Nigeria’s Security Challenges: Security Consultant, Umar Aliyu Babangida Speaks

Nigeria faces an array of security challenges across the country and calls have been made by traditional rulers, coalition groups, and religious leaders for the President to take urgent and immediate steps to address the security situation in the country, with many saying that his administration has failed to carry out its primary duty under the Constitution to ensure the security and welfare of Nigerians. President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the country is facing “a state of emergency”. Security Consultant, Umar Aliyu Babangida, joined us to break this down.

The appointment or resumption of a new IG is nothing new. We’ve had persons come and go, what remains to be seen is if the appointment will bring anything new. Our threat genres as many as they come, are getting bolder. They take cues from the government and law enforcement agencies to actually gauge what is possible and what is impossible in our nation’s space. If all traditional rulers had ganged up to make a statement about the abomination in the kidnap of a traditional ruler’s wife about 5 years ago, prospective perpetrators wouldn’t have become bolder and more confident.

We’ve seen Governors, Police stations, prisons being attacked, and the longer it takes us to notch ahead of their boldness, the more expensive and rigorous the act will be when we decide to do so. “A stitch in time saves nine.”

Once upon a time in the North East when Boko Haram wanted to recruit foot soldiers, they started raiding correctional centers, prisons, and Police stations to weaken law enforcement’s reactionary capacity. The released criminals become fugitives who are on the run and the only refuge they have is in the camps of their liberators. They then become foot soldiers who are tactically trained to kidnap and gain finances for these terrorists.

Should Nigeria decalre a State of Emergency in order to check some of these excesses? What exactly will a state of emergency do? What did the state of emergency which gulped so much in the North east achieve? This sterortype approach to insecurity is not working and the results are ground. What next after a state of emergency is declared? A state of emergency is not just a drift! Before it is even declared, it must have a timleine, direction and deliverables. Nothing is more unfair than commiiting forces to a state of emergncy without a brief. It’s like giving someone a blank cheque without assurance of money in the account. We must first have a roadmap. What resources are available to commit to this; human material and financial? We should sit down and plan downward until we get to the bottom of the ladder which is then the state of emergency declaration.

Where we go from here is a function of the leadership. If the leadership is not result-driven, we won’t go anywhere form here. They should set targets, put resources on ground and give timelines. Once you’ve done thta, if the lead is not achieveing your expectations, you change him.


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