What is the approach of the government towards tackling the vandalisation of gas pipelines that feed national electricity infrastructure and other critical assets that have kept us in perpetual darkness as a nation?
The minders and apologists of President Jonathan are always quick to join issues with anybody who wants the government to take the necessary steps to correct certain anomalies. Of note is the recent article of mine “WHY NSA, ANDREW AZAZI, SHOULD RESIGN”, published on ekekeee.com. It was countered by a certain Naijawill who went further to demand that I apologize to the President and the NSA. Well, I think it’s the President and the NSA that must apologize to the Nation for failing in their core responsibility of protecting lives and property. The government should understand that citizens have the right to demand performance from them.
The crux of this article is to interrogate the national security plans or security policies of President Goodluck Jonathan, and strive to understand whether this government has any plan in place to tackle the myriad of national security challenges confronting us as a nation. Presidents and political leaders the world over develop a robust and comprehensive national security policy or doctrine towards effective tackling of national threats. National Security Doctrine encompasses not just the internal and external security environment and their interlinkages and implications, but also the constitutional, political, social, economic, financial, scientific, technological, business and commercial dimensions of security. The underlining fact or necessity for a national security doctrine lies in the utmost ability of a state to survive both culturally, politically and economically.
As a nation grapple with challenges, it is incumbent on the leader to articulate a doctrine that would lead the nation out of the woods. I have tried to search for any comprehensive policy that ought to have addressed the above scenario in Nigeria under the current leadership and I’m yet to come across any. The NSA promised us one almost nine months ago in his interview with THE GUARDIAN of July,2011 and up till now we are yet to see a document. It becomes even more worrisome when all the security chiefs and security advisors, including their commander-in-chief, are professing and suggesting different strategies to tackle security issues . Whereas the NSA is suggesting for the usual catch phrase “greater citizen participation” in tackling national security challenges, the Chief of Army Staff on the other hand was quoted in THE NATION of 25th January as having warned the Federal Government not to negotiate with Boko Haram. Two months later, his Commander-In-Chief, the President, is pleading with Boko HARAM to come to negotiation table and claiming to be winning the war on insecurity. And recently, he told the whole world that the Boko Haram insurgency will end June this year.
We now wonder what kind of leaders we have in this country. Everything about national insecurity must not be about Boko Haram and against BOKO HARAM. How about the socio-political dimensions of insecurity, including the economic disequilibrium that has caused widespread frustration across the country thereby resulting in widespread acts of crime and violence?
Our current National Security Challenges should not just be limited to Boko Haram alone, it has to be an encompassing and systematic integration of all elements of national interest and the ultimate protection of citizens’ rights. This government seems incapable of rising up to the occasion, and instead prefers reactionary mode to proactiveness
Recently, the Managing Director of Shell opined that Nigeria loses an alarming eight hundred billion naira annually to crude oil theft and we wonder what kind of security arrangement is put in place to check this menace. One would have thought that the Amnesty Programme would resolve militancy and economic sabotage in the Niger Delta region, but it seems some of these elements in the creeks have some sympathy within the government and security circles otherwise these acts of sabotage and acts of aggression against the state should have been dealt with by the highest security authority. Or we may conclude that the Amnesty Programme is failing, if it is not, why the daily attacks on oil installations and pipeline? Reports suggest that Nigerian stolen crude oil are smuggled to Eastern Europe where its exchanged for raw foreign currency and other tools for the illegal trade such as arms and ammunition and the government has never bothered to trace the destination of these stolen common wealth. Losing eight hundred billion naira to some group of criminals should put any right thinking government on enquiry, because such fund if ploughed into the national treasury would definitely provide the needed funds for our dying hospitals and education sector.
Another dangerous dimension to the question of national security which the government of President Jonathan has failed to tackle head on is the issue of human trafficking of Nigerians, by Nigerians, in conjunction with their foreign agents. Nigerians are trafficked to far flung countries as modern day slaves and there is no concerted efforts to combat the scourge apart from NAPTIP’s occasional arrest of charity organizations running alleged baby factories. It only takes the effort of other countries to remind us of how far we are from fighting human trafficking. For example, a CNN documentary “THE CNN FREEDOM PROJECT” aired the rescue by SPAINISH police authorities of Nigerians who were enslaved in SPAIN as prostitutes and drug traffickers. It also aired a report of a Taiwanese young lady who was sold to some couple in the United States as a slave doing all manner of domestic works. While the foreign minister of TAIWAN intervened personally in the case as a result of the report and ensured the young lady was taken back to TAIWAN, there was nothing to suggest that the Nigerian government cared through its foreign ministry or through the embassy to rescue those Nigerians. And you now ask: what is the responsibility of maintaining an embassy abroad if they cannot follow up on cases of Nigerians who have been enslaved in those countries as a result of harsh economic conditions and poverty at home? This phenomenon degrades Nigeria as a sovereign nation and ridicules Nigeria’s national interest.
The Peoples Republic of China under chairman MAO articulated a doctrine that sought to insulate China from the whims and caprices of the world’s technological, scientific and economic dictates and the result today is seen in the exponential growth of China as contender for the world’s super power position. And it is this same China that Nigeria has entrusted its billions of naira space technology programme to. Such action by the government is not only a threat to our national security but a colonization of our national life via the airspace. What is the relevance of this space technology to ordinary Nigerians? What kind of country mortgages its future to another country? What is wrong with endowing a space technology programme in a given Nigerian university? What is Nigeria’s policy on self-sufficiency in science and technology?
Every Nigerian needs to enquire from the President his national security doctrine. What is the approach of the government towards tackling the vandalisation of gas pipelines that feed national electricity infrastructure and other critical assets that have kept us in perpetual darkness as a nation? What is the relationship between our peacekeeping efforts in Africa sub-region and Nigeria’s national interest? What level of premium does Nigeria place on its citizens at home and abroad? These questions are adequately answered in the good books of Presidents who ensured their nations were wrestled out of mediocrity.
Every national government and economy that has succeeded today has always had a national security doctrine or policy which is the life wire of any nation as a sovereign entity. The Brazilian Junta of 1970s created a doctrine that laid the foundation for one of South America’s most prosperous countries of today. Same for the United States of America who maintains her super power position with same doctrine irrespective of whom the sitting president is.
This present government must provide us with answers to the above questions otherwise we could reach a conclusion that the government, to all intents and purposes, allows incompetence and deceit to thrive in order to create a complex web of misappropriation of public funds to service the greed of a few and allow the weak and the hapless to suffer economic injustice and insecurity, thereby making the nation a caricature of a country.
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