Nigerian Military: Between Enhancing Security and Penalizing Misconducts
By MUKHTAR Ya’u Madobi
The primary mandate of every government is to ensure the safety of lives and properties of her citizens. Therefore, establishment of various security agencies in order to provide both internal and external security can never be over-emphasized.
The protection of any territorial integrity against activities of non-state actors is one of the core national interest of any nation. The Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) including the Army, Navy and the Air Force are famously recognized for undertaking this important constitutional role in Nigeria.
Since its inception, the Nigerian military have continued to perform excellently in consolidating security across the borders. Not only that, they eventually complement the efforts of police and other security agencies in maintaining the internal security of the nation.
For example, the Nigeria Military is currently conducting operations across more than 30 states in the country. This is due to the unprecedented security challenges which the country has been battling with for many years.
In spite of performing their functions, the Nigerian Military has however been accused of wrongdoings on an occasional basis centered mainly around human rights abuse and other misconducts.
In recent years, there has been an alarming increase in the number of military personnel involved in criminal activities across Nigeria. Pundits argued that this is attributed to a number of factors, including corruption, lack of discipline and accountability within the military, and inadequate training and resources.
Corruption is a major factor contributing to the involvement of military personnel in criminal activities. In many cases, military personnel have been found to be taking bribes from criminals in exchange for protection or assistance with their illegal activities. This has led to an increase in the number of crimes committed by members of the military.
For example, in the oil-rich region of Niger Delta, Nigerian Navy personnel have been accused on several occasions to have collude with militants and other miscreants thereby engaging in oil theft, the effects which seriously continue to impact negatively on the nation’s GDP as Nigeria could not produce the required quantity crude oil barrels allotted to it by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Lack of discipline and accountability within the military is another factor that has contributed to the involvement of military personnel in criminal activities. Many soldiers have been found to be engaging in activities that are not authorized by their superiors or that are against regulations. This lack of discipline can lead to soldiers taking part in criminal activities without fear of repercussions.
Inadequate training and resources are also a contributing factor to the involvement of military personnel in criminal activities. Many soldiers lack proper training on how to handle situations involving criminals or how to respond appropriately when faced with a crime scene. Additionally, many soldiers do not have access to adequate resources such as weapons or protective gear which can make them more vulnerable when dealing with criminals.
In addition, poverty is another factor that has contributed to the involvement of military personnel in criminal activities across Nigeria. Many soldiers come from impoverished backgrounds and may be tempted by offers from criminals for money or other rewards if they assist them with their illegal activities.
Lately, authorities of the Nigerian military have expressed their worry over the involvement of some of their personnel in violent crimes in recent times. PRNigeria gathered that the military hierarchy is contemplating a drastic action to deter officers and men, whose ‘unprofessional’ conducts are smearing the image of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
This development was coming after a report that a soldier was caught in an alleged robbery operation at PHDL phase one Estate in Kurudu, a suburb of the FCT in Abuja recently. In the same vein, another Air Force personnel too was also apprehended by some soldiers at PHDL Phase 5 Estate, Kurudu, while assisting two civilians to kidnap a resident of the estate.
These unfortunate incidents demonstrate how some bad elements in the Nigerian military have used their positions for personal gain rather than serving their country’s interests. This has had a damaging effect on Nigeria’s reputation both domestically and internationally, as well as undermining public trust in the military institution itself. It is therefore essential that steps are taken to ensure that such activities are not repeated in future by members of the armed forces.
Overall, there are a number of factors that have contributed to the recent involvement of military personnel in criminal activities across Nigeria. It is important for authorities to take steps towards addressing these issues so as to reduce the prevalence of such crimes and ensure that members of the armed forces remain accountable for their actions.
One way this could be achieved is through greater transparency within the military institution itself. This could include increased oversight over procurement processes and financial transactions, as well as greater accountability for those found guilty of wrongdoing or corruption within its ranks. Additionally, there should be greater emphasis placed on training personnel on ethical conduct and respect for human rights so that they are better equipped to serve their country with integrity rather than engaging in criminal activities or abusing their power for personal gain.
Meanwhile, it is important that those found guilty are held accountable for their actions so that others are deterred from engaging in similar activities in future. This could include harsher punishments such as imprisonment or dismissal from service depending on severity or frequency of offenses committed by individuals or groups within the armed forces.
In conclusion, it is clear that there have been numerous cases where members of Nigeria’s armed forces have been involved in criminal activities or abused their power for personal gain over recent years. It is therefore essential that steps are taken both internally within the institution itself and externally through legal action against those found guilty so that such behaviour can be prevented from occurring again in future and public trust can be restored in Nigeria’s armed forces once more.
MUKHTAR is the author of a book on “National Security Strategies” and is a staff writer with the Emergency Digest.
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