Counter terror war: The citizen’s role
The aim of this reflection is to urge the planners of educational curricula in public and private schools to include the teaching of security studies as an essential component of citizenship and social studies with the overall objective of exposing our younger children about their roles as citizens in the protection of their communities against all threats to their security. This is because security in the twenty-first century is everybody’s business.
In Western Societies, the law requires the citizens to report all suspicious movements to the authorities. But of course, in those climes, the implementation of welfarism and other social safety nets to the citizens is lawfully enforced therefore predisposing the citizens to become active and patriotic citizens.
Secondly, the teaching of security studies in the early educational formative years will give our children the right perspective on why active citizens are expected to play the responsibility of assisting officers of the agencies of government put in place with the legal mandates to secure our lives and property to carry out these functions optimally and professionally.
Section 14(2) (c) of the Nigerian Constitution has legally empowered all citizens to play an active role in the governance of Nigeria thus: “the participation of people in their government shall be ensured in accordance with the provisions of this constitution.”
However, for this holistic role to be effectively played, those exercising governmental authority at all levels must be up and doing with their primary duty of government which in section 14 (2) (b) of the constitution states that: “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.”
As part of the measures to legally compel the relevant government officials charged with the frontline duties of maintenance of national security and to also effectively enforce sanctions in the event that they are unwilling or incapable of discharging these functions because of the essential and prime position they occupy, no stone must be left unturned to put square pegs in square holes and to use the condition precedents of merit and competency and of course the observance of the Federal character principles to appoint persons to head security agencies. It is not enough to designate persons to man security-related positions and then not enforcing compelling legal frameworks to punish dereliction of duties.
This is where the call for the unbundling of the Police Service Commission has become necessary and to bring into being a national but completely independent commission to handle misconducts by law enforcement and security forces.
To whom much is given, so much is expected of such a key player in the security sector of Nigeria.
These are the positions espoused by a top-ranking military General in a well-researched book.
He wrote as follows: ”Good public perception of a Nation’s Armed Forces promotes a sense of nationhood. Moreover, the Armed Forces of any given country are products of the society where they exist hence, while different events both internal and external exist to condition the existence of the armed forces, good public image is vital. Aminu, cited in Osunyikanmi noted that good public image is needed by the Armed Forces in the discharge of their role.”
He continued: “The significance of a nation’s Armed Forces either in war or peacetime is yet to be repudiated by any study. The relevance of the Armed Forces as noted earlier in this book ranges from the protection of a nation’s sovereignty to be a symbol of national pride and unity.”
This, he said, explains why nation’s accord useful attention to the development of the Armed Forces as the quality of these forces is crucial to the life of a nation.
He then stated that Indeed, the military capability of any nation rests on the quality of her Armed Forces.
The quality of the Armed Forces, he posited, is equally determined by a number of factors amongst which are the level of training, degree of cohesion amongst the officer corps, availability or otherwise of the modern instrument of warfare, and ultimately, their level of adherence to their constitutional responsibilities.
This General who can be stated to be amongst the very best that we have produced in Nigeria further stated that: “The Armed Forces of any nation fulfil two essential roles, which are classifiable as internal and external. Their internal roles include suppressing insurrection and acting in aid of civil authorities to restore order when called upon to do so.”
He explained further: “The external functions of the Armed Forces constitute their major role. These include the defence of the nation from external aggression and maintaining the territorial integrity and securing the borders of a nation from violation on land, sea and air. The external role of the Armed Forces is an essential component of a nation’s defence policy, which forms part of the totality of policies aimed at securing national interest.” (Issues in the Mobilisation of Public Support for Military Operations in Nigeria –Major General Chris Olukolade (rtd).
The Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf was right to say that the citizens have a central role to play in achieving holistic national security interests.
The media reports that all shades of insecurity in different parts of the country will end as soon as Nigerians want them to end, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt.-Gen. Yusuf Tukur Buratai said in Abuja on Monday.
Lt.-Gen. Buratai was briefing reporters after a meeting with President Muhmmadu Buhari at the State House.
The COAS, who noted that ongoing military operations in the North and other parts of the country were progressing successfully, also said that the security situation in the North had been brought under control and better than it was a few months ago.
A couple of bloody incidences had been reported in different parts of the country, especially in the North, in the last few days, observes the media.
Replying a question on whether there was a possibility of violent crimes across the country is finally put down, the COAS said the various criminal activities besetting the country would end if Nigerians come together to end them.
According to him, those engaging in the violent and criminal activities were almost all Nigerians, saying “these terrorists, 99 percent of them are Nigerians. These kidnappers I will say 100 percent of them are Nigerians.
“As to whether banditry, terrorism and so on will end, I think it all depends. If Nigerians want it to end today, I can assure you it will end today, if everybody joins hands because these bandits are not outside Nigeria, they are not from a foreign land.
“So, it’s not just a military, security agency task to end the insecurity in this country. It’s only when it goes bad that we are called in, but everybody has the responsibility to handle that.
“Some of the insecurities are as old as history itself and it all depends on what you are doing to contain or defeat it at a particular time. It is the totality of your effort that will determine the escalation or containment of the insecurity in the country.
“There are setbacks that can occur in such military operations or any security operations but that not mean the inability to handle it, incompetence to handle it, as long as the efforts are there and are visible, the support of all and sundry will be required to address it squarely.
“Like I said, if we want it to end, the totality of the people’s effort must be put into it to see that insecurity in the country is reduced to the barest minimum.
“But if we don’t do anything and continue to complain, and continue to accuse the agencies involved in fighting it, then we are not helping matters. You are supposed to find solutions as something is being done on a daily basis.
“I assure you that we will soon reach the end of the tunnel and we will see the light that will improve the security situation in all parts of the country.”
Lt.-Gen. Buratai further said that the Nigerian Army, in connection with other security agencies, was doing everything to ensure that the people in the troubled parts of the north live secured and protected.
He said the army had deployed an adequate number of personnel to the north to secure the area, especially to protect farmers during this year’s planting season.
Lt.-Gen. Buratai said: “The security situation I assure you is under control and is not like what use to happen a month or two ago. We are working very hard and the troops are doing very well and I commend them for the efforts they have put in so far.
These include the kinetic and the non-kinetic aspect of our exercise Sahel Sanity. We are there fully supporting Operation Hadarin Daji, which is a joint operation of the armed offices and the security agencies.
“So far, this collective effort is making tremendous progress in the area of bringing normalcy. Unlike the series of killings, kidnappings, cattle rustling and of course the threats to prevent the people from going to their farms and farm this season, this has been removed with the presence of the number of troops in the northwest and they are carrying out surveillance operations, patrol to ensure that no one is molested if you go outside the community to farm or harvest.
“We will ensure that this is sustained throughout this farming season and beyond. What we require is the full support of everyone in the area.
“It is also important for the press not to escalate the situation through reportage, giving prominence to the bandits, terrorist activities. This will go a long way in weakening them.
“You know for the criminal’s publicity is their oxygen, without that publicity they will be ineffective. Coupled with our efforts in the military and security agencies we will do everything possible to get rid of these criminals.”
The Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai hopefully would have also invested substantially in building up military intelligence. it is also correct to mention here that under his supervision the department of military and civil Dialogues and Relations have become formidable and we’ll be staffed just as the HUMAN RIGHTS Department has also received substantial investments by the current Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai. So he has made a lot of efforts.
* Emmanuel Nnadozie Onwubiko is the Intellectual head of Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA).
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