Abolishing’ the Culture of Politicising National Security
By Mahmud Abdulsalam
No one is more skillfully adept at aiming a shoot at security issues, especially from a parochial and sensionao lens, than typical Nigerian politicians; ones that perfectly fits the label of ‘ethnic champions’ and ‘religious bigots’
Many of them, even while bereft of the workings of security agencies and the intricacies of their jobs, relish scoring cheap political points, via their ‘sanctimonious’ utterances, and ‘careless’ public statements.
There are Governors, especially those of the opposition parties, who in the past accused the Federal Government of deploying security agencies to perpetrate crime or execute some hatchet jobs in their states, in the guise of quelling insurrection, secessionist protests and other gruesome violence that may have broken out.
Regional security networks launched by Governors of States in the South West and South East emanated as a result of rising tension, and wanton killing of human lives, together with the destruction of properties.
The despicable norm of always politicising every security issue is one of the factors responsible for the country’s woes. It is partly the reason why Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) insurgency, armed banditry, ritual killing, kidnapping for ransom, sea piracy and robbery, among other violent crimes, have defied possible solutions.
Though, military firepower at the moment seems to be the only solution to ending extremism and other violent crimes in the country, the political class must maintain decorum, whenever it becomes necessary for them to issue public statements on security matters. This is pertinent for many obvious reasons.
So as not to endanger national security and scuttle the fight against insecurity in general, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Leo Irabor, have warned Nigerians, particularly members of the political class, to guide against utterances.
He gave the charge, at a security summit organized by the 21st Century Chronicle Media group, recently.
According to Gen. Irabor, members of the political class must join hands with security agencies in their bid to rid the country of all manner of criminal elements, rather than play politics with the hydra-headed menace the challenged has wrecked on the nation and her people in the past few years.
“I would plead that issues that border on national security and defence should not be politicized,” he said.
Speaking on the theme, “Going for broke: Fighting insecurity in Nigeria,” Irabor commended the sacrifice of troops battling insurgency across the country, noting that in the past few years, they have given a lot of themselves in the interest of national stability.
In a veiled reference to the buck passing which has become the lot of the two major political parties in the land, especially in matters of security; Irabor said what is needed is for leaders, irrespective of political affiliation to join hands together with security agencies to restore peace in troubled parts of the country.
Speaking on the theme, “Going for broke: Fighting insecurity in Nigeria” Irabor saluted the courage of the troops in the battle against insurgency, lamenting however that a good number of them have paid the supreme prize in the defence of their fatherland.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his leadership role and support for troops, adding that the last few years have witnessed tremendous improvement as military onslaught against Boko Haram has been yielding results.
“The situation has however improved in the last few years but it is not yet Uhuru,” he added.
General Irabor also identified the nation’s porous borders as one of the challenges confronting military operations, noting that a lot of loose weapons used in the Libyan crisis found their way into Nigeria through the routes.
This is even as he blamed slow pace of judicial process in the prosecution of terror suspects arrested during military operations as a challenge militating against the war on terrorism and insurgency.
“Over reliance on foreign input in terms of equipment and platforms and inadequate bilateral commitment from Nigeria’s immediate neighbours like Cameroon, Chad, Niger are also some of the factors that should be addressed,” Irabor said.
On the way forward, the Defence Chief called for intelligence-driven approach coupled with the need to enhance the delivering capacity of the men and officers of the Nigerian Police Force and other security agencies.
This, he said, would lessen the burden on the military, as he revealed that 80 per cent of troops are currently in one operation or the other in different parts of the country.
Irabor also urged the leadership to place more emphasis on building and strengthening military industrial complex in the country, even if the facility is going to be private sector driven.
To boost manpower capacity, Irabor revealed that a good number of armed vigilance group, code-named “civilian JTF” were being trained and absorbed into the Nigerian Army under strict supervision.
A former Defence spokesman, Brig-General Chris Olukolade (retd) who also spoke at the event observed that inter agency rivalry among security agencies have not helped matters, noting that synergy must be the watchword at all times.
Olukolade warned conflict merchants to put the nation first and realize that crimes is a vice that must be dealt with in the interest of the people.
A former Governor of Borno state and Kashim Shettima who chaired the event, blamed rivalry among the immediate past Service Chiefs as one of the problems that slowed down military operations in the past, adding that under Irabor, the Service Chiefs have closed ranks and pledged loyalty to the CDS “who is their head.”
In attendance were Kebbi state governor, Atiku Bagudu; Emir of Suleja, Alhaji Anwal Ibrahim among others.
Mahmud Abdulsalam is an Assistant Editor with PRNigeria
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