Security in Nigeria: The eye of intelligence

Sir. The secret to the security enjoyed by developed nations is the ability of their authorities to watch over the posture and activities of members/entities within and around the system and by dealing proactively, effectively and efficiently with imminent and remote dangers/risks. This enviable state is not attained by authorities merely professing commitment to safety and security. It is also not attained by the size of a nation’s security personnel and armoury. No matter how big the ‘chest’ of the law is, outlaws may not be deterred until they feel vulnerable to superior counter-techniques on the side of the law. Perhaps, it is this inadequacy of force in the fight against crime and terror that gave rise to the concept and application of intelligence which, as a network of information gathering and sharing, has aided law enforcement agencies immensely in checking and arresting crime and terror.

Sustainable success in maintaining law and order however depends largely on which segments of society the eye of intelligence is focused mostly on. This important tip highlights many security and law enforcement challenges in Nigeria such as: the irony of surveiling the legitimate activities of civil activists/societies and law-abiding citizens who represent the conscience of society, more than the machinations of real criminals and anti-establishment elements; the inability to comprehensively profile every individual and group operating in the Nigerian system into robust, integrated and readily accessible databases; the danger of not going after criminals and felons for fear of outcomes, thereby conferring undue immunity on them; the particularity of providing tight security for top officials and VIPs without addressing wholesomely the sources of danger or fear as they affect the entire system, including its lowest class; the culture of closing unravelled criminal and terror cases for whatever reasons; leveraging and developing advanced science and technology for staying ahead of the dynamics of terror and criminality; adopting global best practice in training, rewarding and disciplining security personnel; etc.

Addressing such challenges will improve remarkably the elimination and isolation of offenders of Nigeria’s security laws, as the case may be. In addition, there is the need to review laws, policies and strategies governing justice and pardon in Nigeria by finding answers to such questions as: are punishments commensurate to offences? How correctional are Nigerian penitentiaries? Are jailbirds reintegrated back to society worse or better than they were at conviction? Do beneficiaries of amnesty programmes merit pardon and what danger/risks do they pose to society? Does dialogue with lawless people not legitimize or encourage lawlessness? Are there citizens held in prisons against the will of the law? If such issues, challenges and questions are given fair hearing and objective considerations at appropriate quarters, then there is hope that Nigeria can attain a high level of security necessary for sanity and stability in the system. To achieve this, the nation must grow a security tree whose numerous branches envelope the entire system, allowing proportionate rays of intelligence, surveillance, and assailment to fall on high and low risk areas, persons and groups.
Emmanuel Ikechukwu Igbo wrote from Lagos

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Emmanuel Ikechukwu
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