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Nigeria’s North recently lend its voice to the call to decentralise the police system. For too long in Nigeria, most Nigerians have allowed the ruling classes to toy with the diagnoses and solutions to their problems. Thus both the diagnoses and solutions must first fit into the interests of the ruling class in order for this to matter for the rest of Nigerians.
Not even the civil rule enabling environment of the preceding over two decades matters in the exercise of the sovereignty of the will of most Nigerians. This is particularly the case in the deconstruction, reconstruction and construction of ideas, persons and institutions. There is need to embark on the deconstruction, reconstruction and/or construction of ideas, persons and institutions within the representative rule framework. This is necessary in order to reorient most Nigerians away from the military rule background that shaped ideas, persons and institutions. Most Nigerians have not been exercising their sovereignty, in telling their elected representatives, in the legislatures and the executives, what they wanted accomplished in governance.
SECURITY or that which SECURE in all of its forms was the single most important item, on the governance agenda of most Nigerians in 1999, when they drove the military back to the barracks and returned power to civil rule system. Even in the face of the successful failure of the “security” their elected representatives and their collaborators in the military, intelligence and law enforcement (MILE) chose to provide for them, most Nigerians acceded to this failed “security” without making their voices heard in the type of security- the wellbeing in all of its forms type – they have always voted for since 1999. This security remains the reason for civil rule today and tomorrow.
The so-described “security” challenges confronting most Nigerians were beyond the knowledge, competence and capacity of the military rule system. If it was not, they should have been able to manage this “security” challenges under their watch as government. It is therefore wrong for the civil rule operators to concede the management of “security” to the military, intelligence and law enforcement as has been the case since 2007.
“Security”, under civil rule, is not the name and work of the military, intelligence and law enforcement that it was under military rule. There is more to the construct called security under civil rule. Civil rule should first investigate and interrogate this “security” in order to come up with that which secure in all its forms for most Nigerians within the civil rule framework. This informed the call for deconstruction, reconstruction and/or construction of ideas.
Of the security is wellbeing in all of its forms type that most Nigerians aspired and expected with the enthronement of civil rule in 1999, the military, intelligence and law enforcement “security” type is the least and last on the hierarchy of security need(hSn) for most Nigerians.
Therefore, in finally conceding to the creation of state police, by the North, through its Northern Governors Forum and Traditional Rulers via constitutional amendment route, they, like the leadership from the other parts of Nigeria that have been in the forefront of the calls to decentralised policing via restructuring the country, hinged their views on the successfully failed and failing “security”, to address the “security” challenges that informed their perspectives.
There is a subsisting conflict in Nigeria which Nigeria’s philosophy or the nature, meaning and purpose of Nigeria, if Nigeria has one, and/or constitution, did not recognise as conflict let alone resolving this. The conflict is on SECURITY. The conflict is defined in the four fundamental questions on security. They are what is security, whose security, what is a security issue and how can security be achieved. This conflict has manifested most tellingly in the last twenty-three years with the birth of the representative rule framework.
The undefined, uncharted and ungoverned terrain of security, under civil rule beginning in 1999, created the prevailing security situations of conflicts (Ssc) in Nigeria. There are two sets of security situations of conflicts (Ssc). The first set is represented and driven by the defence situation of conflict (Dsc). The second set is represented and driven by the law enforcement situation of conflict (LEsc). Both constitute and are subsumed inside the military, intelligence and law enforcement (MILE). These two emerged from the construct called hierarchy of security needs (hSn) which itself derived from the security situations of conflicts (Ssc). These constructs were derived from the theory of security is wellbeing in all of its forms.
There are two sides involved in the security situations of conflicts in Nigeria. On the one side are the elites of politics in the legislatures and the executives and the military, intelligence and law enforcement (MILE). On the other side are most Nigerians. The former see security in the MILE hence the Dsc and LEsc and the latter see security in wellbeing in all of its forms. The differences between the two sides summed up the security situations of conflicts. The resolution of the security situations of conflicts is in the provision of governance of security (GoS). This will tackle the nature, meaning and purpose or philosophy of security and the legislation to cover this philosophy. With the GoS in place, the security situations of conflicts, pitching the select interests and the rest of Nigerians will be on the part to resolution.
So, when the North decided to wake up from its orchestrated slumber, to lend its weight to the way forward, in addressing the proverbial “security” challenges, by conceding to decentralised policing as solution, it is to add to one part of the security situations of conflicts (Ssc) which advances the interests of the defence situation of conflict (Dsc) and law enforcement situation of conflict (LEsc) benefiting the few to detriment of the majority calling for the resolution of the security situations of conflicts (Ssc). While the federal government is dragging its feet on the issue of decentralising the police in what is a fait accompli in most states of the federation except in name, the level of crisis and conflict or as they will prefer to describe this “security” challenges in the states with police of this type has not abated. There are “insecurity” of the banditry, kidnapping, farmers-herders clash, “terrorism” and “insurgency” type going on in the states.
To continue to treat the effects of Nigeria’s problems without diagnosing the causes and/or inherit ideas pliable in particular enabling environment and not re-examining ideas to fit another environment and/or constructing new ideas for this environment is to creatively stretch its persistence for political and pecuniary objectives of the ruling classes.
The entire enterprises of Nigeria centres on governance or the effective and efficient utilisation of human and material resources for the benefit of most Nigerians. If this is the case – and there should not be any other – the vision and mission of Nigeria is SECURITY or that which secure. The SECURING enterprises should embrace all of the spheres of human endeavour. To reduce security to the military, intelligence and law enforcement (MILE) only, under the representative rule system, with the mandate from the Constitution and thus Governance, to govern the entire country, is the highest manifestation of corruption or the abuse of entrusted power for private gains. The pursuit of the MILE perspective of security by civil rule operators, in the legislatures and executives, in spite of its successful failure and continuing failure and their shameless justification of this with Section 14 2b is the epitome of the abuse of entrusted power for private gains. The legislatures, in particular, should investigate and interrogate the philosopher and philosophy behind the construct of Section 14 subsection 2B.
This is what the whole charade of decentralised policing represented – addressing the symptoms and NOT the causes. Decentralising the police and having states and/or local government police services will NOT secure people and will NOT address “security” challenges. These police services will represent the partial resolution of the law enforcement situation of conflict (LEsc). The LEsc is an offshoot, albeit the least and the last, on the hierarchy of security need (hSn) in the security situations of conflicts (Ssc).
Arising from the definition of security or that which secure as wellbeing in all of its forms, security situations of conflicts describe the conflict in the undefined, uncharted and ungoverned security, in philosophy and legislation, since the enthronement of civil rule which places priority on defence and law enforcement as security. Nigeria is not at war. A classical war situation would be Nigeria and another country or countries and thus the prevalence of defence situation of conflict. There are crises of social disorders occasioned by failed and failing governance producing law enforcement situation of conflict. Consequently and collectively, these conditions are the result of the unresolved philosophy or nature, meaning and purpose of security and thus security situations of conflicts under the civil rule framework.
Resolving security and security situations of conflicts in the civil rule underway is the sine qua non for Nigeria to begin to work for most Nigerians. Nigeria, working for most Nigerians, will mean unleashing wellbeing or security in all of its forms. Whether through constitutional amendments, restructuring or both, there is no delaying the inevitable steps that must be taken to accomplish security or wellbeing for most Nigerians. Security or wellbeing in all of its forms is the irreducible aspirations and expectations of most Nigerians from the civil rule they instituted to serve them.
Nigeria’s power elites, in all of their colours, must sooner rather than later, have to agree on this. Their continuous prevarication will produce simultaneously spontaneous reactions of most Nigerians that may spell Armageddon for all of Nigerians and Nigeria.
Our Take: The Nigerian government’s inability to conceptualize or define security and/or national security problems within a democratic framework has resulted in a series of ineffective National Security Strategies. Nigeria’s history has been engulfed in military theatrics, intelligence, and law enforcement, all of which are ostensibly tackling security challenges that lack a defined concept or policy. The notion that Nigerians are already familiar with the concepts of civil rule security and national security has kept the idea of addressing insecurity in the “solution zone” rather than the “defining zone.” This practice, on the other hand, should be reserved for countries with a clearly defined security philosophy or democratic framework. As a result, the new Special Committee on National Security Memorandum is just another ruse to spend more funds on a futile security objective, if funds are spent on security at all.
About the Author(s):Dr. Adoyi ONOJA teaches history and security courses in the Department of History and in the graduate programme on Security and Strategic Studies in the Institute of Governance and Development Studies, Nasarawa State University, Keffi.