Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has lamented that the country’s security situation has degenerated to the extent that it can be categorically stated that the government has abandoned, failed, refused or neglected to enforce its primary and constitutional duty of guaranteeing the security of Nigerians and residents in Nigeria
The Centre, in a statement signed on Tuesday by its Lead Director, Eze Onyekpere said it is regrettable that there is recent upsurge of insecurity exemplified by the late December 2023 killings in Plateau State, incessant killings in Katsina State, 45 passengers kidnapped as gunmen attacked transporters along Otukpo-Enugu Road and the ongoing kidnap and murder of innocent Nigerians in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
CSJ lamented that: “In all the foregoing, Nigerians are yet to hear concrete and reassuring words from the president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces or high-level officers of state on the way forward. In FCT, the minister in charge, instead of addressing the challenge seems more interested in continued fueling of a political crisis in his home state, Rivers State.
It recalled that in the last ten years, security has enjoyed the highest allocation in federal budgets to cater for the armada of security agencies maintained at the tax payers expense, adding that: “Budgetary allocations have been proposed and spent on personnel, arms and ammunition, aircrafts and vessels, vehicles, equipment including intelligence gadgets. We are worried at the seeming cluelessness and inability of the security agencies to deploy intelligence to prevent and nip in the bud the insensitive acts of criminal elements who have no regard for human lives. We are further worried that when these crimes have been committed, the security agencies have been unable to investigate, arrest and bring the perpetrators to justice.”
The Centre noted that under Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, GSM SIM card numbers were linked to national identity numbers of Nigerians and the authorities indicated that it would provide a foolproof link and clue to any crimes committed using GSM phones as it will be easy to find the criminals since all identity information is already available with the state, insisting that: “This raises the critical question on why the perpetrators of these high level crimes where GSM phones have been used to make contact are not brought to justice.”
The Centre lamented that: “There have been several mop-up of light arms in the possession of law-abiding citizens and only very few Nigerians have been licensed to carry weapons. Nigerians are made vulnerable because they do not have access to arms to defend themselves and the state that should legally and legitimately defend them has failed in the discharge of this duty.,” stating that: “The critical question is; why take away the arms needed for self-defence if the state is not ready to defend citizens and residents of Nigeria?”
It decried that: “The insecurity is heightened at a time Nigeria has launched a global campaign for foreign investors to come and invest in the country. News of crowdfunding for the purpose of meeting the ransom demands of kidnappers is clearly not the way to attract foreign investors.”
The Centre however made some recommendations, including that the federal government should expeditiously take steps for the amendment of the 1999 Constitution and enactment of new laws for the establishment and activation of State Police; Intelligence should be mainstreamed and prioritized in policing and security work. The activation and routine deployment of the SIM GSM database and inventory for investigations and tracking of criminals is long overdue.
It also recommended for the liberalisation of the processing of gun licenses for responsible law-abiding tax paying citizens for the purpose of self defence; rewarding of hard working and result oriented security and police personnel who diligently discharge their duties and impose sanctions on personnel whose negligence, failure or refusal to act contributes to insecurity and general security lapses, insisting that the financial resources to implement this could come from more prudent management of existing security resources.
The Centre added that Nigerians need to be reassured through concrete security action on the ability of the state to protect lives and property.