By: Usman Okai Austin
The issue of insecurity in Nigeria like insecurity elsewhere is complex in nature and understanding. There’s no gain saying that, a multi-dimensional problem like insecurity should be approached uni-dimensionally- such approach will be, an exercise in futility. For the first time since the end of the civil war, there has been a massive internalization of our military. The military today operates in virtually all the states of the federation because, our general security architecture has been stressed and strained. It was after the September 9/11 terrorist attack in America that the Department of Homeland Security was created for the specific purpose of preventing terror attack on American territory and responding to natural emergency — a testament to the fact that new thinking, strategy and approach is a prerequisite for winning the war against terrorism and criminality.
The root cause of insecurity in Nigeria today can be traced to the porous nature of our border – which has been an enabler of illicit arms, ammunition and drug flow into the country. We can not ignore the fact that the civil war in Libya has massively contributed to insecurity in the sahel region of Africa. Never in the history of Nigeria has non-state actors threaten the social fabric and by extension, the very integrity of the Nigerian State like we experience today. The existing security agencies have been doing their best, but, there is need for a new agency that will be charged with the specific responsibility of combating the flow of small and light arms importation into the country and this is where the NATIONAL TASKFORCE looms into relevance.
NATFORCE is a product of strategic thinking and it is an idea whose time as come. The objectives of NATFORCE is not in anyway in conflict with the functions of existing security agencies. NATFORCE role is limited to its area of special competence: to combat illegal importation of Arms, Ammunition, Light Weapons,
Chemical Weapons and Pipeline Vandalism. It is only logical for Nigerians to question the creation of a new security outfit when we have a lot of agencies doing the same work. But, it was not after the September 9/11 terrorist attack that American policymakers saw and appreciated the wisdom in creating the Homeland Security Department. Before then, it would have be considered as a duplication of function to create an agency like Homeland when there is an FBI. NATFORCE is not in anyway aiming to compete with other security agencies, on the contrary, their goal is to complement the efforts of other security agencies in furtherance of the national good.
The banditary and criminality that as polluted our ecology have their origin in the proliferation of light and small arms all over the country. What NATFORCE seeks to do is to make sure small and light arms are not in the wrong hands. In the light of this, the national assembly should expedite the passage of the NATFORCE bill. Nigeria need more boots on the ground in combating insecurity and organisations such as NATFORCE – that as displayed the willingness in being partners in the project to secure Nigeria should be given the legal backing for optimal performance. The new DG of the organisation, Dr. Bala Muhammad has made it known that, under his watch, the NATFORCE does not intend to rival preexisting security agencies, but rather, to collaborate and complement their efforts. Men of goodwill such as the DG and patriotic organisations such as NATFORCE need all the support there can get to operate efficiently in line with their goal- which is to secure and make Nigeria a prosperous country.