The way things currently stand in the country has clearly shown that there is an urgent need for Nigerians to become more security-conscious in their day-to –day life. Since the global emergence of the new understanding of the concept of ‘security’ as the only mechanism for global socio-economic prosperity, security is now seen as “an all-encompassing condition in which individual citizen lives in freedom, peace and safety, participate fully in the process of governance, enjoy the protection of fundamental rights, have access to resources and the basic necessities of life; and inhibit an environment which is not detrimental to their health and well-being” (South African White Paper on Defence, 1996).
It is a historical realism that crime is as old as the existence of mankind on the surface of the earth. Consequently, crime has become an omnipresent temptation to which all mankind has become vulnerable. Nevertheless, there has been a progressive effort deliberately made by every society to combat crime; such effort range from enacting laws, rules and regulations to engaging members of the public including private sector by paying them to give full attention to issues that are incumbent to the collective wellbeing of the society. If there is any time on our national history when we need to be very alert in terms of security, it is now. This is because all across the country, cases of kidnapping, abduction, pipeline vandalization, retuals killing, theft, armed robbery and terrorist attacks stare us in the face on a regular basis. And the usual thing when we hear of such negative cases is to first heap blames on governments across the country. While it is true that government is the onerous responsibility of ensuring, security across the country, it is equally not far from the truth that security is a collective responsibility.
For instance, in Uyo metropolis, the police- personnel population ratio of 1-150, is considered a big security issue that must be the concern of well-meaning Nigerians. Hence, the AKPABIO administration in living up its billing, envisioned more highly trained men and women of the force working with modern logistic support, with effective cooperation and collaboration with other stakeholders through the popular launched State Security scheme such as QUIK RESPONSE SQUAD, OPERATION TURNDER, ANTI-KIDNAPPING SQUAD, ANTI-ROBBERY SQUAD, to complement with federal government initiatives of
OPERATION SWEEP, GBALE, FIRE FOR FIRE, JOINT TASK FORCES OF POLICE AND MILITARY PERSONNEL etc.
In-spite of the state government security initiatives such as the provision of helux to security agencies, banned of the activities of ‘okada’ riders within the capital territory, lightening up of the city at night, situating and naming of streets responders to get to crisis centre on time, Crime control and security theater gains importance both by satisfying and exploiting the gap between perceived risk and actual risk. STOP and SEARCH programmes by the police, CHECKPOINTS, RAIDS of drinking parlours, red light districts and hotels, presence of police and security guards in banks and other important business concerns and the patrolling of the Niger-Delta by military personnel, serious searches in the AIRPORTS and BORDERS are crime control or security theatres implemented.
Also sending those who live or trade at various plazas in the state packing to get rid of unscrupulous elements hiding in such places to perpetrate evil, among others, it is still quite clear that government efforts alone cannot surmount security challenges. Consequently, it is important for Nigerians to become highly vigilant about happenings within their immediate environment.
Since it is often said that all crimes are localized, criminals and perpetrators of evil deeds no doubt live within us and obtain the information about their victims through our carelessness. They are not spirits and do not have any magic to know our details. We, therefore, have a responsibility in our various neighborhoods to observe basic security hints and tips. We all have to take interest in strange characters, movements as well as conduct in our area and swiftly report same to the appropriate quarters for necessary action.
We must identify people with funny tendencies in our various compounds, streets, estates and communities. This includes people with no clear cut source of livelihood who, nevertheless, live ‘big’. We need to constantly be on our guards at all times because the agents of evil are cunning and smart.
Religious houses are not excluded in this process of renewed security consciousness. The various mosques and churches must be extra watchful especially towards men who hide under the pretext of coming for spiritual counseling to perpetrate dastardly acts. These are unusual times that need extraordinary precautions. Sometime in the past, it is unthinkable that places of worship could become targets of evil men. But that seems to be the norm today. Parents also need to be more proactive in the way they handle security issues relating especially to their children and domestic servants. If the children must be at home, they must be left under the care of responsible and mature adults.
It is risky to live children alone at home, especially during holidays. It is also important that children are taught basic security tips such as being extremely careful with strangers, playing within the confines of their compounds and ensuring that necessary domestic security measures are strictly adhered to. Similarly, children that have come of age ought to know the phone numbers and other personal details of their parents. Also, schools, especially private ones, should step up on security efforts within and outside their premises. Under no circumstances must unauthorized people be allowed to pick pupils from schools.
Every school must develop a Biometric database that have a full proof means of bringing pupils to school from their respective homes and vice versa. The school need be network with closed circuit surveillance television system (CCTV) to monitor movement of people in and out of the premises. It is equally advised that organizations should, as much as possible; discourage the idea of keeping huge amount of money within their premises. Efforts should be made to embrace current trend in cashless transactions to the later so that people will desist from carving huge cash around under whatever guise.
The federal government should move further to the use of Global Positioning System (GPS) for identifying trouble spot and directing law enforcement officers there for rapid intervention.
Night crawling is another aspect of our social life that we should re-consider. Except for those that must really work at night, it is quite risky to move about at night. For people who love to hang around at drinking joints after work, it is safer to do less of it now especially since they could as well go home from office ‘catch fun’ with their families. Indeed, considering the prevailing security situation in the country, this is the right thing to always do after a hard day’s work.
One other area where people need to exercise serious restraints is in their conversations. Most often, without knowing, people make themselves easy targets of unscrupulous elements through the reckless conversations they make in one places such as restaurants, public buses, offices, among others. Examples abound of people who have fallen victims to the antics of men of the underworld because they could not ‘control’ their mouths. Some go to the extent of boasting of their material possessions in open places and inadvertently arouse the attention of criminals. Also, those who do business must be careful with the kind of people they deal with.
It is important that they are cautions with the kind of ‘deal’ they are involved in most often, cases involving assassinations and other such vices arise from consequences of covert deals that people engage in from time to time. Now, Nigerians should know that as much as government has the responsibility to protect them, an effective public security can only be obtained with the active involvement, participation and support of every segment of the society. This is because public security is the organizations and other units that constitute the state.
Traditional rulers and religious leaders have a critical role to play and should motivate landlords and make associations known fact that despite the magnitude of government investment in public security, there are still Hercullean challenges that government’s resources alone cannot tackle. In as much as everyone in a state pursues varied interests, the criminality in every man, and the goal of all. The involvement and participation of individuals is, therefore, a necessity for the actualization of a secured society. In every situation and wherever you are always think security.