It’s sad to observe that the main social issue dominating contemporary discourse in today’s Nigeria is the question of insecurity and wanton criminality. In effect, every facet of our national life have been affected as lives are being lost on a daily basis, population depleted, businesses in comatose, investments are nose-diving, multinationals closing shops and vacating the country, unemployment soaring and the populace living in fear.
Today, most Nigerians now sleep ‘with one eye opened’, as society is becoming more prone to all manner of criminal activities. The speed and frequency with which these undesirable elements freely go about terrorizing people unmolested are both alarming and scary. The incessant reports of kidnapping, herders-farmers clashes, Boko-Haram, and insurgency with armed robbery attacks in various parts of the country are not only worrisome but rampant, particularly that security agencies should view the development as a challenge and instantaneously rise to the occasion. A bewildered citizenry no longer knows where to turn, as all seem to be living under the culture of fear and haplessness.
For instance, in many areas of the country, kidnapping gangs have made such areas their safe haven. No one is spared in this new wave of crime and criminality that sadly has seems to have supplanted armed robbery and other crimes. And the challenge this poses to the Nigerian state is better imagined against existing evidence that even government officials, politicians, and traditional rulers are not spared. This has led to some relocating their families outside their respective geo-political zones or even abroad.
Disappointingly, in spite of the repeated promises by the government to fight insecurity, Nigeria is still bogged down by the scourge. And despite our security agents daily battling with this increasing nuisance, the problems continue unabated across the country. It is largely this reason why nothing seems to be working and why most Nigerians are unhappy with events in the country.
These challenges could even worsen if urgent measures are not taken to address this unsavoury situation.
According to a 2014 global report on security, Nigeria is said to be one of the crime ravaging countries in the world. The crime reports rated Nigeria high on the following critical variables-unlawful possession of arms, forgery, receiving stolen properties, false pretences, burglary, theft, Boko-Baram, armed robbery, kidnapping, attempting murder, assault, raping, slave dealing, suicide, murder, manslaughter among other heinous crimes.
This insecurity question, no doubt challenges Nigeria’s efforts, not only toward a truly genuine national development, but it disrupts the development of societies and nations, which frontally shows the inherent connection between insecurity and underdevelopment which is stronger than that between peace and development. These apparent challenges constitute a great threat to security and national development, with attendant effect on life and property, as well as being a hindrance to meaningful development, which will frighten domestic and foreign investors. Regrettably, what this trend imprint on the psyche of Nigerians is that the government security apparatus is incapable of guaranteeing the safety and security of its people, which will impact the human security of the people as well as limiting the people‘s ability to develop economically and the state capacity to attract investors will also be limited.
It is against this backdrop that it has become imperative that government should take both preventive and curative measures such as employment creation and provision of adequate budgeting for security in order to minimize the rate of insecurity that impede foreign direct investment, economic growth and development.
The overall performance of the various security agencies on this vexatious issue has been annoyingly unsatisfactory, regardless of the subventions made available for proper policing of the society, as well as contributions from government and non-governmental organizations, particularly the corporate entities.
With security being at the forefront of Nigeria’s problems, an efficient security agency should be equipped with not only necessary communication gadgets and vehicles to accomplish its task, but its intelligence-gathering machinery should also be strengthened to make it more efficient in the attempt to fight crime and criminality in the country.
But at the back of this incessant crime and criminality is the lack of good governance which seems to be fuelling most of these anti-social behaviours in the society, coupled with mass poverty and the increasing sense of hopelessness caused by chronic unemployment. Whilst not excusing this anti-social acts, the government must address its root causes. The majority of Nigerians are youths, who range from the uneducated, to the semi-skilled and to the highly skilled. Most Nigerians want to work, but there is no work, a situation that compels some of them to get involved in shoddy deals, while some others, regrettably, takes to crime and other forms of criminality.
We, therefore, urged religious bodies to continue the preaching of moral regeneration, while parents should steer their wards away from waywardness. In the same way, traditional rulers and other opinion leaders should join in the crusade to guaranteeing a culture of peace in the society. What this portends is that all and sundry be encouraged to assist in fighting insecurity by willingly providing information that could lead to criminals being apprehended and brought to justice. In order to avoid going further the ruinous route, Nigeria must resolve to put its house in order, through a genuinely functioning government. We cannot have good governance if the governed live in fear of their lives.