Security challenges in Nigeria and the question of amnesty

By Saliu Olanrewaju Lah

To put it succinctly, Security is the protection of lives and property in any given society or circumstances.

The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria section 2 chapter 14 expressly states that the primary responsibility of the government is to provide for the welfare and security of all persons in the geographical entity called Nigeria.

However, the security challenges in Nigeria over the past 20 years have assumed different dimensions ranging from insurgency, herder-farmer clashes, banditry and kidnapping, ethno-religious violence and militancy in the Niger Delta and a host of others.

Insurgency: The insurgency by Boko Haram, a militant group operating primarily in northeastern Nigeria, has been a major security concern. Boko Haram seeks to establish an Islamic state and has carried out numerous attacks, including bombings, kidnappings, and mass abductions.

Herder-Farmer Conflict: Nigeria experiences frequent clashes between herders and farmers, often resulting in violence, loss of lives, and displacement of communities. Competition over resources, including land and water, coupled with ethnic and religious tensions, exacerbates this conflict.

Banditry and Kidnapping: Criminal activities such as banditry and kidnapping have increased in various parts of the country, particularly in the northwest and central regions. Armed groups engage in these activities for financial gain, targeting individuals, communities, and schools.

Ethno-Religious Violence: Nigeria is a diverse country with multiple ethnic and religious groups. Tensions and conflicts arising from these diversities have led to inter-communal clashes and instances of ethnoreligious violence in different regions.

Militancy in the Niger Delta: The Niger Delta region has witnessed militancy related to grievances over resource control, environmental degradation, and socio-economic marginalization. Attacks on oil infrastructure and the kidnapping of oil workers have had significant economic implications for Nigeria.

However, in recent times, the insecurity situation in Nigeria seems to be overwhelming to the security agencies, and some prominent individuals have called for self defence against any forms of attacks on their communities.

This has really called to question the culpability and capacity of the security agencies and in some cases ineptitudeness as far as providing adequate security to all and sundry in Nigeria.

In his recent visit to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the former governor of Zamfara Stste has advocated for amnesty for terrorists in order to have lasting peace in the northwest states.

The former governor of Kaduna State was one of the advocates of granting amnesty to the terrorists, but he backtracked having realized that the route is like perverting the course of justice.

His counterpart, the former governor of Katsina State also struck a deal with the terrorists and had photo hobs with terrorists displaying their AK-47 rifles.

Recall that the late President Umar Yardua in 2007 granted amnesty to the Niger Delta militants when the agitation was at its peak and the oil exploration in that area got to its lowest production level.

The militancy in the Niger Delta is not like the banditry and kidnapping in the Northwest or the insurgency in the Northeast.

The amnesty for the militants in the Niger Delta was economic benefits which saw Nigeria reaching her OPEC production quota. This is a sad reality of the Nigerian security situation where non state actors have to be negotiated with in order for peace to reign.

The call for amnesty for the terrorists is a travesty of justice where the victims of these heinous crimes are being left to their fates. Some families have lost their loved ones and others are in Internally Displaced Persons Camps where there are no adequate food and hygiene.

Some of the community schools have been closed and this has also increased the number of out school children.

Granting or canvassing for amnesty for terrorists is man’s inhumanity to humanity and it’s like oiling the wheels of crime and criminality in society.  It should be totally condemned and should not be repeated in the annals of our political trajectory.

Crime and criminality in any form should be meted with appropriate laws and regulations.

The death toll in Plateau and Benue States over the past few weeks is alarming and the perpetrator of these crimes are still walking free without being brought to book.

I make bold to say that the Nigerian military and other  security agencies have the capacity to rout out all the different types of crimes and criminality in the country if the government provides the right leadership and the will to enable them do their jobs.

Addressing these security challenges requires a comprehensive approach, including effective law enforcement, intelligence gathering, community engagement, socio-economic development, and regional collaboration. The Nigerian government, in partnership with relevant stakeholders, should work towards enhancing security and stability across the country.

Saliu Olanrewaju Lah writes from the ancient city of Ilorin


Ibrahim Sheriff is the Editor of Fresh Insight and former Special Assistant on Media to the Speaker, Kwara state House of Assembly. Although a management science researcher by training, he has over five years experience of practice in Journalism, Public Relations and Communication Strategy. Sheriff holds a Masters Degree in Finance and Bachelors Degree in Banking and Finance from Kwara state University, Malete. He has Certificates in Digital Journalism, Enterprise Creation and Skill Acquisition (ECSA) and Basic Econometrics Data Analysis, as well as Bank of Industry (BoI) Certificate in Business Management. He is also a holder of Diploma in Cooperative Studies from Kwara state Polytechnic, Ilorin.

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