Five recipes as panacea to the insecurity crises crippling the country -By Haruna Sanusi Lafiagi


The insecurity situation in the country is alarming. Almost everyday, dozens of people get either killed or kidnapped in their homes, worship centres, farms  and on the road. Our problem, first, is local, and only local solutions can bring feasible and viable end to them. Here, I offer five recipes as panacea to the insecurity crises crippling the country.


1. Strengthen Community Associations: Community Associations operate in almost all local and urban societies. As new members arrive in the community either as landlords or tenants, they must be mandated to register with the association and attend monthly meetings. The association must have a constitution adopted by foundation members and reviewed periodically to accommodate new realities. It must also be registered with the CAC and have a lawyer in case of litigation.
About 5 years ago while serving as secretary of Ile-Oju community association in Olohunsogo, we have all of these. Text messages are usually sent twice in a month to all members, reminding them of the end of the month meeting, and on the day of meeting, the chairman, Prince Adeniyi Adedoja, and a few excos would go round as early as 7am to invite members to the meeting. 
New members, upon arrival are to pay certain dues, such as developmental and electricity connection dues. We had situations whereby members owing some dues had their electricity disconnected due to their reluctance to pay, despite several appeals. Before I left the community, we got transformers, repaired roads and even made drainage for easy flow of water. We equally prevented unnecessary encroachment on lands and reported undeveloped lands which provided safe havens for criminals.
Through our monthly dues and other donations, we employed and armed security guards from registered private companies to provide protection to our lives and properties. At some point, we were forced to hire security men for daylight patrol, when burglars started burgling houses during the day when most members were at work.
In fact, there was a time members volunteered to join the security guards at night for more efficient patrol and checks. Iron bars were installed at the two major entry points into yh community and were locked at exactly 7pm daily. Only cars were allowed in afterwards. “Bola Bola” guys were banned from the community after it was discovered that some of them were burglars in disguise.
What government at the local level must do is to collaborate with those associations and strengthen them with necessary acts of the laws to enable them protect their environments and rid them of criminality. Regular meetings between government and excos of those associations must be given priority. If necessary, create a unit, ministry or department to supervise such engagements and activities. 
Politics, as they say, is local. So also is security!

2. Revive Traditional Institutions: The advent of Colonialism no doubt crippled the traditional institutions and took away their much feared powers. Truth be told, many traditional leaders abused their positions and oppressed the people. From forced ‘isakole’ to ‘gbesele-ing’ people’s wives, taking over their lands, to punishing people unjustly, including passing death sentences on them, the brutality and terror of many ancient rulers can better be imagined. However, with the creation of Native and Provincial Authorities, power was gradually taken from the traditional rulers. Today, a local government chairman can discipline a first-class ruler, including suspending and recommending him for dethronement. 
Usually, traditional positions are for life, unlike democratic positions. What this means is that people are more likely to be closer and familiar with traditional titleholders than they are with the political establishments. Back in the days, people fear summons by traditional leaders and would shit in their pants upon seeing a dogari appear in front of their doors. They had the final say and no one dare disrespect them.
Nowadays, politicians have desecrated those institutions through unnecessary interference and inducements for political purposes. 
Government should review the laws on the powers and limitations of traditional rulers so as to make them more relevant among the locals and help strengthen security. Unfortunately, in Zamfara state, we’ve seen reports of Emirs who collaborate with bandits to destabilise their own communities.

3. Deploy Technology: The cost of insecurity on lives and properties is huge and unimaginable. Sadly, while properties can be replaced, lives cannot  What government needs to spend to prevent these incessant attacks is little, compared to the huge amount spent on curing them. Thus, deployment of CCTV cameras and drones, especially to red zones is necessary. 

4. Employ, Retrain and Equip Security Agents: There’s no doubt that we are seriously under-policed. For instance, in my hometown of Lafiagi, there’s only ONE police station with less than 50 policemen providing security to to over 50,000 souls. Thus, there’s an urgent need to recruit more youth into the police force, preferably from their immediate community. The practice of deploying officers to states and communities other than their own is one of the reasons why the force is fantastically corrupt, and which also puts their lives at risk. Let each policeman be posted to his own local community where’s he’s known and he also knows the terrain.
In addition, adequate funds must be made available for retraining and equipping the security agents to ensure that they are well prepared to face enemies of state. From poor uniforms to bad vehicles to outdated rifles, our security forces are grossly underfunded to combat the challenges of insecurity.

5. Swift Sentencing and Public Execution of Convicted Felons: Back in the 80s, we witnessed several cases of public execution of Convicted criminals. This, no doubt sends a signal to would-be criminals of what awaits them. And while it may not eradicate criminality, it surely will reduce it greatly. Islām supports public punishment as deterrent to others. Since the return to civil rule in 1999, no Nigerian governor has taken the bold step to sign execution of criminals sentenced to death by the Supreme court. Recently, terrorists and bandits caught in the theatre of war are still being held without trial or execution. This has emboldened their compatriots to kidnap more innocent citizens as collateral and bargaining tools for their release. 
Public execution of criminals after accelerated trial will reset and sanitize the society. Until we return to inflicting capital punishments as pronounced by the courts, we are NOT ready for this conversation yet.


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