Nigeria’s Insecurity: Behind The Scenes | Utibe Umoh
Perhaps, lifting more and more people out of extreme poverty and educating more and more minds will reduce their gullibility and ignorance and desire to destroy whatever little infrastructure we collectively own as a nation
Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, as it stands, is perhaps the most unsafe capital city anyone could find himself. The security situation in Nigeria’s premier city has become so dicey that Federal government colleges have had to be closed and a call to barceremony has had to be shifted from the traditional venue to a relatively unknown location which was considered “safer”.
The president himself was issued a threat from these men of the underworld and true to their words, the presidential guard brigade — the nation’s most professional security apparatus, meant for catering to the security needs of the presidency — was attacked and lives of Nigeria’s finest soldiers were lost, speaking volumes of the immense sophistication and unsurpassed resolve of the attackers.
The nation’s already struggling economy is now in ruins because of the ubiquitous insecurity which has made sure that Local and foreign investors cannot move goods and services around, and do not trust the future of any venture while existing investors are waiting to balance their books, count their losses, cash out and discontinue.
And with the naira falling ever so precipitously against the dollar — a testament to the pathetic state of the nation’s domestic production indices — we can be rest assured that it is just a matter of time before the menace consumes us all.
INSECURITY: A PRODUCT OF UNDEFINED FOREIGN POLICIES
I make bold to assert that the insecurity which has plagued us for over a decade is due to an undefined foreign policy. We are scattered and do not demonstrate the much-needed loyalty to alliances.
Let me start by saying if you are a strong ally to Russia, by extension, your allies includes some nations in the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa). You cannot be dealing with Russia and dealing with US and France at the same time. France is a no-no for any African nation and it is widely alleged that France is trying to get a stronghold on the continent as it had lost out. This is also alleged to be responsible for crisis in former colonies and new theatres.
When you have allies, economic, and defense, collaboration are front burners. Nigeria buys from everywhere. Our arms deals is with everyone. DSS assault rifle(Tavor) is from Israel, Jets from US, China and Russia, Oil interest with UK and US are quick examples.
This has made the country a playground for envisaged espionage activities and conflicting Intel from global intelligence community as it will be tilted towards satisfying the interest of the originating country.
We can always expand the scope of this conversation. I simply can’t understand why no one at the Foreign Affairs Ministry or Nigeria Institute of International Affairs pursue this school of thought however unpalatable it may be.
CORRUPTION HAS ALWAYS BEEN OUR ACHILLES HEEL
Personally, I don’t begrudge anyone who says another name for Nigeria is corruption. Nigeria is a corrupt nation, this is the truth and as much as people don’t like the hear the truth, it will be spoken nonetheless. Corruption runs in the veins of most Nigerians and everybody is just waiting for an opportunity to “collect their own share” Nigeria, according to Oby Ezekwesili has allegedly lost $400bn oil revenue to corruption since Independence. She didn’t reveal how she got that figure, which I personally consider unreal. However, we can be somewhat sure about what the greatest looter in Nigeria’s history, Sani Abacha plundered. The former leader is estimated to have stolen the equivalent of 2 – 3 per cent of the country’s GDP for every year that he was President. Experts estimate his loot to be around $4.3billion, and they agree it can’t be more than $7 billion. He was a man whose looting prowess knew no bounds so much so that he’s been listed as the fourth most corrupt leader in history.
Never before has it been heard anywhere that billions of naira meant for the purchase of ammunition was diverted for personal use that was not even remotely related to arms purchase, leaving gallant officers and men of the Nigerian army with no air or ground support to take on heavily armed Boko Haram fighters. This, indeed is the scenario playing out in Nigeria. The unspeakable corruption in the Nigerian army is another, but that in itself is a topic for another day.
BATTLING WITH INSECURITY
Recently, I came across a demoralizing update on the unlucky victims captured during the March 28 Abuja-Kaduna train attack.
On Monday, Daily Trust reported that the terrorists released 7 victims but not without collecting huge ransom. The families of each of the six Nigerian victims paid ₦100 million, while the captors pegged the ransom for a Pakistan national at ₦200 million. That’s ₦800 million. $1.3 million if you use market rates, and $1.9 million if you use the CBN rate.
Only ₦200 million was collected in naira, the remaining ₦600 million was paid in the equivalent of US dollars.
If these guys are making about N1 billion – about $2 million – from one transaction, that means they will easily have N5 billion in their covers.
This is significant funding that will spur the group to carry out more attacks either in support of ideological causes or stage more mass abductions to raise more funds.
This is just a fleeting glimpse into the unbelievable financial potency of these terrorist groups and how much wealth transfer is happening right now.
It invariably begs many questions in my mind: What big assignments are these terrorists stockpiling huge funds for? How are the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) not able to trace these funds and cut off these illegal finance flow chain?
To me, it does seem that the government has given up efforts to get a handle on the situation or is simply at sea on how to go about salvaging the situation. It also seems the people too have given up on their government and adapted to the present reality as a way of life and can’t wait for eight years of economic slump, rising foreign debt and a calamitous increase in kidnapping and banditry — the one thing you might have thought a former general could control — to end.
IS NIGERIA’S INSECURITY STATE SPONSORED?
This indeed is another very probable school of thought shared by many people who I like to call the “insiders”. The insiders believe, and strongly too, that the recent spike in mindless banditry and terrorist attacks all over the nation and even in the capital is all part of a grand plan by the presidency to hide under the cover of “widespread insecurity” to avoid conducting elections next year and continue to hold on to power for who knows how long.
The insiders just can’t comprehend how a high-security prison situated in Abuja of all cities could be successfully attacked, overpowered and set ablaze by terrorists who were on a mission to set their incarcerated brothers free. They just can’t comprehend how the terrorists could come so close to their set goal of capturing the president but for the presidential guards that had to lay down their lives. The believe it is all fake and sponsored and their beliefs are justified.
Lending more credibility to this school of thought, Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi state once mentioned that “90% of Nigeria’s insecurity is political”. You can take all the time you want with this quote.
POVERTY AT THE BACKGROUND
Behind every mindless slaughter of innocent Nigerians at the hands of terrorists, there is traceable poverty lurking in the background. Poverty that has made the minds of terrorists idle and spurred them to forcefully or voluntarily take up arms against the state. Bloomberg records that six people fall into extreme poverty in this country every minute.
Nothing encompasses the pain I have for Nigeria than the policies of shared poverty which it has embraced as an ideology. Except for a few hardcore loyalists to the present regime, everyone else knows that poverty is increasing at an alarming rate, small scale businesses are folding up daily as insecurity and inflation bites harder on Nigerians.
Few things bring this to the fore than the realization that India, a country of 1.3 billion people, now has less people in poverty than Nigeria, a country of 200 million people.
Perhaps, lifting more and more people out of extreme poverty and educating more and more minds will reduce their gullibility and ignorance and desire to destroy whatever little infrastructure we collectively own as a nation, but the fact still remains that to build an ambient environment where the economy is functional and education thrives, one will need a solid foundation of political stability and assured security of lives an property, without which any nation will only be like the proverbial dog, chasing its own tail.
Utibe Umoh is a Public health enthusiast, poet and author with a great deal of interest in romance-fiction stories and short essays. His first e-Book, Tales of bliss, was out in 2020 and is currently available on the Amazon Kindle bookstore and free on okadabooks.com bookstore.
He currently pursues a degree in Medicine and Surgery at the College of Health Sciences, University of Uyo and is editor-in-chief for his Medical student association. He is content creator for Ray of thought - an assembly of young thinkers who are out to impact the world positively - and enjoys listening to classical music at his leisure hours.