The spate of killings, banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery and other forms of criminal activities which are threatening our safety and security is becoming very alarming and calls for concern by every well-meaning Nigerian and patriotic citizens to wake up and contribute to the fight against insecurity in the country cannot be overlooked.
I remember growing up in the city of Minna some decades back, security matters was everyone’s business as we knew every member of our community and we were all like a family and could easily identify when a strange face or characters that are unfamiliar to us; but today it seems that the community has totally disengaged and disintegrated from the policing mechanism by the various security forces.
If you are over 30 to 40 years and grew up in Minna, the name “Maigashinbaki’ will ring a loud bell in your ears and bring some memories of how security matters were dealt with just at the mention of this name.
This man Maigashinbaki was highly respected and dreaded CID personnel who worked closely with the various community leaders and people to combat crimes and its related activities in the City. He did his work with a very high level of intelligence and was never seen dressed as a Policeman or officer.
During his days, before a crime is committed, it will be nipped in the bud; as many of the people living in the community saw security matter as everyone’s work and not just for the police, armed forces or other paramilitary agencies. Of course, over the last 3 decades, there have been great cultural integration, migration and immigration and many socio-economic development and growth which has led to great changes in the community spirit; but there seem to be little changes or improvement in the policing mechanism and issues of security.
Just last week, the Chief of Army Staff hinted that due to the ongoing Military bombardment on the bandit and other criminals in Zamfara State, these people have migrated to neighbouring states like Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Niger and other Northern States; this is a call to proactive measures by states governments and the Federal Government to quickly put in place strategic measures to quickly arrest the rate of insecurity bedevilling the country especially the Northern part of the country at the moment.
The State Government need ms to be on the watch and be ahead of these bandits and quickly put in place mechanisms and security apparatus that will checkmate criminal activities before it becomes a hard bone to crack.
First of all, the Federal and State Governments need to summon a National Community Security Meeting (NCSM) that will involve all traditional rulers, religious leaders, community leaders, various youth leaders to discuss the incessant insecurity challenges facing the country. At this meeting, the various Security Agencies will collaborate with these community leaders to map out strategies to gather intelligence in their communities for the security agencies and have regular interface for rapid response to possible security threats.
Secondly, Local Governments need to be made more vibrant to take up commute policing programs that are more intelligence based and not physical and aggressiveness.
Their work is to identify all the flashpoints, possible crime-prone areas and activity, and any strange and unfamiliar activity that pose a threat to their community. Security matters should be community driven and more of intelligence gathering.
On the other hand, more drastic measures need to be taken against drug peddlers and dealers in our communities. The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) will need to do more and be more proactive and effective in their duties to crack down on all drug dealers and weed out same from our communities.
Most of the insecurity matters are carried out under the influence of drugs and if the agencies in charge to clamp down these guys do more; it will reduce the level of crime to a larger extent.
Furthermore, a special fast track court should be put in place by the Federal Government to quickly prosecute or punish offenders in good time; as the slow pace of the judiciary process and system is affecting the war against the fight against insecurity in the country.
More importantly, the Federal Government should be ready to spend money on our security agencies; as they need training on modern trend in combatting insecurity, insurgency and the use of technology in gathering intelligence. This will equip the security agencies adequately to be on top of their game.
These bandits use very sophisticated technological mechanisms to carry out their evil act and as such must be met with top-level technological apparatus.
The Security Agencies, on the other hand, should make effort to build and develop public trust, is currently the public trust level has dropped drastically and this tends to affect the operations of the agencies thereby making the war against insecurity very difficult to win.
Our State Government should make sure all motorcycles; Tricycles are registered with serial numbers and under an umbrella body or Union; where every rider or driver’s data will be kept for the purpose of intelligence gathering. This data should be given to the various Security Agencies for their security investigations when the need arises.
Lastly, the office of the Mai Anguwa should be made more significant and effective; in order for them to identify and report any form of strange activity that can breach security and the peace of its community men and women; they will also be able to inform the Security agencies of any planned criminal activity as they are closer to the people and also informed of any unfamiliar activities in their communities.
Special funding should be given to the Local government for security purposes; in order to help the State and Federal Government to win the war against insecurity currently facing our country.
Let us all take up this fight as our collective responsibility and not leave it solely to the Government, the fight can only be won through community involvement and every member living in a community must be involved in this national call. Together we can win this fight, we should rise up to the challenge and be our brother’s keeper; like the saying goes “if you see something say something” let us work together to build a safer Niger State and Nigeria for all of us and the future generations.
May I use this medium to wish all Moslem brothers and sisters a Happy Ramadan Period and may we use this time to also pray for the peace, unity and development of our state and our country.
May the blessings that come with the Season fill our homes. Amin!
***Mohammed Nma Kolo, writes from Niger State