TACKLING NIGERIA'S SECURITY CHALLENGES
I have reached the conclusion that no man is an island. God has so ordained it that we will and we must support each other at all times. How that is put into effect is our responsibility. Let me assure you that it will be costly and will take quite a bit of sacrifice. If we are to build a stable and permanent structure where peace will reign, then co-existence is non-negotiable.
As the first bombing of Nigeria by Nigerians on the first of October 2010 turns one year, MEND reissued another warning of attack on Abuja but that did not happen.
The significance of the act of war by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) on Nigeria is simply based on what they describe as punishment for a country failing to provide for its citizens. Whatever the position is for the bloodletting is now immaterial as the security issue keeps growing from bad to worse.
Whether or not the threat was carried out is not important anymore. The singular experience since independence of our great country 51, years ago, and since the end of the Nigerian/Biafran civil war 41 years ago, that saw our dear country not celebrating independence leaves a scar that can hardly be mended and a downturn on our image globally as a nation prone to violence.
It is important to note that those behind the series of terrorist attacks are highly sophisticated and are set to beat the manually organised roadblock of soldiers ordered by the federal government to keep vigil on the highways even with blindfolds. While I commend the devotion of these security operatives, I feel Nigeria security challenge goes beyond stop and search. With the trend of today's globalised world, my take is that technologies be engaged in the fight against terrorism.
Having spent several hours in traffic jam waiting to be sniffed at by some of these operatives who most times are not only unruly but nasty. I feel sometimes that they tend to forget their primary assignment as they turn out to be lords of the highways while loads of fully armed bombs pass through their flanks unnoticed. Security issues in Nigeria shouldn't be handled based on dead reckoning because when the soldiers erroneously give a nod to a car based on notion that it is safe, one cannot tell if that same car is carrying explosives or not.
It is just like waving a person clear of the HIV disease based on physical appearance. Such conclusion could be fatal since the virus may be in there eating the person through and through. The next danger security operatives and the leadership of our dear nation should have in mind is that having hundreds of vehicles in a place leaves commuters at the mercy of terrorists. Thank God that those detonating bombs do not have personal grudge with 'ordinary' Nigerians maybe the thousand roadblocks dotted across the country would have been dismantled.
Aside the embarrassment and physical assault on innocent Nigerians, the tactics of mounting roadblocks have proven to be ineffective and a mere waste of valuable time for road users who are forced to wait in endless queues for several hours. Apparently while commuters and security operatives huff and puff in the scorching heat, those carrying explosives smile past unnoticed and possibly unperturbed since they are sure of the advantage of stealth. It is important that government should go beyond its present antibomb technique since technology of making bombs go beyond metal components. Advanced terrorism offers chemical combinations that can produce disastrous detonations like any traditional bomb.
President Goodluck Jonathan has been generously bequeathed a nation saturated with the clouds of disconnect, marginalisation, diversity, ethno-religious upheaval. It would definitely be unfair to shower him with highly exalted titles of a leader spearheading a failed nation. He is simply an unfortunate next kin with multiple debts to pay for over fifty years of family problem. While I do not intend to shield him completely from the internally generated attacks which the country has suffered from since independence in 1960, I would put before him some variables which should have been addressed to stem the ugly tide.
The president must ensure that all he thinks of revolves around measures to combat security issues in the country. He should, however continue on the path of dialogue while mounting heavy Information and Communication Technologies in fending off attacks. Before MEND issued out the warning of an impending attack, they must have perfected their moves. Am certain they have circumvented the watchful eyes of security operatives, all what they are waiting for is the right time to release hell into the midst of humanity. It is my desire that Nigeria acquires state of the arts technologies to check the traffic of explosive towards putting an end to the national embarrassment.
The mounting of the CCTV cameras in the federal capital territory is no doubt a right step in the right direction but the job should be done fast to meet up with the demand. The cameras should be made functional to study the moves of those the country is suffering constant attacks from.
I must, however, be quick to stress that the cameras may only show glimpse of actions which would scarcely be foiled. At this point, therefore, Nigerian government must work towards preventive medication to the ailing security need of Nigeria.
I therefore call for security overhaul of the entire country.
Ebije writes from Minna