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Opinion: Curbing Violence In Nigeria
Evidently Nigerian violence has specific characteristic features in respect of the place of occurrence and her perpetrators that makes its reoccurrence even cheaper and more possible. Mostly Nigerian violence are executed by poor unemployed Nigerian or foreign youths who after the crimes are either hidden in houses or bushes, rest in the waters or sneak out of the country. However the question is what triggers people to start violence? What factors in the Nigerian society makes violence insurmountable?
First, Unemployment is the fundamental factor responsible for smooth and recurring violence in Nigeria. With a large population of unemployed people, the idle hands cannot but be the devil’s workshop. Interestingly, it is one of the ripple effects of power failure and mass illiteracy in Nigeria. Violence basically is carried out by idle Nigerian youths or insurgents from neighboring countries. I strongly believe also that Nigeria is one of the greatest victims of a poor neighborhood. And I insist that illiteracy is the next greatest problem of Nigeria after power. The fact is many Nigeria’s unemployed youths no matter the creed will work in Al Qaeda Nigeria limited if the pay is high.
Have you ever observed that children of financiers of violence in Nigeria are never around when the crises boomerangs? They send their children far away. Do you notice also they love loitering around the corridors of power for protection and as soon as they are about getting caught, they speedily put on the religion mask? Have you thought of the Motivation and Motivational lies they may need to share with the unemployed youths to persuade them to unleash violence and bomb blasts on innocent people? The moneybags besides will not mind providing cash for importation or production of arms to equip themselves for violence.
The Nigerian customs are not thoroughly effecting the border security checks enough and this is why arms, far more lethal than that of Nigerian policemen, and its resources are still flowing into Nigeria daily. And the worst is that the Nigerian borders also have too many unofficial importation routes that make arms trafficking easy. Besides, items going up north via the states are never checked by anybody. In fact the drivers don’t even stop! The Nigerian customs also have no recognized whistle blowing mechanism.
Nigeria has one of the weakest immigration systems in the world. Sometimes around 2008 for instance, over 150 motorbikes drove at once into Maiduguri from Chad carrying passengers and all drove into only a single premises to join their colleagues. Some months after, a sect called Boko Haram emerged causing violence in other places. The question is if Nigeria has an immigration service, how could people of this intent get into Nigeria? Do they have any means of identification? What is their occupation? What is their mission? The worst is that they are here to fight western education using some Nigerian elements. Many killings in Plateau and Borno are been attributed to these migrated insurgents who are financed by Nigerian moneybags to cause chaos and destabilize the polity. Definitely during elections or crises, these unidentified criminals without friends or foes around are more motivated to kill people, rape, rob, reap and run! I have emphatically criticized the speedy transition and proliferation of beggars emigrating from Niger and Chad republic even into far southern Nigerian cities like Lagos and Port Harcourt. These same beggars without disabilities who will never pick up an empty headpan to work at a bricklaying site will however not mind begging for N20 from a busy perspiring bricklayer. One day these same beggars who hate work but love having sex and making babies for the streets may one day start their kind of hunger riots even in down south Nigeria and at the point of getting caught quickly spice it up with religion. Nigeria does not need lazy and criminal foreigners with a faulty reward system!
Have you ever wondered why the Nigerian Police Force always gets to a crime scene 10 minutes after the incidence? It is simply due to fundamental operational lapses of the NPF. It is either you are told vehicles are on patrol right now never to show up or they got to the address you are talking about late. There are even cases where security operatives don’t even pick calls. Really A nation of 150 million people with less than 500,000 policemen may not be able to exert the required security attention within the system. However when the security of a nation has some few tribalistic and religious bigots, there may be security failure. And the case can then only get worse without technologies such as CCTV and other monitoring devices. It was worrisome when Al Jazeera was playing videos concerning the Jos crises last year showing some biased officers involved in the Jos killings. There is also no popular whistle blowing facility traceable to the police.
To tackle the following problems, unemployment and illiteracy must be forced down in this nation! Campaigns and awareness programs should be set up educating people to abhor violence since the financiers never allow their own children to join violence but ensure safe habour for their children in Lagos or even developed nations. If the UN says one policeman should watch 400 civilians, then I think the Nigerian government has really tried but should seriously work on the recruitment, retraining and implementation processes in response to these challenges. Policing can be more professionalized to eliminate insecurity, boost public confidence and galvanize democracy. There is also need for application of close circuit televisions and monitoring devices that will record details of daily activities in cities like Jos. It will also make faces of miscreants behind the acts more conspicuous. There is need for aerial and space recording of activities of cities like Jos. With this, we can find where these crises originated from and normally where they normally abscond to after the atrocity. Live satellite monitoring of crises-prone cities and crowded places will also work effectively for cities like Jos where there are minimal trees.
In as much as I believe in a detribalized Nigerian Armed Force, I believe and am worried at the strong comments of a military man of Major Gen Domkat Bali’s stature on the Jos crises. I think strongly that the words of such a soldier should not be swept under the carpet. If one of the core functions of the Nigerian Army is to protect this nation from every form of external aggression, then the government should make it so. I am not saying we should not participate in international assignments but the walls of our country and her citizens too must also be protected. This could be achieved via military intelligence, strategic intervention and support to the customs, police and Nigerian Immigration Service. To tackle the problem of tribalism within security agencies, only southern policemen and soldiers should be sent to violence prone northern states while northern colleagues should be posted down south. The issue of police and military identification should also be taken more seriously.
When you have a country with very large boundaries and weak implementation of immigration laws, just expect one day that hungry and criminal immigrants will gradually settle in, integrate into the system and infact one day after several decades start fighting over land. Many Immigrants travel all across international borders with several indigenous cultures and tendencies that are against laws of natural justice or even equity. Nigerians need be educated that “a Fulani from Niger or a Hausa from Chad Is Not A Nigerian” no matter his eloquence! Hence must be made to have immigration documents and not covered up. The Nigerian immigration service should also set up a framework that will fast track the legitimization of work permits for employed Niger and Chad immigrants and deport these beggars. They should go and continue their baby-making business in their countries. Nigeria should design special jails for illegal immigrants like Boko Haram in northern Nigeria since they are terribly determined to proliferate. Foreigners that make our resources insufficient and yet kill our citizens must never go unpunished. The government should also appoint judges that will help hasten prosecution with special presidential interest. Even when you don’t have your NIC, drivers license or international passport number handy, you must know your Personal number and other details (often written on the card) offhand which can be confirmed with card readers. This must be a sine qua non for every Nigerian citizen.
For perpetrators of this violence that are Nigerians, facts have shown that there is an interlinked correlation all between divorce or marital separation, lack of parental care, crime rates and imprisonments. Facts have shown from the Nigerian prisons that 70 percent of inmates grew up either with single parents, polygamous parents or no parents at all. Hence they were forced to care for themselves at an earlier age. If this is so, then every little kid in Nigeria that has refused to go to school or acquire a skill can only become an armed robber, a prostitute or homosexual, an older beggar, or a thug. As a result, fundamental education must be consistently encouraged and street begging in any form must be outlawed in Nigeria.
Religious organizations should come together and form a 10-Point Unifying Creed that must be followed by their faithfuls strictly to foster peaceful coexistence and keep this country together. And such creeds must be binding!
Many Nigerians lose lives and properties worth millions of naira to violence and bomb blasts annually. Hence the issue of security of Nigerians and their property must be taken seriously to prevent further violence. Violence must be tackled in Nigeria for genuine development to really take place.
Tunde Adegbite is a banker and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org