to the government.
“From January to July 2019, about 330 attacks were recorded, resulting in the death of about 1,460 civilians.Also read: S/W governors bought 120 patrol vans to check banditry, kidnapping ” DAWN
“However, between June and July 2019, the number of incidents declined, especially in Zamfara, that had been the epicentre of banditry, ” she said.
Shamaka also attributed the decline to the measures put in place by the government.
“The dialogue initiated by the current Zamfara governor, Alhaji Bello Matawalle, in particular, and other governors in the zone are worthy of commendation and should be adopted by states with similar security challenges.
“Application of the carrot and stick approach is an effective strategy that enables criminals willing to embrace peace to do so, while non-repentant ones should be identified and isolated for appropriate action by the security agencies,” she said.
Governor of Kebbi, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, who spoke, noted that the recurring security challenges in the country arose mostly from escalating divisions along `fault lines.’
He, therefore, called on the administrators to learn more from the uniqueness and diversity of Kebbi during their meeting, in order to come up with pragmatic resolutions for improved security in the country.
“Kebbi is very unique, with ethnic and religious diversity, but living together peacefully as one family.
“Our state has four emirates, each of the emirates has different ethnic groups living in peace, tolerance, and mutual respect.
“Our state also has borders with Benin and Niger Republics, and relates with people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds in that country, but still we are adjudged the most peaceful state in the country.
“I want you to learn from these unique features that we have and use them to come up with viable security solution to our dear country,” he said.
The administrators, in a communiqué issued after the meeting, enjoined the National Communication Commission (NCC) to take decisive action against service providers that still sell unregistered SIM cards in order to curb the rising wave of kidnapping and other criminalities in the country.
The communiqué stated inter alia:
“The Federal Ministry of Information and Culture should continue to engage the media on proper reportage of security issues.
” The Minister of Police Affairs should integrate Neighborhood Watch and Vigilantes for drugs and cultism in the implementation of community policing policy.
“That all the state governments should establish a Joint Communication Centre for all security agencies and also acquire trackers to monitor the activities of criminals.”
“The inmates in prisons should be profiled within a timeframe of six months from August 2019.”
The participants suggested that the federal and state governments should consider making kidnapping a capital offence in order to curb the menace.
They also urged the Federal Ministry of Justice to fast-track the prosecution of kidnap suspects to deter would-be offenders and ensure justice for victims.(NANFeatures)