From the big man who gallivants in pounds and dollars in Abuja, to the wheel barrow pusher struggling for his daily earnings under the scorching sun of the Kano city market, it is no more than that which was succinctly described by former American Republican politician, Jodi Rell when she said; “At the end of the day, the goals are simple: Safety and Security”.
The very antithesis of today’s Nigeria, the hydraheaded prevailing menace – kidnapping,: be it an average resident in his modest bungalow apartment or the mighty fellow in his gigantic mansion, none is spared from the dreaded act which is gaining momentum each passing day. Not the many who are poor nor the few who are rich are spared.
In the recent lists is the case of the kidnapped father- in-law to the President, the Magajin Daura who was bundled and abducted right in front of his house in the ancient city of Daura , Katsina State, where he was relaxing after observing his evening (magrib) prayers. The old man is said to be in captivity till date.
Also of note is the recent abduction of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) Chairman who was kidnapped alongside his daughter on the Abuja – Kaduna road but he was lucky to gain freedom. The list goes on, while the government watches.
Few weeks back, it was in news that the Federal Government approved the release of N1.4 billion for the design of a proposed building structure in Abuja known as the Department of Petroleum Resources. Well, I may not be versed with huge monetary figures, but I need not be told that a billion consists of a thousand millions. Imagine N1.4 billion approved only for the design of a building, not even the main construction which according to the Minister of Petroleum will cost the FG N35 billion.
This is a department that is already existing in Lagos discharging its functions effectively. Yet the Federal Government for reasons best known to them deemed it fit to shift the department to Abuja and construct for it, a gigantic tower, in the face of all that is happening in the country. It is important I reiterate that the proposed tower whose design only cost over a billion naira and construction worth about 35 times the initial figure is NOT a refinery but a department containing some hundred staff whose jurisdiction exceeds not the realms of pen and paper works. I am therefore forced to ask, how much has the government allocated so far to the security department of the country, in light of the rampant kidnappings and brewing chaos and instability in various parts of the nation.
My faculty hosted the Kano State Commissioner of Police a fortnight ago where he bemoaned the low funding of the Police Force and the inadequate access to evolving global technological devices used in crime and criminal detection.
It is only in this country that a police officer was abducted and the Police force offered some hundred thousands to whosoever could hint them about his whereabouts. A true testimony to the inefficiency and shorthandedness of the body vested with the protection of lives and property, yet the government today is willing to spend N35 billion on a worthless enterprise with no direct bearing to the life and well being of the citizenry.
Thomas Jefferson said it all when he posited that ‘for a people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well-organized and armed militia is their best security.’ The consequences of neglecting the proper equipment and necessary well being of the security department of a nation is the overwhelming presence of fear, terror and instability. The earlier the government realises this, the better.
Munir Ishaq Morality writes from Faculty of Law, Bayero University Kano.