Security Agencies and Others Responsible For Insecurity in Nigeria
Insecurity in Nigeria is not a new phenomenon; it dates back to times when communities struggled for possession and ownership of lands. The country has traversed a challenging path, evolving from those tumultuous times into what we now recognize as Nigeria today. With an organized governing structure, security agencies, independence, and foreign relations in place, Nigeria has made strides, but it is currently hampered by the recent surge in insecurity. The root cause of this surge can be traced to factors such as poverty, politics, religion, and, significantly, issues within the security agencies.
This article serves as a comprehensive investigation and compendium of the sources of insecurity in Nigeria, with a specific focus on the role of security agencies as the primary contributors to insurgency in the country.
Insecurity in Nigeria
Insecurity is the condition of being vulnerable to various forms of peril, whether physical, economic, or other threats. In Nigeria, the normalization of insecurity is intertwined with a myriad of illicit activities. Illegitimate practices have become so pervasive that insecurity is now considered a norm in the country. This encompasses theft, creating an environment where Nigerians can no longer navigate cities and villages freely without the constant fear of becoming victims of thieves. The incidence of armed robbery has surged, with these robberies targeting markets, banks, highways, Churches, and even university campuses to mention a few.
Moreover, kidnapping has become a daily occurrence in Nigeria, with individuals frequently going missing at the hands of kidnappers, often driven by motives such as money rituals. In these distressing incidents, victims are sometimes subjected to maiming, rape, or even loss of life. Additionally, religious conflicts further exacerbate insecurity, with silent wars persisting between Christians and Muslims in the country.
Thuggery is typically orchestrated by the political class, who exploit vulnerable and unemployed youth to advance their self-serving objectives. These thugs are employed for election rigging, violence, the murder of political opponents, and assaults on peaceful protesters. This is glaringly demonstrated in a series of attacks on members of the Nigerian Labour Congress, exemplified by a recent incident in Imo State. Additionally, instances of thuggery were prominently visible during the EndSARS protest, where armed bandits were identified in SUVs owned by Nigerian politicians.
The escalating menace of banditry, which has gradually seized full control of certain local government areas in Nigeria, poses a profound concern for the government. The surge in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps further underscores the pervasive impact of banditry in the. country.
Poverty stands as a pervasive challenge, serving as the foundational trigger for insecurity in Nigeria. Those unable to meet their basic needs often resort to criminal activities, consequently exacerbating the overall insecurity in the country. At the heart of this issue lies the alarming rate of unemployment, further perpetuating the cycle of poverty and its associated consequences.
The notion that politics is a dirty game is a common refrain in Nigerian political discourse, where it is often seen as a high-stakes, do-or-die affair fraught with uncertainties and, in extreme cases, loss of life. Opponents, driven by intense rivalry, sometimes resort to egregious acts such as murder, political violence, election material snatching, rigging, election thuggery, and the pursuit of self-serving interests. Redefining the political landscape is imperative to move away from these negative perceptions and foster a more constructive and inclusive political environment.
Religious conflicts have emerged as a significant impediment to Nigeria’s development, acting as a major catalyst for insecurity. The persistent religious crises between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria have fueled a cycle of violence, with churches and mosques frequently becoming the unfortunate theatres of conflict.
The prevailing weakness in government institutions has allowed corruption to persist unchecked, diverting funds earmarked for critical initiatives such as job creation and security into the private coffers of various political officeholders. Notably, figures like Emefiele and Bawa from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are currently facing criminal allegations related to the misappropriation of funds. These instances exemplify the systemic challenges that contribute to the broader issue of insecurity in Nigeria, highlighting the urgent need for institutional reform to bolster transparency, accountability, and overall governance.
Role of Security Agencies in Insecurity
The security and welfare of the people are the primary responsibilities of the government. This is exemplified through various organs and governmental agencies working tirelessly to ensure the safety and security of the Nigerian people. However, a concerning development has emerged, as certain officers, entrusted with the duty of ensuring the safety of Nigerians, have regrettably become a primary source of insecurity.
on the 9th of October 2023, Justice Ibironke Harrison of a Lagos High Court sentenced police officer Darambi Vandi to death by hanging for the murder of Lagos-based lawyer Mrs. Omobolanle Raheem on Christmas Day 2022.
On the 7th of September, a violent protest erupted in the Federal Capital Territory, sparked by the alleged killing of a fashion designer by Department of State Services (DSS) personnel who reportedly fired shots indiscriminately.
On August 5th, 2023, the Rivers State Police Command arrested an officer from the Police Mobile Force, 43 Squadron, Gombe State, in connection with the killing of Olafuro Peterside at a bar in Elekahia, Port Harcourt. According to a report by Amnesty International, on the 5th of August 2021, not fewer than 115 people have been extrajudicially killed by the security forces in four months.
Apart from murder Some Nigerian security agencies also rape citizens there are supposed to protect In Enugu, researchers from Human Rights Watch conducted interviews with two young women who had experienced gang rape perpetrated by three police officers, one of whom held the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP). Both victims were secondary school students, aged seventeen and eighteen when the incident occurred. On September 27, 2004, at approximately 6:00 p.m., as the girls were walking home, they were accosted by two men in a car who demanded they enter the vehicle. Upon refusal, the men, who revealed themselves as police officers through their identity cards, resorted to threats of flogging with a horsewhip.
In a report made by Sahara Reporters on the 27th of July 2022, a police officer, serving in the State Intelligence Bureau of the Nigeria Police Force in Nasarawa State, is accused of raping and impregnating his 15-year-old niece, who was residing with him. The revelation came to light during a press briefing in Lafia, the state capital, by Mrs. Rabiatu Addra, the State Chairman of the International Federation of Women Lawyers. The incident was reported by a whistleblower, and it involved an inspector within the Nigerian Police Force.
in an interview by TVC, a 21-Year-Old Lady Narrates How She Was Allegedly Raped by the police officer who promised her a job. in a report made by Sahara reporters, alleging How Nigerian Soldiers Routinely Raped, Tortured Us In Abuja Barracks. this is to mention a few.
More disturbing is the sale of ammunition by security personnel to armed bandits and robbers, fueling the embers of insecurity in the country.
Cable on the 11th of October 2022, a Soldier was arrested for selling ammunition to armed bandits in Borno. In a report published by Premium Times on March 5, 2021, it was revealed that a Nigerian soldier had been arrested for supplying ammunition and uniforms to bandits in Zamfara State. The army apprehends three soldiers for their involvement in selling missing ammunition to bandits.
this and many more are instances where security officers violate the law and contribute to the insecurity of the country.
Our recommendations are as follows: first, the state institutions need strengthening to effectively check and impose punitive sanctions on those who violate the law. Additionally, there is a critical need for the augmentation of salaries and funding for security operatives. The low pay of officers often compels them to engage in criminal activities, contributing to the prevailing insecurity.
Furthermore, politicians must steer clear of thuggery and political violence, recognizing the potential harm to the Nigerian people. Religious institutions, both churches and mosques, should actively promote religious tolerance instead of contributing to divisions on religious grounds. The National Orientation Agency should diligently carry out its responsibilities, especially in educating the younger generation about the importance of national unity and obedience to the law. It is crucial to remind them of the positive outcomes stemming from national unity and adherence to law and order.