By Ifeoma Orji

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Security is one issue that has continued to dominate discussions in Nigeria. As President Bola Ahmed Tinubu assumes the leadership of Nigeria, one of his main areas of focus is security. The intensity of the discourse is born out of a climate that has been plagued by not just terrorism, but banditry, unknown gunmen, kidnapping, ritualism, cultism, warring ethnic groups, clashes between farmers and herdsmen and much more, causing carnage every now and then.

According to data from Nigeria Security Tracker, a project under a non-governmental think tank, Council on Foreign Relations, over twenty-five thousand people were killed in various attacks between May 2015 and May 2019.

Similarly, Safeguarding Security Sector Stockpiles, based in Borex, Switzerland, recorded that within five years of the immediate former administration, terrorists launched 500 attacks on military bases, killing over one thousand, five hundred Nigerian soldiers.

While Nigeria’s enemies seem not to be backing down on desecrating the altar of human progress, security agents have been resilient in their combatant strategies and operations. The Joint Task Force headed by the Nigerian military has killed thousands of criminal elements and decimated the notorious Boko Haram terrorist group in its hideouts.

In May 2015, when former President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in for a first term, all eyes were on him to turn Nigeria into a safe haven before leaving office, being a retired Army General.
The killings however tripled, prompting the President’s early intervention with the establishment of a National Centre for Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, in conformity with international standards and the ECOWAS moratorium on small arms and light weapons control.

In 2018, the Nigeria Police had their salaries increased by 300 per cent to reduce bribery and corruption in the system. That was the greatest motivation ever received by the Nigerian Police.  In 2019, a bill establishing the Police Trust Fund was also signed into law.

In the course of over seven years, the Nigerian Air Force acquired 26 brand new aircraft and another twelve Super Tucano planes from the United States Government. The Nigerian Air Force is now locally reactivating several previously unserviceable planes.

The Navy is not left out as it has acquired close to 400 new platforms since 2015, including 172 Riverine Patrol Boats, 114 Rigid-Hull Inflatable Boats, 2 Seaward Defence Boats and 12 Manta Class/Inshore vessels, among others.
The Navy also established a Naval Base in Lake Chad, in Baga, Borno State, North East and deployed 14 Naval Security Stations along coastline areas prone to criminal activities.

In addition, the security structure has been reinforced with pacifism, which encourages communities to detect and report unscrupulous elements in a new phase of intelligence gathering.
The communication and feedback channels have been yielding positive results, especially in building robust relationships between security agents and communities.

The General Officer Commanding 3 Division, Nigerian Army, and Commander, Operation Safe Haven, Major-General Ibrahim Ali, recently, affirmed that effective engagement with community leaders and relevant agents had been helping the army to identify targets and strike. He attributed the successes recorded to the joint community security interventions and local vigilante formations.

The healthy collaboration is expected to go a notch higher with the Presidential approval for the Community Policing Programme nationwide and the release of take-off funds. The Community Policing Programme has now been enshrined into the Police Act, 2020.

Remunerations and repatriation for fallen heroes and their families have also received a boost, with a welfare system that caters for more than 50,000 children of late officers and men.

On security, the former administration tried to pull a robust plan to improve the security architecture of Nigeria but not much was realized, despite the upgrading of hardware, building of facilities, training and equipping of staff and officers, as well as, expansion of the forces.

For the current administration under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, there is need for the reinforcement of these roadmaps focused on winning and sustaining the fight against insecurity.

Nigerians are in dire need of well-secured interstate travels and speedy trials of detained terrorists, kidnappers and other criminals.
The radicalization system of some members of these groups must stop for now.

The rehabilitation and relaunch into the society of some terrorists guilty of killing or maiming innocent Nigerians, without facing the full wrath of the law is not ideal.

Nonetheless, it is very important for the new administration of President Bola Tinubu to build on the successes recorded in strengthening the nation’s security architecture so that Nigeria and its citizens can be more secure.
This in turn will help promote equity and justice as well as growth and development of the nation’s economy.

After all, a more secure Nigeria is the bedrock for not just national development but the drive for Foreign Direct Investment into the country.

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