Today, there is undoubtedly no major priority in Nigeria that is as serious as security. Though governments protect (citizens from one another and from foreign enemies), produce (products and resources to sustain life) and provide (education, infrastructure and welfare to people) as three core responsibilities, government as a protector is the oldest and foremost justification of government. This is because without security, no one is safe and all aspirations on production and provision are nil. In fact, it is only in the context of security that peace and development can grow.
It is in this regard that programmes and activities are these days devoted to addressing the dynamics of the precarious security situation in the country as well as the pathways out of the logjam. For instance, the University of Ilorin Muslim Community on Saturday, May 25, 2019 organised its Ramadan Lecture at the University Auditorium on “Spirituality in the Security of a Nation: Lessons from Ramadan”. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics) of Kwara State University, Prof. Sulaiman Jamiu, did justice to the well-received lecture, which dwelt heavily on the security challenges ensnaring Nigeria. The day after, I was in Iwo to address the Ola Olu Muslim Society on their own Ramadan Lecture which also bordered on security: “Prophetic Responses to Security Threats in the Formative Years of Islam.” The intention of the organisers was also to draw appropriate lessons in view of the current situation in the country.
Though the Federal Government deserves to be commended for substantially degrading the Boko Haram terrorists who in 2014 occupied many Local Governments in Nigeria, a point made by President Muhammad Buhari when he feasted a select mix of traditional and religious leaders to an iftar dinner last Monday (May 27, 2019) at the State House, the fact still remains that security is still a major concern and personal security appears to have reached a low nadir in the country. Therefore, all hands should be on deck to ensure the security of life and property while all efforts across board towards ensuring it are right on target.
Personal security is essential and it should be given utmost priority by everyone. As a key component of human security, the World Bank in 2000 in a study, Voices of the Poor: Crying out for Change, conducted an extensive fieldwork in which over 60,000 men and women in the developing countries were interviewed. The study found that physical security is what is primary to the poor or the masses. This security manifests in the desire for stability of income, predictability of one’s daily life, protection from crime and protection from fear.
Now, the poor are afraid as they are not safe from armed robbery and kidnapping while the rich also cry because they can no longer move freely along some major routes in the country because of the activities of the kidnappers. Terrorists, bandits, rustlers, kidnappers, armed robbers, ritualists, rapists and all sorts of criminals are holding the nation at the jugular. Suicide rates are getting higher among us as people are increasingly getting depressed and frustrated about life as a result of concerns about their human security, which revolves around economic security, food security, health security, environmental security, personal security, community security and political security, the seven dimensions of which constituted the focus of a 2004 UNDP report of 2004 entitled “Seven Dimensions of Human Security.”
While the concern about security across the country is real, fortunately, it appears that the Federal Government is poised to give it due attention. As a right step forward, just a day after President Muhammadu Buhari was inaugurated for a second term in office, the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) convoked a Stakeholders’ Workshop last Thursday (May 30, 2019) at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, to validate the draft National Security Strategy (2019). If the outcome of the well-crafted and comprehensive Strategy and the vital inputs made by stakeholders are given the teeth to bite, there is no doubt that the security challenges facing Nigeria are surmountable. The Strategy is a welcome plan because to fail to plan is to automatically plan to fail.
While the traditional approach to security is often tilted towards knee-jerk tactics and procurement of weapons, what is needed today is to ensure good governance and curb the proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALW), which the National Security Strategy (2014) puts at one million in Nigeria and 10 million in Africa. From all indications, there are too many illegal weapons in circulation with which criminals threaten and attack the rest of us.
Apart from curtailing the proliferation of arms, there is also an urgent need for ethical renaissance among Nigerians. A situation in which in the name of entertainment in music and home video, social vices such as drug abuse, cybercrime, prostitution and alcoholism are glamorised requires attention as the impressionistic youth often consider what they see on the screen as ‘woke’.
Ultimately, good governance is the number one antidote against insecurity and it in this regard that the new Governors and those whose mandates have been renewed are urged to prioritise it because the town and the gown are just part of each other.
UNILORIN as a foremost university
For being the most subscribed university with a total of 86,401 candidates, the University of Ilorin was on Thursday, May 23, 2019 conferred with the National Tertiary Admission Performance Merit Award by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) through the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. Four other tertiary institutions in the country received awards in other categories.
With that recognition, the University has maintained its pre-eminent status in the Nigerian university system as a centre of excellence where quality learning is provided in an atmosphere peace, stability and serenity.
The Alma Mater congratulates the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, and the entire university community on the award while wishing the university more success stories and garlands.