|Chief A.K Horsfall|
Comprehensive And Sustainable Peace And Security In A Plural Society: Extreme Challenges To Nigerian Internal Security.
(KEYNOTE SPEECH DELIVERED BY CHIEF A.K. HORSFALL(OFR) AT A 2-DAY PEACE AND SECURITY SUMMIT ON 30TH-31ST JANUARY, 2013 AT ABUJA UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION (NBA))
1.The two global wars, otherwise called world wars – one and two had been fought before I was born. Following these global threats to peace and security there had been relative global quiet (peace and security) aside from the occasional regional blips – particularly Korea, Vietnam, Middle East (i.e. Israel and the Arabs), the Indian sub continent (India and Pakistan) throughout the global scene.
2. In this country the earliest known case of the use of firearms to confront a government and kill fellow human beings was the military coup event of 1966 when a group of young officers mostly majors took up arms and partially overthrew the Nigerian government of that time. The country then went through periods of insecurity and violence, murders and destruction of lives and property which ultimately led to the Civil War of 1967-1970 when over one million Nigerian lives were needlessly lost.
3. Since the Civil War violence and insecurity had somewhat become endemic in this country. At first it was the crime of armed robbery that started soon after the Civil War. Then series of other sporadic and protracted cases of violence and insecurity here and there.
4. The Nigeria I grew up in used to be one Sea of tranquility and placidity. Perhaps the major insecurity of a regional or national character we knew was the Gboko riots and the brutal attempts to suppress them. Insecurity at the local level were the occasional murders arising from disputes over the promiscuous or randy escapades by some of our rascally forbears over female partners which was sort of rampant among some Ijaw community (where incidentally I belong) and Ikot Ekpene areas; or indeed local seasonal clashes over farmlands in Izzi and Abakaliki parts of this country.
5. Gentlemen – for we are all gentlemen at the bar.
Today the world is in turmoil! The entire globe – North, South, East and West is in conflict or some other forms of insecurity!
THE WORLD IN TURMOIL, PRESENTLY?
6. I repeat, the world is in turmoil! Insecurity has become the order of the day. Where do we start? Middle East, where we had had the Arab spring turned to Arab autumn and now winter. It all started in Tunisia, Bahrain, Egypt, where Mubarak was overthrown after 39 years of rule, all by violent action, slightly brushing off in Algeria then Libya where Moama Gaddafi was overthrown and murdered after 42 years of dictatorial governance and so on and so forth. Or South East Asia, i.e. Thailand, Burma, etc. or Latin America, the violent drug wars in Columbia, Mexico, etc. or the Pacific, East Timor, Philippines, Indonesia, etc. or North and South Korea where the two, sometime one country, now divided to North and South Korea threaten peace and security. Iran and Iraq had fought a bloody war in the eighties, then followed the invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Sadam Hussain by America and some western and Arab countries and of course the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and Afghanistan wars where America and some western countries had been locked up in conflict for years over terrorism. But let us leave all of these other countries and come to our continent Africa, below the Sahara! There we observe a grim emerging or present picture of violence and insecurity.
THE SUB SAHARA AND TERRORISM:
7. When we talk of Africa South of the Sahara the immediate area of concern will be Somalia, Sudan and lately the violent incursions by the Taureg invaders in Mali. The Tauregs had never been friends of the Taliban or Al-Qaeda. They and Al-Qaeda/Taliban are what you will term strange bed fellows in Mali. But the fact is that they are there side by side in Mali! And have violently taken over the northern part of Mali and imposed an extremist Islamic dispensation in that part of Mali. France, ECOWAS and the United Nations have intervened and despatched French and ECOWAS army including Nigerian troops to Mali.
8. Sadly, the Malian war may become endemic in sub-Saharan Africa and may spread far beyond Mali in the future because of the massive desert terrain involved and the connectivity through the desert of several African and Arab peoples who preach or practice similar culture, religion, are heavily armed and can provide safe haven for desert based terrorists and terrorists groups.
PEACE AND SECURITY:
9. Again, I should recall that in the Nigeria I grew up in, we took peace and security for granted. A young Divisional Officer (DO) usually white but sometimes a young Nigerian graduate, was the representative and symbol of government we knew. A single police officer in smart khaki uniform usually based at the Divisional Police Headquarters with a small contingent of policemen under his command were the forces of law and order we saw! But these rather symbolic representation of government ensured the due process of the law and usually operated in good discipline and were therefore respected or feared. The ordinary folk in the countryside or even in urban areas hardly saw or encountered (perhaps only once in a quarter) these government representatives or forces of law and order and did so usually on ceremonial occasions or when in very rare cases a breach of security occurs. The ordinary citizens went about their business without fear of molestations or breach of their human rights such as existed then. Farmers went to farm unmolested, fishermen went to sea and returned with their catch safely, workers went to their work place regularly, teachers went to school in full belief that their pupils and students will be in class regularly, and unharmed. Education, was a priced asset although not all can afford it but it functioned perfectly. Various professionals proudly went about their practice, commerce and business were conducted in an atmosphere of reasonable decorum with the usual chatter and clatter. Even politicians went about their campaigns during electioneering, etc. with only some manageable blip of razzmatazz and rascality! The ordinary folk went to bed at night and expected to wake up next morning into a tranquil and normal atmosphere and environment. Individuals, communities and government took their responsibilities seriously. Government and public servants and officials were accountable to the colonial master and, to some extent, the populace. Of course there were miscreants and the renegades, petty thieves, etc. who will break into their neighbours ‘barns’ or houses and pilfer yams, rape or defile some innocents and constitute such unwarranted intrusions in community life but these odd souls were rare and promptly dealt with according to law or tradition! Such was the normal order of Peaceful and Secure society that Nigeria was. Which can only be dreamt of TODAY.
10. The opposite and absence of such orderly society are the conditions we live in these days; at the local, national and international levels. And this is the focus and thrust of this LECTURE.
RESPONSIBILITY OF GOVERNMENT:
11. The primary responsibility of government in any modern nation state is to provide peace and security and welfare for its citizens. When there is peace and good security human beings in every community relax and go after their regular business. Education, religion, culture, jobs, trade, agriculture, fishing and all manner of human endeavours blossom freely and mankind is happy and expects prosperity. In contrast, the absence of peace and security leads to lawlessness, chaos and anarchy.
HISTORICAL ANTECEDENTS/BEGINNINGS OF INSECURITY:
12. But my introductory paragraph may have missed some vital points. For in all our history mankind had been known to live in an atmosphere of insecurity; even in Nigeria. History will tell us that human kind had lived throughout in insecurity starting from Cain and Abel; even to the period of the emergence of settled communities. The pre-historic inter-communal ethnic wars, the wars of the Middle Ages, the wars of the Jihadists and even our own local tribal and ethnic wars paint a grim picture of insecurity and breaches of peace throughout man’s history on earth especially during man’s early development. However, these trends had been checked by the emergence of modern civilized states. Modern states needed to have peace and security in order to embark peacefully in modern trade and commerce and civilized human interaction. The need to monitor and broker peace and security was the reason the United Nations Organization (UNO) was agreed and established.
CURRENT MAJOR THREATS TO PEACE AND SECURITY IN NIGERIA:
13. Threats to human peace and security could be varied and variable. A nagging wife denies peace and security to her dear husband. So does a bossy and over bearing husband be a threat to peace and security in the home. Followed down to the socio-political and state or community level we could readily aver that insurgency and terrorism including economic terrorism and corruption had become the main threat to our nation’s peace and security. Stretch the averment further and we would perhaps accept that home grown insurgency in collusion and collaboration with external terrorism networks constitute the greatest threat to peace and security in Nigeria.
THE RECENT NIGER DELTA INSURGENCY:
14. Alas! With the Niger Delta violent militancy which led to loss of countless lives and damage to huge public and private properties and installations principally oil and gas installations, the stage was set for a new and sustained insecurity in this country. Indeed a threshold of insurgency and terrorism had emerged.
BOKO HARAM INSURGENCY:
15. This is ongoing! The difference between Niger Delta insurgency and Boko Haram is that Niger Delta is political and Boko Haram is religious and ideological! Boko Haram, an extreme religious sect, having connections with international terrorist network had now landed squarely in the country as part of what is obviously a violent network of internal insurgency and terrorism. We must therefore see and deal with Boko Haram as the local counterpart of Al-Qaeda and Taliban because:
(a) Of the proven international connectivity and affiliations of these organizations. Let us not forget that the spiritual and inspirational dogma preached and practiced by Al-Qaeda, Taliban and other Pakistan, etc. based extremist sects runs through the veins of Boko Haram practitioners and some of our youth of the same faith in this country, many of who like the young MURTALAB, the would-be plane bomber were trained in Pakistan, Yemen and such places.
(b) Following the violence in Libya which resulted in the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime a lot of the arms of that conflict especially from Gaddafi’s side of the conflict have infiltrated into the West African sub-region principally the Niger Republic, Chad, Mauritania, Mali, etc. and indeed some have found their way into this country and helped to fan the currently burning Boko Haram flame.
THE CHALLENGE OF BOKO HARAM:
16. The threat of Boko Haram is the main challenge of the internal terrorism that Nigeria faces at present. I have said it in previous lectures that Boko Haram which represents violent religious extremism has been in this country for a fairly long time. It has surfaced in various forms and guises in the past. Sometime it has come as mita sine. At another time as kala-kato. We could safely assume that the cells of these previous groups which had lied low for sometime had re-surfaced and re-grouped with other related extreme religious bodies to re-emerge as the latest violent extreme religious group now styling itself as Boko Haram – at least that seems to be in my opinion the internal terrorist group that is confronting our country at present. Of course these local extremist groups have now linked up with other extremist and violent religious groups from outside the country with linkages with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda which are the international spearhead of violent religious terrorism.
Ladies and gentlemen. I foresee an imminent danger. A potentially deadly threat to our country’s peace and security! I fear that the day when Boko Haram ferries its destructive weapons of terror across the River Niger, that day we can foresee the spread of violence and terror across the country! The dreaded trigger may be pulled! For such act of mindless mischief may unleash the retaliatory response of OPC, MASSOB, MEND, etc. throughout the country and throw this country into endless carnage. We must all pray for God Almighty to spare the country of such long and dreary period of insomnia!
EFFECT OF GADDAFI’S GUNS FROM LIBYA:
17. I did say in a lecture to Catholic Men’s League about a year ago in Lagos that Gaddafi’s guns from Libya will extend radical and extremist insurgency to West Africa including Nigeria. I did say then as follows I quote:
“We now find these fears expressed rather so soon in parts of West Africa especially in Mali where our troops are already being dispatched to fight to save that country. The truth is that the insurgency will not affect only Mali but could soon find its way to Niger where Gaddafi’s guns are already in evidence but also in Tchad, Central African Republic, Mauritania and indeed also our country Nigeria. There is clear evidence that Boko Haram is in contact with insurgencies in Mali, Libya, Sudan, Mauritania and even Somalia.
For immediate mention should be the current Libyan crisis. Because of the negative posture of its former leader, Colonel Moama Gaddafi towards Nigeria Libya had usually been a threat to our national security. Among other hostile acts Gaddafi is suspected to be one of the external sources funding the Islamist fundamentalist fighters popularly called BOKO HARAM. Our national security and intelligence must have foreseen and should clearly foresee the potentially adverse effect on Nigeria’s security which the conflict in Libya poses to Nigeria. In transmitting money and saboteurs to Nigeria, Gaddafi and his former officials still remain a potent security threat to Nigeria. Security/intelligence has to anticipate that Gaddafi cells for propaganda, indoctrination, training, infiltration and actual sabotage and subversion have to exist in this country controlled and run by Gaddafi loyalists. Such elements must be quickly identified and rooted out. The media had reported the large scale movement of former Gaddafi supporters to Niger and Chad Republic. Some of our national papers have even gone so far to suggest the possibility that some Gaddafi agents may have infiltrated into Katsina and some other states of Nigeria. One will hope that these statements by the media are mere speculations of a free press anxious to spread news, etc. but also hope that our security and intelligence are alive to their responsibilities in correctly anticipating and neutralizing these potential threats to our national security.”
WHAT ABOUT SYRIA? WHAT LESSONS SHOULD WE DERIVE FROM THERE?
18. In Libya the toppling of Gaddafi’s regime was relatively easy and on the whole less bloody than what the Syrian situation has proved to be. The reason was partly due to the fact that the Syrian crisis started as a mere protest for reform and the Asad government came down rather heavily on the protesters and actually inflamed the situation. The Syrian situation must impress all concerned that the mis-calculation and the mis-handling of any security situation can result into uncontrollable violence and bloody revolution which the Syrian government had not anticipated! Also that no government nor regime can deal successfully with a people who having been oppressed under a bad government and having been forced into resolute violent resistance can be stopped by further oppressive violence from the authorities. Such is the case in Syria TODAY. The people’s resistance would ultimately consume any regime almost without exception. We must all accept and learn that the only answer to the problem of insecurity and violence is justice and good governance and adherence to the will of the people through the rule of law.
OFFICIAL RESPONSE TO THE THREATS OF INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL TERRORISM:
19. The official response to the threat of internal terrorism in the current time is happily gaining momentum. The pace of response is picking up and becoming more positive lately. And I will attempt here to identify the various arms of officialdom that is dealing with this problem as follows:
The Executive Arm
First, the executive arm of government – by drastically increasing the security vote have made the right move but there are still political actions which need to follow and hopefully must follow. The last security budget was indeed phenomenal and the largest any government had budgeted for security in this country.
Resources To Tackle Insurgency:
20. Yes, the last security budget was huge compared to previous ones; but so is the security problem confronting us at present. However, other aspect of the problem as I see it is weak political methodology and the absence of effective co-ordination among political operators and the various arms of the security and defence forces who are dealing with the problem. Such deliberate co-operation and co-ordination will be essential for this huge security threat that presently confronts the country. There must also be proper co-ordination among the Defence, Security and Law and Order services engaged in these assignments. At present this seem to be lacking and at some point somewhat confused. Take for instance the commissioner of police Biu incident resulting in the escape of a primary Boko Haram suspect.
21. The position should be that the collaborating services should be properly co-ordinated within a joint command arrangement such that they share the same level of commitment and understanding that will ensure that shared intelligence will not be compromised, etc. At the political level, the necessary authorizations and political directives need to be promptly given to assure the services that they have political backing to deal with every person identified from good and correct intelligence as being the political sponsors and financiers of the terrorists. What then remains will be proper psychological re-orientation exercise that will re-assure the Boko Haramists that they are welcome and acceptable by the country if they behave as good and useful citizens, deviate from a harmful course that will destroy the cohesion and corporate existence of the country which is equally theirs for whether Muslims, Christians or pagans, haramists or extremists, we all belong to this country called Nigeria. In effect I would wish to emphasize that side by side with whatever security or political operation to quell the insurgency, a proper reorientation and publicity programme should be launched forthwith to bring the Boko Haramists back into the mainstream of Islamic beliefs and practices.
The Legislative Arm
The legislative arm of government must also express its pain and anger firmly and openly by condemning terrorism, extremism, religious fanaticism and those behind it. They should make stiff laws to curb violence and extremism.
The Judicial Arm
The judicial arm, in particular, has a major duty to perform in this matter. The dispensation of justice is on the shoulders of the judiciary and the least one would expect from the judiciary in the matter of violent terrorism, economic “terrorism” and corruption, is to emulate the action taken by their Indian counterpart, a commonwealth country like us, to set up special courts to deal with these dangerous cases that are capable of destroying our country. It will be recalled that following the gang rape of a twenty-three year old young lady by six Indian youths, the judiciary in that country has designated special courts to rapidly dispense justice in that outrageous criminal matter. In my opinion so should the Nigerian judiciary do by immediately designating special courts to rapidly deal with persons under trial in these matters!
SAFETY AND SECURITY OF JUDGES AND JUDICIAL OFFICERS:
22. But there is a new challenge facing the judiciary. The safety of judges and judicial officers embarking on these dangerous and risky assignments. These functionaries must be adequately protected by the state. The Legislative and Executive arms of government must take immediate action to ensure the safeguard and protection of Judges and other officials engaged in the dispensation of justice by making fresh laws and providing adequate safeguard and security for judicial officers. They must do this urgently to confirm their commitment to the cause of justice.
THE LAW & ORDER, DEFENCE AND SECURITY SERVICES:
23. I have confirmed while researching for this lecture that it is universally acknowledged by public opinion that the SSS and to a good extent its sister service, the NIA who operates in secret have performed extremely well in the task to rein in the threat of Boko Haram. Well, I cannot be surprised. I trained those chaps and started the NIA from scratch! And I should like to hope that like the SSS and NIA all the other services engaged in this struggle to keep Nigeria safer will raise the level of their performance such that we the ordinary citizens will relax more and shut our eyes when we go to sleep.
STATE POLICE OR NOT:
24. The issue of whether or not the process of law and order enforcement will be best served by the institution of state police under a new or amended constitution had become a hot topic for discussion in various quarters. The governors’ forum made a statement through their chairman that it is their wish and have placed it on the table for constitutional amendment. I would like to sound a word of caution on the issue of state police. Many of those especially those at the helm of affairs and of political leadership may be wishing for state police to serve some selfish interest. So far as I know during the political debates conducted by the House of Representatives and the Senate to seek public opinion on the proposed issues for amendment, the proposal to create state police was roundly rejected by all but a few states! Bad as the present centralized Police Force may be the truth is that the ordinary policeman under the present dispensation is there to protect the average Nigerian citizen. You do not need to go far in order to confirm that even at this stage of our national development there is a tendency of the strong to use the police to oppress or suppress the weak. Such excesses are so far generally checked by the fact that the police is monolithic with its hierarchy stretching up from the community/village level to the Abuja national headquarters where an IG superintends its affairs. Therefore the average aggrieved Nigerian citizen while trying to sort out his case can start by dealing with the constable in his village or community and without much cost, bring his matter to the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), from the DPO to the area command, from the area command to the state commissioner of police, from the state commissioner of police to the zonal AIG and eventually to the IGP. He does all of these at only the cost of the piece of paper in which he writes his complaints or the transport cost which will take him to all of these places to verbally lodge his complaints. The Nigeria Police may be accused of being plagued by a nest of corruption but especially because of its hierarchical arrangement offers some of the best opportunities to the under privileged Nigerian to make his case and be heard and indeed to ultimately receive justice.
25.Judging from what the new breed of politicians have so far enacted since 1999 to date, it will be interesting to note that the tendency has been to consolidate power in their own hands, not the institution of government at their levels, and in so doing they give less and less room to the ordinary citizen to express himself and exercise his God-given rights of citizenship. During the period when in the south-south zone, for instance, the cult and youth militancy largely sponsored by local politicians inside governments who prompted most of the ugly gunfights, killings and operation of cult members and other forms of youth violence that took place under the full glare of authorities, no meaningful action could be taken by the police and other security agencies because:
(a) The heads of the services and formations who should deal with the matter had been intimidated or bought over or brought under the corrupt subjection of the local political leadership in those states where all these crimes were openly taking place.
(b) These enforcement and service authorities were intimidated by the real or implied threats or inducements of one form or another etc. and so connived, turned the blind eye or totally ignored their duty to the state and citizenry.
(c) Even the media which during the Abacha era rose up stoutly in defence of the interest of the citizenry were for whatever reasons, for almost three years, unable to effectively expose these ugly crimes and incidents of killing, maiming, etc. which were taking place extensively in some of these states and so the country and the outside world were kept almost completely in the dark throughout the early stages of these ugly criminal developments.
(d) This is what we should expect when we succumb to the demand for state or regional police in our present state of development.
26. But come to think of it, the series of crises and violent eruptions since 2007 resulting in the Niger Delta, Boko Haram, etc. including the potential for possible tribal, ethnic and religious crises could not be easily handled under state police without the sceptre of accelerating the predicted break-up of the federation of Nigeria in 2015 allegedly predicted by the Americans. It is important for all and sundry to carefully consider this matter especially the governors, some of whom are at present at the forefront of the advocacy of state police. Let me remind them that some of them may become the victims of state police by the very individuals whom they may have installed as their replacement as governors but who may become thereafter their political opponents and bitter enemies and may like to have them in jail.
27. To assuage some of the fears of the advocates of State Police, I will recommend that the Police Act be reviewed. The complaints about the current system of political influence and partiality from the federal government where some states and commands are alleged to being unjustifiably denied the deployment of needed personnel to carry out effective policing, etc. can be solved by placing the operational control of the police under A Police Council made up of truly distinguished Nigerians of integrity including former police IG’s who retired meritoriously and without blemish.
28. Allow me to digress slightly from the main flow of this lecture but still on the issue of peace and security! I would like to introduce the issue of continued Dana airlines operations in Nigeria. I do not think this gross irresponsibility that cost so many human lives should be allowed to stand, especially if many of the reports such as the fact that the very air craft which was involved in the accident was reported even by some management staff of the air line to have been defective. Inspite of which the air craft had been allowed to continue to operate until the fatal accident. This shows complete criminal negligence on the part of this airline. I rather think that the air line operator should be prosecuted for:
(a) Criminal negligence and
(b) The families of the victims should sue the air line collectively or respectively and claim severe damages for the loss of their dear ones.
(c) That the airline’s operating license should be withdrawn forthwith through the appropriate authorities and the airline banished from the Nigerian airspace even if it attempts to come back in another name.
THE IMPUNITY AND THREATS FROM PERSONS INVOLVED IN CORRUPTION, ECONOMIC INSURGENCY AND TERRORISM:
Pension And Fuel Subsidy Fund Saga!
29. Pension funds totaling approximately N120 billion have been blatantly and brazenly stolen. Many of those who stole these funds have been identified. The notorious theft of fuel subsidy funds had been pretty well documented. But, there may be attempts to distract public attention from some of these issues! FEMI OTEDOLA and Senator FARUK who ought normally to command respect and admiration had had their case (if any?) in the cooler until lawyer KEYEMO threatens to initiate private action! One or two former governors, suspected to have grossly and notoriously abused their office with regard to the mis-use of public funds and corruption are reportedly writing or have written books castigating everybody else and justifying their alleged mis-deeds. Just wait and see what IBORI will ENACT when he is free from prison and returns to the country! And so on and so forth! In the words of Judge AJIBOLA – Are we indeed safe? These acts, reactions and intimidations are what my Ibo friends will refer to as ‘ona wanya’ – meaning in Broken English ‘E DE OPEN EYE!’ Interesting, isn’t it? But these are clear cases of economic insurgency and terrorism! Those who had boldly looted our treasuries have now turned round to point the gun at us! The anti-corruption agencies thankfully appear to be taking some action on the fuel subsidy matters. Let us hope to have results on these and other actions soon. But taken together the actions of these fellow Nigerians must constitute Economic Sabotage and Economic Terrorism! Those who loot the treasury deprive the citizenry of employment, welfare and development opportunities. Many of our citizens suffer from such disappointments and die in their misery. The pension funds and fuel subsidy thieves similarly deprive the citizenry of funds meant for their welfare, employment and development and many die while suffering these deprivations and waiting for their unpaid pensions! What does the terrorist do? They kill people for ideological reasons! What does the economic and corrupt terrorist do? They cause the death of people – indeed thousands of pensioners and ordinary folk who had been deprived by the mindless acts of these alleged fraudsters had died before their time! So it is in the overall national interest that while the Defence, Law and Order and Security Services battle the ideological terrorists the anti graft agencies and government should do their best to battle the economic and corrupt ‘terrorists’.
ARE WE SAFE?
30. A few weeks ago I read my friend Prince AJIBOLA – I think it was in The Nations newspapers; where he said if an ex-convict is the benefactor of our president etc. are we safe? Although I do not share the totality of Prince AJIBOLA’s views, I fear that the moral equilibrium upon which all good governance and laws are founded are collapsing in this country! In days gone bye any one in my community, and I believe in most other communities throughout the country, who goes to prison even for a couple of months, even on flimsy issues like flat rate income tax evasion; flimsy because in this country until recently most people evade tax payment dismissing it as a colonial instrument of oppression! The position was that even such person who may have served merely one or two months, upon release from prison finds himself isolated and so goes into voluntary hibernation. His children, his relatives, etc. cover their heads in shame! In contrast, these days, those who loot the treasury are the ones confronting and threatening fire and brimstone upon the rest of the population in order to intimidate society. That society must shut up so that they can freely swagger around in their ill-gotten gain and dominate the rest of us! IBORI could have walked free from most courts in this country! But the British have done us a favour by sending him to jail for money laundering etc. Money from Delta State Public Treasury. Yet IBORI is still being paid huge pension from that same treasury! Same goes for other similar travelers like IBORI who had been discharged from jail or should have been in jail but for the unwarranted magnanimity of our judiciary and law enforcement agencies who had let them loose to move around, threaten and intimidate the very people they had robbed so ruthlessly.
THE CANCER OF CORRUPTION:
31. It has been suggested by many that this country has not sincerely addressed the issue of corruption. The inactions or deliberate “mis-actions” over the issue of corruption had adversely affected our national security and brought about some of the most embarrassing revelations in our polity. Corruption cannot and should not be treated selectively but holistically! But one can only say here that corruption had actually developed into a serious cancer in our body politic, in spite of the zig zag effort to address the issue! Let me however acknowledge that some good progress is being recorded lately by the anti corruption agencies. We as citizens of this country must acknowledge the recent efforts of these agencies and encourage them.
32.There is some recent public opinion that in the fight against terrorism we should receive help from the USA. Hillary Clinton the US Secretary of State had infact promised such help. The United States obviously has wide experience in counter insurgency and counter terrorism and of course Nigeria can make good use of her experience and her assistance. What we need from the Americans will be more of technical gadgetry and sophisticated devices and international liaison type of collaboration and intelligence support. We do not need United States Defence and Intelligence presence locally. Such involvement will very easily internationalise the Boko Haram issue and invite other United States adversaries or terrorists from all over the world, Al-Qaeda, Taliban, etc. to also come to this country to combat the Americans here. That will make Nigeria a fresh theatre for international terrorist and insurgency inter-play and promote international religious conflict here. Such will very readily escalate our present situation.
33. What we further need to do to neutralise the threat of Boko Haram and other violent organizations in the country is justice and good and effective governance at all levels; good international co-operation and collaboration. Nigerian Defence and Security Services should join genuinely friendly liaison channels, not those who seek to exploit us to swell their intelligence Banks, exploit and dominate us.
(i) We need good external liaison.
(ii) Re-orientation of the home-grown insurgents.
(iii) Map out clear political action plan and policy to stave the threat of violence and ensure close collaboration among the judiciary, police, security, defence forces/services.
(iv) The legislature should enact fresh and stiffer laws to strengthen the hands of the anti terrorist (ideological and economic) forces.
(v) Expose, denounce and where appropriate prosecute politicians involved or connected with violent extremist groups.
(vi) Enact stiff laws to deal with violence and insecurity.
(vii) Good, open and responsive governance is the best answer to deal with subversion and terrorism.
34.We need to re-orientate and assure Nigerian born Boko Haramist and reinstate them fully back into society as citizens of this country. Do justice in the case of their slain former leader. But in the case of external elements what we also need to do is show them instant justice!”
Border Control & Security – The Chinese Example:
35. In modern times all nations seek to ensure a well defined and secure border as their first line of defence against foreign attack or hostile infiltration. We therefore need to secure our borders from hostile infiltration and penetration. A country without secure and stable well-protected border is calling for easy access by hostile elements to violate its security.
36. Our fears that these insurgencies will spread to various parts of West Africa including Nigeria is well founded and backed by clear evidence. We must therefore do our best to closely restrict the movement of external terrorists through our several illegal border entry points and make it impossible for their gaining any further presence in this country. How can we do that? Strictly control our legal border entry points and practically block the several illegal entry points between us and the terrorists’ enclaves! The Chinese did so effectively and within a fairly short period emerged with the China we see at present with strong political and economic renaissance! I am not saying we should impose a bamboo curtain as the Chinese did but we should firmly restrict entry of subversive and terrorist elements into this country.
Re-orientation and Re-education:
37. Speaker after speaker says Islam does not preach violence and therefore what these chaps in Boko Haram preach is contrary to mainstream Islam. So re-orient and re-educate them that Islam preaches peace and tolerance not violence. We must impress that the extreme Islamists in our country and some other parts of the world are wrong. Here is more work for His Eminence the Sultan and the Ulamas, and Imams in addition to so much that they are already doing. Perhaps more publicity to their effort will be helpful.
38.We started this lecture by saying – Nigeria, nay the world is in turmoil. There is insecurity everywhere! Sadly we are going to conclude by confirming our earlier position. We must conclude that terrorism and violent extremism is now at our door step. Mali is actually next door. The fall out from Mali is bound to directly affect this country. The economic woes of the western world will of course also impact on our country.
39. On the world scene we must recall that the two world wars arose soon after western economic depressions. I am tempted to predict that we are perhaps likely to face such global security crisis again. Perhaps the fact that the Americans have returned OBAMA to the White House, a cool-headed realist, may prolong global conflict for a while, however the seeds of major further global conflict cannot be too far away! With the scepter of Israel versus Iran; the emerging development in the China Sea over some new found mineral rich islands that both the Chinese, a new super power and Japan and other western allied countries claim, the flash point between China and Japan in particular are heightened; the unresolved Korean situation; and the continuing Indo Pakistani dispute over Kashmir; all of these continuing developments must remind us that the drums of global war are still beating and can be ignited once more, any time! On the Nigerian scene we must accept that Boko Haram and violent militancy will stay with us for a while, yet. But we must not loose hope. Timely, appropriate and properly co-ordinated political, defence, security and law and order actions may bring the country back from the BRINK.