SPEECH ON INSECURITY IN NIGERIA PREPARED BY COMRADE SANI ALIYU, CORPS COMMANDANT GENERAL (CCG) OF NIGERIAN ELITE SECURITY ORGANISATION (NESO) IN HONOUR OF MR. BAN KI-MOON, SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS DURING A VISIT TO NIGERIA.
*( NESO’s CCG would have delivered this address, but he was not able to do so due to situations beyond his control)
- His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari GCFR
President, Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Your Excellency, we wish you success, and pledged our unalloyed support to your vision and mission to making Nigeria great once again. We wish you well.
- His Excellency, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon,
Secretary General of the United Nations
Your job is a herculean task – You are dealing with a community of nations, tackling war, diseases, hunger, disasters and recently terrorism and insurgency that were unheard of in the recent past. May I give some good news – with your commitment, dedication and the whole world behind you – there is light at the end of the tunnel and the world will eventually enjoy peace, progress and development.
- Distinguished Senator(Dr.) Bukola Saraki
The Senate President of Nigeria
- Hon. Yakubu Dogara,
The Speaker, House of Representatives
I wish you both success as you legislate and provide instruments for rule of law and good governance in Nigeria.
- Justice, Mahmud Mohammed
The Chief Justice of Nigeria
I wish you wisdom, as you oversee the interpretation of laws and dispensations of justice in Nigeria. The saying that the wine gets better with age is relevant.
- Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Other dignitaries present, the Fourth Estate, invited guest, distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.
For me, it is an honour and a rear privilege to address this august gathering on a topic such as insecurity, because it is germane.
Insecurity implies a state of: vulnerability, defenselessness, unguardedness, lack of protection, danger, instability, fragility, unsteadiness and unreliability amongst others.
A state of insecurity can be characterized by lack, disease, malnutrition, disputes, attacks, killings, destruction, vandalism and many more. Insecurity simply implies the absence of comfort, peace and harmony that can pose challenges against economic growth and development in any nation.
Insurgency and Terrorism Internationally:
Insurgency and terrorism is a global security challenge. We are aware of attacks:on embassies overseas, in UN Building in Abuja, at the Boston Marathon, World Trade Centre in New York popularly known as 911, suicide bombings and many more.
The UN, US and other countries have expended billions of US Dollard to fight and combat insurgency and terrorism in the world. Unfortunately, the big budgets and sacrifices have not ended the threats. The more they are attacked and killed the more they re-build and change tactics. If a leader of a group is killed another emerges that may be more monstrous and cruel. The world celebrated the killing of Bin Laden, unfortunately that did not end Al Qaeda. The killing of many leaders of Taliban, Al Shabab, ISIS, Boko Haram, etcdid not bring to an end such groups. In fact, they are more sophisticated and daring by their various attempts to even annex lands from other countries and declaring such lands as their territories.
Insecurity and Nigeria in the Past:
Years ago, the security challenges in Nigeria were basically: thievery, armed robbery, communal and religious clashes.
Armed Robbery: We may recall the infamous Lawrence Anini, a notorious armed robber, in the 1980s. He had an armed robbery gang that included Monday Osunbor, Ofege and others. They started out as car hijackers, bus robbers and bank thieves. Gradually, they extended their criminal acts to other towns and cities far north and east of Benin in Nigeria. They were apprehended, tried, sentenced and executed. Many times this does become news as few people are affected at a time.
Ethnic, Communal and Religious Crisis: These occur once in a while. They are usually caused by land disputes; grazing on farmlands, provocations; pursuits of personal interests above those of others and a host of other causes. Some of this clashes include: “Tiv and Jukun” in 1959, 1980, 1990 and 2001;“Ijaw and Itsekiri” in 1997; “Ife and Modakeke in 2001; “Umuleri, Aguleri and Umuoba-Anam” in the 1990s, especially in 1999; and “Ombatse and Alago” in 2013;
Cultism: This is common on the school campuses involving groups of students that come together to protect their selfish and diabolical interests. When the interests of rival groups are in conflict, this results in attacks where various weapons like sticks, machetes, axes and even guns are used leading to deaths and injuries. This security challenge occurred sometimes without or with little causality depending on the scale or magnitude. The Nigerian Police usually tackle such and restore peace immediately.
Nigerians by nature are peaceful, hardworking and obey constituted authorities. This is the original Nigerian. His Excellency, Mr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali former Secretary-General of the
United Nations, affirmed this, years ago. A Journalist asked him of where he intended to spend his retirement and he said Nigeria adding that Nigeria is the only country on earth where inflation surges, jolts the population and they accommodate it without any form of violent reaction. For some, this may sound cynical. But it was a reality in the history of Nigeria. In fact, apart from inflation, a free and fair election was annulled in the 90s and the country still enjoyed peaceful coexistence.
Insurgency and Terrorism in Nigeria:
Something that was strange and alien crept into Nigeria – Insurgency and terrorism. We used to hear it in the news as they happen in the middle-east and we wondered how humans could maim or kill other humans without provocations.
Today, Boko Haram, a terrorist organisation, is a major security threat in Nigeria. These strange bad fellows have dealt a deadly and immeasurable blow on Nigeria. They perpetrate cruelty and evil as have never been seen or heard before in this country. Tens of thousands were massacred, homes destroyed, towns leveled, hostages taken, students abducted, refugees created in their land and children are used as suicide bombers.
A publication by News Rescue on Thursday, August 22, 2013 titled “Analysis: Boko Haram From Ecomog To Terrorists To Rebels To Bandits” obtainable from the link http://newsrescue.com/analysis-boko-haram-from-ecomog-to-terrorists-to-rebels-to-bandits/#ixzz3jSf2QSii stated as follows:
“Boko Haram according to records, evolved from a militia group initially constituted and armed by the then governor of Borno, … and other politicians, nicknamed “Ecomog”; these militia were hired political thugs constituted from jobless University graduates and street wanderers, criminals, abandoned almajiri’s and thugs. … These youths defend the interest of any politician who pays their fees. Ecomog can be traced to the era of SDP and were first organized by former Vice President… In different states, they bear different names such as Ecomog in Borno and Yobe state, Sara-Suka in Gombe state, Yan-Kallare in Bauchi state, Banu-Isra’il in Taraba state and Yan-Shinko in Adamawa state. The use of political thugs like Ecomog is not peculiar to North-Eastern Nigeria but Nigeria as a whole. They execute criminal political activities similar to militia gangs in other parts of the country such as the ‘Bakasi Boys’ in Eastern Nigeria, the ‘Niger-Delta Defense Force’ in the Niger-Delta region, the Yan Gumurzu or Yan daba in Kano, the Odua Youth Movement among others. Their sprouting was never hindered by Nigeria’s head of security, National Security Adviser (NSA) ….”
Today, insurgency and Terrorism in Nigeria is not traceable to any part of our cultural antecedents. It is worthy of note that terrorism is a menace in Nigeria that is synonymous to politics traceable to the advancement of democracy in Nigeria. Before 1999, during the military administration there was no insurgency and terrorism of the magnitude, this was because the Maitatsine insurgents during the Military era led by General Muhammadu Buhari were crushed at their embryonic stage. The power that politicians garnered at the birth of democracy in Nigeria was not properly managed. This calls for retracing our political integrity in line with patriotism.
Groups like Odua’ people’s Congress (OPC), Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), etc cropped up. A militant group headed by Mr. Ganiyu Adams resulted from OPC and it becomes the first official violent militant group in Nigeria. At this time the then President Obasanjo took the part of dialogue. This was mistaken by other youth groups to be granting OPC legitimacy for their violence agitations. This brought about other militancy groups like MEND in the South-South Nigeria. This can be seen as the genesis of the escalation of violent insurgency in Nigeria.
Some of these militants were somehow rewarded through the amnesty programme. This is not to criticize the programme but to note history. The militants were fixed on monthly allowances, given scholarships to study abroad and some were given juicy contracts to provide security for some national facilities at exorbitant rates. Some of these militants became strong and powerful leaders politically and financially.
- Every member of a terrorist group is a human being from a family and community. They are members of the societies. In fact many are known. “Jihadi John” Mohammed Emwazi), a Kuwaiti-British man was identified. Some people in his former community know him.
- Terrorism starts small and gradually grows big, if they were not checked or nothing happens. When the government is ready to intervene it is usually late and the threat has grown. A small issue that could be handled by a Divisional Police Post later becomes a jumbo threat requiring an international coalition like the Joint Task Force against Boko Haram consisting of Nigeria, Chad, Mali and Cameroun.
- War has not provided the needed permanent solution. There is a need to critically consider other tactics, which is prevention from its roots in the first place.
NESO approach to Fighting Insurgency:
NESO (Nigerian Elite Security Organisation) is a Non-Governmental and Non-Profit Organisation established borne out of a strong commitment in the unity, peace and security of Nigeria. The organisation is a conglomerate of Nigerian volunteers presently numbering about 70,000 and is present in many communities nationwide. The target is to cover every part of Nigeria.
The volunteers obtain, process, and document security information to provide such information to the conventional security agencies like: Police, DSS and DMI amongst others, as may be applicable, for their necessary action(s). The major target of NESO is to assist toward fighting and containing insurgency and other crimes in Nigeria by providing early information to the conventional security operatives to tackle such threats at their early stages.
- NESO believes that one of the best approaches to combating insurgency and terrorism is prevention from incubation rather than curative. Security threats should be identified early through credible intelligence, acting aptly and swiftly to prevent the growth of such threats. Nothing should be taken for granted. Government and the people should be proactive.
- There should be family and Community Policing. Every member of a family or a community should be watched by each other. When strange traits are seen in person, such individual should be examined closely, counseled and not stigmatized. If such individual is not responsive, the individual should be handed over to security operatives. It is no news that members of Boko Haram have killed their own family and community members who are against their cause. We should not cover or protect any individual with symptoms of indoctrination or radicalization who can later destroy families and communities.
NESO has come up with a strategy that is faceless and very unconventional that can assist in the war against insurgency and terrorism by identifying them; knowing them through assimilation; studying their mindset; understanding their level of brainwash; studying the reason why they do what they do; understanding the remote causes; making them know the consequence of their unpopular actions; rehabilitating and reintegrating them. Surely, this is not an easy but a risky task. However, it is possible and attainable.
NESO has also designed advocacy like (KYN) amongst other strategies to enlighten and educate the general public on security consciousness. This is a template that if deployed, insurgents and terrorists migration would be near impossible.
NESO is ready to work with the Nigerian Government and also the UN by rendering assistance and support for the prevention, combating and eliminating insurgency and terrorism.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I appreciate your time and thank you for listening.
Comrade Sani Aliyu