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Why Nigeria's Security Organizations will continue to suffer a decline in operational efficiency




It would not be entirely out of place for anybody living in today's Nigeria to say that almost all the security establishments in the country are suffering from one form of operant dysfunction or the other.

It would not also be proper to blame the self-slighting decay that is as perceptible as daylight on one single administration, person, group or region.

What would, however, not be subject to dispute or contestation if you like, is that it has been a carelessly permitted worsening journey into the atrophying of their defining substances.

In short, our culpability as a collective to the Aegean stable the security setup in the country has become is being daily reinforced, condemned, overlooked as it may serve our petty existential desires.

Yes. Almost all could be said to have had their moments of brilliance and glory as far as the discharge of their constitutional responsibility is concerned particularly externally while serving on the United Nations peacekeeping mission in different parts of the world over.

Take the Nigerian Military for instance, it has been one story of exemplary gallantry and professional thoroughness after another from  its first experience in Congo (ONUC) from 1960 to 1964 to Liberia to Sierra Leone to Yugoslavia to name a few.

You will recall it even dispatched the breakaway Republic of Biafra with a firm ruthlessness. In short, the Nigerian Military has been seen in the past through the prism of not just being good but feared and revered the world over.

The Nigeria Police Force, on the other hand, has also won laurels after laurels outside the shores of Nigeria. In fact, on more than one occasion it has been adjudged the most outstanding peace keeping team by the United Nations.  But that's where it stopped.

Combined, their inability to replicate the same high level of professionalism at home these days, especially, has become a cause for concern among security experts; and everyday Nigerians too many of whom have been a victim of police high-handedness or brutality if you prefer and without reprieve too.

The Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigerian Police (SARS) has become the latest sad reminder of the upward spiralling of the rot in the system with the way it operatives have been going about it mandate of nipping crime in the bud.

Summarily, many innocent persons have been reportedly brutally or shot dead on the ground of criminal allegations leveled against them, while scores especially dashing looking young guys are being harassed on a daily basis for cruising around our major towns and cities in state-of-the-art cars.

Sighting someone with a laptop or an expensive smart phone could also be a ground for harassment in the hands of officers and men of the Nigerian Police.

At last, they are extorted and let off the hook. But a scapegoat is made out of those who are unable to make financial settlement.

I'm not insinuating that the police should not carry out it official assignment of arresting and prosecuting an accused person(s) but it should be done within the confines of the relevant laws, after all, an accuse going by the Nigeria constitution is presume to be innocent until the contrary is established in the court of competent jurisdiction.

Visible also is a lack of collaboration among them. We have seen police officers maltreating and even killing an officer of a sister security agency like the National Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC) in a case of superiority contest.

The Wukari murder of police operatives on a covert mission by soldiers which led to the escape of a kidnap kingpin Hamisu Wadume is the latest signpost that something is indeed organically wrong with the security architecture of the country.

Some decades ago at the Sabo area of Yaba, Lagos State, an overzealous policeman reportedly killed a high-ranking army officer allegedly for intruding in his business of bribe taking.

And in a swift retaliation, a group of army personnel brutally attacked the Sabo police station from where the policeman who killed the officer was believed to have been drawn killing and maiming many of them who have the misfortune of being on duty.

And like I said earlier, if they are not maltreatment each other they are dishing out the crude treatments to Nigerians across all ages

For decades now, this has been the narratives on the pages of our newspapers. And I think there will continue to be a decline in the operational efficiency of our security agencies because (1.)

There is a growing decline in the pool of ethically oriented Nigerians who looked to joining the service professionally. Military career is not for lilly-hearted because it involves paying the supreme price in the defence of national territorial integrity.

However, today, a lot of Nigerians look to join the service not in principle as required but for the flimsiest of reasons like for the purpose of settling an old score.

In many instances too, forms are collected for people who never openly expressed their interest for the job.

And so they are either railroad or persuaded to follow that path having been made them to see the benefits and glamour while neglecting the huge responsibility that comes with such a job. No wonder cases of soldiers going on AWOL are a common occurrences these days.

I once met a soldier who confessed to have gone AWOL after being deployed to the North-east in the war against the Boko Haram. His reason was he's too young to die. And you wonder what such a person is doing in the army in the first place.

But at the same time, I discovered he was still profiting from related activity because people hire him for personal or industrial security purposes. And all he does was recruit people and even get some of his colleagues who are still in service to work for his clients.

(2.) There is a growing list also of people who see enlisting in any of the security organizations as the last resort.

This class of people join any of the security agencies because they have nothing doing and with a view to rehabilitate themselves. So a career in any of the security forces has become an instrument of rehabilitation for many never do well in the society. And what could be more disturbing, they are usually long past the required age and cannot be optimally put to use.

(3.) Many more continue to see enlisting as a route to a career of their choice because in the interim what they want isn't available.

This class of people actually want to be in another field but cannot afford what is required to get there.

So they take to a short career in any of the security agencies build the needed capacity and move on when the time is right.

(4.) There is also the question of defective recruitment and training processes.

Due diligence is rarely done in the process of recruitment by the military and para-military forces. And many have also called to question the quality of the training they are being exposed to.

For this reasons, those who have question marks on their character find their way in and the corruption continues because they are ill-equipped to carry out their duty.

Many are even assisted to skip one of two steps of the way and they are made to believe it is cool by those who claimed to be helping them. Let me relate a personal experience.

I attempted enlisting in the Nigerian Army over a decade ago and though I didn't make it for the discrepancies in my documentations.

After I was screened out during the interview session by a panel which comprise military officers and a representative of the Abeokuta South Local Government.

Some of my colleagues who succeeded and with whom I had exchange phone contacts told me how strange faces emerged from nowhere to join them for the next phase of the recruitment exercise in Enugu.

Can you tell me why people with either criminal records or are half-interested in the job will not find their way into the system? They will and the nastiness we see all around will persist.

(5.) Closely linked to the above is the problem of political interference. Politicians for political gains do all sorts which contribute to undermining the integrity of the security agencies in the country.  They are usually the ones compromising the process by influencing who join and who doesn't.

(6.) Greed is another impediment to the operational efficiency of the security organizations. Greed is a factor behind some the corrupt practises know with members of the Nigerian security forces.

Nigerian security personnel are not the worst paid public officials yet they are always more than willing to manipulate the system to feather their own nest. However, greed is one need that can never be satisfied.

And a man who is greedy, whether you pay him all the money in the world, he will still not be contented therefore submitting to the lures of abusing the rules of engagement as stipulated by their profession.
So my submission is that Nigerian security personnel are greedy going by the act of extortion they are know for.

(7.) Poor remuneration is another hindrance to operational efficiency in the Nigeria's security system.

Security experts have repeatedly make a case for an improved salary structure for security personnel in the country to enhance their dedication to duty.

While I've my reservations as regards this, I'll nevertheless discountenanced it if an effort is applied in this direction. May be it would help, just may be. You never can tell.

I believe if something is done about the areas I've touched on above, we can then be talking of raising the bar concerning the flagging discipline, diminishing collaboration, and operational inefficiency currently being witnessed in virtually all the security outfits in the country.




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