….Okoye, Chuka Peter
John Anderson once said: “War is big business. It’s a lot of money going to and fro ……”
The high level of insecurity in Nigeria is raising so much concern as to whether the sun upon the huge investment towards the fight against same will ever set. Fact is, in as much as “it’s a lot of money going to and fro”, war is no good business. Peace is priceless!
The fight against insecurity in our nation today needs not to render her bankrupt. Because it doesn’t matter how much money we spend fighting insecurity, we cannot afford to underfund education for example. Obviously, there are other factors that may equally be the root causes of this menace and we really need to pay attention to them such as drug abuse.
On this premise, permit me to step this issue down to a state level with focus on Abia state; Aba to be precise. I am yet to witness impressive developments in the area of fight against drug abuse in the city of Aba. Growing up in this city back in the days, the narrative was that if any youth was a drug addict or peddler, you record a lot of times he was found falling into the hands of NDLEA and other security operatives for rehabilitation or prosecution. And of course, there was relative low rate of insecurity back then.
Unfortunately, that’s not the narrative in this day and age. My checks revealed that the previous administration on trying to proffer solution to insecurity within the Aba main park issued a directive for all drug peddlers to relocate from York street to Ngwa Road end/Good morning market, near Orji Uzor Kalu bridge, which was a very poor approach in the fight against drug abuse and, by extension, insecurity. This axis presently, is said to be the drug-peddlers and addicts den/save haven and also the breeding ground for criminals who have been terrorizing the inhabitants of that area with impunity. And I would advise the present administration to find a more realistic approach to dealing with this issue, such as to clamp down on these criminals for prosecution and get the addicted ones rehabilitated.
This is because the government cannot effectively fight insecurity while a large number of her youths continue to abuse drugs.
Therefore, I suggest the following steps to be taken by the government, if actually they are passionate about curbing insecurity even at the national level, intensify the fight against drug abuse which is widely known to be the bane of insecurity through a localized campaign against drug supply and demand reduction, including establishment/activation of rehabilitation centres in order to facilitate the healing/recovery of some addicts, stop the use of the military in handling internal security, more especially in issues related to civil unrest like it is done in other climes.
Again, put a stop to the military-jackboot approach in shrinking the civil space and possibly end such an undemocratic idea, entrench and groom a reciprocated realistic relationship between the civilians and security operatives in order to facilitate a robust information sharing between both parties for security purposes, initiate a localized diplomatic approach in solving issues with an aggrieved group through a round table discussion, like dialogue, focus on the training and deployment of security personnel with high threshold of tolerance into crisis prone areas in order to nip any suspected insecurity issue(s) in the bud and finally, to always involve the organized relevant civil society organizations in conceptualizing a sustainable and realistic localized approach in curbing insecurity.
Okoye, Chuka Peter is presently the Executive Director of Centre for Human Rights Advocacy and Wholesome Society (CEHRAWS), a private not for profit, non-religious and non-partisan, pro-democracy organization committed to the entrenchment of good governance, respect for the rule of law and protection of the universal human rights of Nigerians, particularly the vulnerable, with base in Aba, Abia State. He is a native of Enugwu-Agidi in Nijikoka local government area of Anambra State, born and raised in the ancient city of Aba, Abia State.