Ife Adebayo: Security in Nigeria – Of powerless guns and gated communities (Y! Politico)

by Ife Adebayo

Ife Adebayo

In spite of the increase in guns, gated communities… insecurity continues to increase. This is because the solution to insecurity is not guns, nor is it gated communities… it is basically fulfilling all the items listed in my Nigeria’s hierarchy of needs.

I was driving on the Ibadan-Ife Highway a few weeks ago and felt a little bit sleepy. I could not get any safe place to park. It is unsafe to just park by the road side for various reasons. One of those reasons is that any car, lorry, trailer could swerve off the road and hit you. This is why in England if you have a car problem on the highway you are asked by the emergency services to park the car, get out of it and stand a distance away from the car. But you see, most importantly in Nigeria it is unsafe to just park by the roadside on the express as you could just lose your car. I have heard such stories numerously where someone parked on the highway to just take a wee and a car parked beside them, guys with guns come out and they take your car away. Well, I continued driving sleepy until I arrived at a mechanic workshop, parked there and took a nap. It felt much wiser and safer.

In the last couple of weeks I’ve been writing about the basic needs for survival for Nigerians and I said the most basic of needs for Nigerians to survive are (in no particular order) food, electricity, shelter, roads, education, employment, healthcare. I didn’t include security in this list because I believe if we can provide every item on the list we wouldn’t have to worry about security. However, today I’m writing about security.

I am not writing about the Boko Haram type of security. That is a special case. I am writing about the security of the common man in traffic in Lagos, the security in my living room in Enugu, the security of my car parked on the road in Abuja. Security in Nigeria is eroding at a very alarming rate. We are now a nation with vanishing communities, our communities have been replaced with gated estates and high fences, security companies are popping up in every corner, gates have “protected by bla-bla security outfit” on them. Every big man has a police escort. NSCDC officials now carry guns, FRSC officials also want guns, the police have been militarized, and they even wear camouflage uniforms now. Everywhere you turn there are policemen with guns, on the highways, banks, offices, traffic junctions, checkpoints.

In spite of the increase in guns, gated communities etc., insecurity continues to increase. This is because the solution to insecurity is not guns, nor is it gated communities. I like to write less about problems and more about solutions, but really there’s nothing much to write as a solution to insecurity because the solution to insecurity is economic advancement, jobs, affordable food, affordable healthcare, shelter, basically fulfilling all the items listed in my Nigeria’s hierarchy of needs. That is the solution to insecurity.

I tweeted earlier this week that when the poor have nothing more to eat, they’ll start to eat the rich. When that time comes your Mopol escort won’t save you, your gated estates will provide no bunker, your high fences with barbed wires will cave , all the money you’ll throw at them won’t count then, because you’ll be the only thing their appetite wants to eat, their taste buds will hunger after nothing else, their throats will thirst after nothing else.

Over the last few months I’ve been bombarded with news of agricultural reforms, how the banking sector has improved, new government policies for housing etc. But over the last few months I’ve also learned that government policies no matter how good they look on paper are a total waste of time when they do not affect the lives of the average citizen, when we have ASUU on strike for months and the president is more interested in PDP power tussles, when we churn out graduates and there are no jobs, when companies are closing down at an alarming rate, when bank loans are given at interest rates as high as 26%.

Basically this government isn’t just getting it. And Nigeria cannot continue to do the same thing after 2015 and expect a different result. We are wobbling and staggering towards 2015. We must change course in 2015. We must give another party a chance; we have a party that has shown in the states they govern that they can implement change, we should give this party a chance at the federal level. As Mutiu the conductor said “change cannot always be given to you, sometimes you have to bring change yourself.”

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Ife Adebayo is an IT Consultant with work experience in Germany, United Kingdom and Nigeria. He currently runs his own IT firm in Lagos, Nigeria. He is an ardent believer in the Nigerian project and encourages all Nigerians to become actively involved in making Nigeria a better place.

Ife is a registered member of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Epe Local Government, Lagos State. He was an active member of the UK branch of the party, holding the post of Youth Leader for the year 2010/2011.

 

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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