Showing posts with label security. Show all posts
Showing posts with label security. Show all posts

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Security Challenges in Nigeria

Security Challenges in Nigeria

~ By Albert Akpor

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan says he is determined to improve security in the country with a new administration that takes power with Sunday's inauguration.

Security was a driving issue in the presidential campaign following bomb blasts by militants from the oil-rich Niger Delta and attacks on police by members of an extremist Islamic group in the north.

President Jonathan campaigned hard to convince Nigerians that his government was meeting those security challenges. But rioting that immediately followed his election raised anew questions about security preparedness. The New York-based rights organization Human Rights Watch says Muslim-Christian electoral violence in northern states killed at least 800 people. President Jonathan says he is determined to protect Nigerians wherever they live.

“As president, it is my solemn duty to defend the constitution of this country. That includes the obligation to protect the lives and properties of every Nigerian wherever they choose to live,” he said.

Delta State University political science lecturer Benjamin Agah says part of the problem is that suspects arrested after attacks are often released without prosecution, returning to the streets for the next round of violence.

“The same people who ought to be found guilty, who ought to be jailed or who ought to be punished, they are the same people who will still come out again, untouched by the law. So the president has a lot of security challenges,” he said. Agah says the new government must be willing to better equip security forces, especially in remote areas of the north.

“There are some places now that can not be policed ordinarily except through air. So the police should be fully equipped. They should be given the requisite necessities to enable them to fight these criminals,” he said. Public affairs analyst Kole Shetimma says insecurity is a problem for the president that runs far deeper than spending more money on police.

“In these security challenges, I think that we should not approach it from a law-and-order perspective. I think we have to look at the socio-economic and political conditions that have given way to some of these major problems,” said Shetimma.

In the Niger Delta, for example, President Jonathan helped organize an amnesty for militants fighting against a federal government that they say have failed to develop the oil-rich region. There have been delays in paying monthly stipends to those demobilized combatants and far fewer job-training programs than were promised. Shetimma says the president must address the underlying economic grievances in the Delta.

“How do we ensure that the communities in which this oil is produced have access to some of the oil resources that we have. The new petroleum bill, which gives like ten percent of the oil resources to the communities, I agree that that should be fast-tracked,” said Shetimma.

In the north, the extremist Boko Haram group is fighting to establish Islamic law and says it recognizes neither the Nigerian constitution nor the just-completed election. It is rejecting an amnesty offer from the governor-elect of Borno State, who is trying to end months of attacks against security forces. Shetimma says one of the obstacles is the government's refusal to recognize that security forces acted outside the law last year in killing Boko Haram members in Jos.

“It has to be on how do you respond to the loss of property? How do you respond to the security implications? So I am hoping that this is going to be a comprehensive approach to the issue of Boko Haram,” said Shetimma.

President Jonathan says part of his plans for improving security in the north and in the south is to increase employment for young men who he says are being used as “cannon fodder for the ambitions of a few.”

One of the greatest challenges presently facing security agents in the country, especially the Police is the constant threat by members of the notorious Boko Haram sect operating freely in the northern part of the country. The dreaded group has so much instilled fear and trepidation on our law enforcement agents to the extent that the fear of Boko Haram is now the beginning of wisdom to them all.

In fact, posting to the northern part of the country has become an anathema to, especially members of the police force from the southern part of the country going by the constant killings and attacks carried out by members of this sect who are gravely averse to all kinds and nature of civilization or education. Life before perpetrators of these heinous, sectarian and or religious upheavals has become meaningless and something that could be cut short at will.

Like the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) in the West, the Egbesu (militants) in the Niger-Delta, Boko Haram came to limelight in 2002. But unlike the OPC and Egbesu, the ideology of Boko Haram was purely Islamism and anti-western civilization.

This sect led by the (late?) Ustaz Mohammed Tusuf, Mallam Sanni Umaru and Abu Darba has as its sole aim, entrenching Shariah law as the official and only religion not only in the North but also in Nigeria as a whole. With its operational headquarters in Kanamma, Borno state of Nigeria, the term ‘’Boko Haram’’ comes from both the Hausa and Arabic words meaning, ‘’western or non-Islamic education’’ and ‘’sin’’ respectively. So, to believers of the faith, ‘’anything western or non-Islamic education is a sin.’’ It therefore goes to say that members of the sect are totally averse to anything that has to do with western civilization and this literally means that ‘’Western or non-Islamic education is a sin.’’

Investigation carried out by Crime Alert revealed that though the fanatical religious movement started in 2002 in Maiduguri, its anti-people, anti-government activities became intense in 2004 when the group reportedly attacked a police formation and killed several senior police officers for reasons only known to members. Afterwards, it became much more hostile to non-members, secular education and of course, the nation’s nascent democracy. In fact, the leader of the sect, in his avowed determination to drive home the group’s ideology was once quoted as saying, ‘’This war that is about to start would continue for a long time’’ if the political and educational system in the country was not changed.

In the mean time, the group’s notoriety assumed international dimension in 2009 as a result of the orgies of violence carried out in nearly all the Northern states, especially, Kaduna, Adamawa, Bauchi and Borno states during which several lives and property worth millions of naira were destroyed by members of the sect.

Apparently irked by this disturbing dimension, the Police in the month of July 2009 commenced investigation into the nefarious activities of the group especially when it was reported that it was stockpiling arms. The police succeeded in not only arresting several of its members but killed their leader. This sparked off another violent clash to the extent that security reports showed that the group was arming itself. It was revealed that, prior to the clashes, many Muslim leaders and non-members of the sect and a security official had warned the authorities about the heinous activities of Boko Haram and their plans to strike a deadly blow on the nation’s stability.

However, Crime Alert scooped the reasons behind the group’s guerilla-like modus oparandi and why security agents, especially the Police is seemingly helpless over the ugly development in spite of their heavy presence in the Northern states where the sect is noted to have wrecked and is still wrecking havoc.

A senior security operative who spoke on the condition of anonymity alleged that a reasonable number of officers and men of all the security agencies from the Northern part of the country, the physically challenged persons from the area and Muslim women who wear hijab are members of the deadly sect. According to him, ‘’I can tell you that the reason why you think we are helpless is that most of us who are members of the group are constantly working against ourselves. As a commander of a squad and secret member of the group, if it is known that the group is operating in one area, you will lead your men to another area. Secondly, if you are the landlord of where the sect grouped or re-grouped to wreck havoc, you dare not inform security agents; it is part of solidarity.

Again, the fact that you hear of sporadic bombings is not because we were not doing our best, but because as security men, you dare not search Muslim women who wear Hijab. Searching them would amount to indecent assault. Meanwhile, most of them carry the bombs, pass them over to the common cripples on the streets begging for alms and before you know it, you will hear explosion even close to checkpoints and most times at police formation or the barracks.’’

Continuing, the source said, ‘’This is why we are seemingly helpless. Except we are able to correct this visible errors which are of course, security lapses, bomb explosions and the menace of Boko Haram sect would continue for a long time.’’ It was also gathered that this ugly development which is receiving the attention of the powers that be will soon be addressed following revelations that the Presidency is taking time to ascertain the veracity of the report while at the same time compiling names of those suspected to be involved.

More over, the Presidency is said to be holding series of meetings with all the security agencies with a view to identifying where there is laxity in the pursuit of this goal. It was also gathered that security at the borders will be strengthened with a view to making it impossible for foreigners to capitalize on the activities of members of this sect and infiltrate into the country.

Meanwhile, reports said the Controller-General of Immigration, Mrs Rose Uzoma has ordered her men at the borders to swing into action and fish out foreigners that collaborate with members of this sect without delay. Sources at the Immigrations headquarters in Abuja said she had already set up a special task force that will report directly to her over the issue with a mandate to deliver positive results within one month. On their part, the State Security Services (SSS) are said to have intensified efforts towards rounding up all those connected with the activities of this sect remotely or otherwise.

Releases displayed in Africa/Lagos time

27 May 2011









Thursday, September 30, 2010

Nigerian Army Takeover Security in Aba over Kidnapped School Children

Combat ready soldiers of the Nigerian Army.

Combat ready soldiers of the Nigerian Army have taken over security operations in Aba, Abia state, in a federal government response to the efforts to rescue the 15 school children kidnapped by gunmen in the commercial city last Monday.
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Aba has been besieged by daredevil kidnappers and armed robbers in the southeastern region of Nigeria.
Concerned citizens have been calling on President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria to declare a state of emergency in Abia after the kidnap of 15 pupils of the Abayi International School, Aba, on Monday September 27, 2010. The kidnappers hijacked the pupils’ school bus and demanded N20 million ransoms for the release of the 15 pupils. The police and other security operatives have not been able to locate their whereabouts. Then letters of threats from kidnappers forced banks, shops and schools in Aba to close since Tuesday.

"President Jonathan has ordered the inspector general of police and heads of other security agencies to take all necessary steps to rescue the abducted children and return them safely to their parents," his spokesman Ima Niboro told the BBC News yesterday.


Children in Aba. But the city is no longer safe for them.

The incessant kidnappings of helpless people have made residents to live in fear and made many of them to relocate to where there is better security of lives and properties.

“Nobody is safe in Aba. Kidnappers can abduct anyone on the street and demand ransoms as low as N5, 000 to release them,” said a security officer in Aba.

The Abia state government has failed to address the appalling state of insecurity that has harmed commercial activities and frightened away native and foreign investors.

The rampant cases of kidnapping, robberies and assassinations in Nigeria may threaten the 2011 elections as observed by many diplomats and human rights activists.



Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Government is Responsible for the Jos Crisis and other Crises in Nigeria

The Government is Responsible for the Jos Crisis and other Crises in Nigeria

~ Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima

I have been reading many childish and foolish posts and comments by tribalists and religious bigots on the Jos crisis and other crises plaguing Nigeria.

The reality is, the Nigerian government has failed woefully to protect precious lives and properties in the country.

If we have a good government, there will be security for all the citizens no matter your location, creed, or class.

If the security agencies in Plateau state were active, the perpetrators of the massacres would not have been able to do so.

Solution?
Sack the incompetent government before it is too late.

Nigeria will not survive another civil or uncivil war.


Related:
Nigeria: A Sick Nation with a Sick President

More news reports and features on Nigeria and the rest of the world by Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima.


Friday, January 29, 2010

U.S. Two-Prong Strategy with Yemen Government to Provide Security and Thwart Terrorism on the Arabian Peninsula




26 Jan 2010 00:56 Africa/Lagos

U.S. Two-Prong Strategy with Yemen Government to Provide Security and Thwart Terrorism on the Arabian Peninsula

DATELINE CITY: 25 January, 2010/Washington, D.C.

FORMAT: (2) Soundbites


STORY SUMMARY: State Department's Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Daniel Benjamin comments on the U.S. - Yemen strategy for success against the terrorism in the Arabian Peninsula.


RESOURCES More available at http://thedigitalcenter.com/projects/1442-us-two-prong-strategy-with-yemen-gov ernment-to-provide-security-and-thwart-terrorism-on-the-arabian-peninsula



http://www.state.gov/
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2010/index.htm
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/speeches/2010/index.htm

(2) SOUNDBITES / VIDEO:
Daniel Benjamin, Coordinator for Counterterrorism
Soundbite (1)

Summary: Ambassador Benjamin says that the U.S. two-prong strategy with the Yemen government, aimed at security threats and very serious economic problems, will be fruitful for both countries.


IN: "It is very much a two prong strategy we have, first of all there's been a lot of attention paid to the work we're doing with the Yemeni Government to increase paid its ability to take care of its own Security threats and to take on in particular Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula that is vitally important but we also know that if we're going to have a sustainable long-term engagement with Yemen if we're going to deal with the threat that it faces and we face as well. It's going to require a sustained engagement to deal with that country's very serious economic problems particularly the depletion of natural resources; it's got serious demographic challenges. Water, a depleting water table and also its governance problems and social issues and so our assistance is very much aimed at doing that very well." OUT TRT: 56


Daniel Benjamin, Coordinator for Counterterrorism
Soundbite (2)

Summary: Ambassador Benjamin says that the Obama Administration is very pleased by the strong stance Yemen has taken against Al-Qaeda.


IN: "We are very pleased by the strong stance that President Salih and his government have taken in terms of confronting Al-Qaeda, particularly since the December 17th engagements, operations that have continued through until this month. But I should also note that this is not - it may appear on the surface to be a suddenly new involvement in things Yemeni for the United States. But in fact, this Administration has been engaged on Yemen really since the very beginning. The new Administration came in and recognized early on that Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was gaining strength and was going to pose a significant terrorist threat and ordered up a comprehensive policy review to ensure that we were using all the tools at our power to deal with the terrorist threat there. That review was completed in the fall. OUT TRT: 1:10


Total TRT: 2:19

VIDEO PROVIDED BY: U.S. Department of Defense and Department of State


FOR TECHNICAL INFORMATION OR HARD COPY, PLEASE E-MAIL: digitalcenter@multivu.com


Media Contact: Ken Richards, +1-202-647-6251, richardskn@state.gov


/PRNewswire -- Jan. 25/


Video: http://thedigitalcenter.com/projects/1442-us-two-prong-strategy-with-yemen-government-to-provide-security-and-thwart-terrorism-on-the-arabian-peninsula
Source: U.S. Department of State

Web Site: http://www.state.gov/


Monday, January 25, 2010

Nigeria: Fears of Reprisal Attacks Loom in Northern Nigeria

Nigeria: Fears of Reprisal Attacks Loom in Northern Nigeria

The fears of reprisal attacks are rife in northern Nigeria after the gruesome religious mayhem in Jos and other parts of Plateau state left hundreds dead, with scores of corpses dumped in wells and toilet pits. Intolerant religious fanatics are using cell phones and other means of private communication to instigate members of their sects to mobilize for reprisal attacks to avenge the deaths of those they lost. The law enforcement agencies have been alerted and warning everyone in the middle belt and northern states to beware of Islamists who are already planning to launch widespread attacks on non-Muslims.

Unidentified men armed with guns and other weapons were arrested and detained Saturday night in Kaduna by the Nigeria Air Force.
Police officers of the Operation Yaki in Kaduna state are patrolling towns and villages to ensure the security of lives and properties.

Many indigenes of Abia, Bayelsa, Edo and other Southern states are already leaving the northern states for the safe havens of their hometowns. Some private schools in Borno and Yobe states turned back pupils, because they cannot guarantee their safety in the tensed atmosphere of insecurity.