……Our Security, Our Peace by Dr. O.E Bassey
“Security is so sensitive, technical and broad that it cannot only be marshalled by the government alone. So smart and knowledgeable has been the Yahaya administration to this dynamic of security that it created a system that sees an indomitable synergy between the government and the people coming together to birth optimal results in the prevention of crimes and the safety of lives and properties.”
The Northern part of Nigeria, more than any part of the country, has been the worst hit in the scope of insecurity in the country. Since the vicious emergence of the terrorist sect, Boko Haram and their nefarious pastime: bombings, the once-peaceful and tourist-delight half of Nigeria has pitifully morphed into a zone of dread and scare with evolving menace such as banditry, kidnappings, Fulani-herdsmen clashes, religious conflicts and whatnot.
However, as much as the northern part of the country takes the blanket infamy of unrest and insecurity, it is interest-piquing to note that not all states and regions up north have been besetted by such atrocities as some have it far lesser than the other, and vice-versa. As such, it will be incorrect to say that all states in their northern part of the country are unsafe as a few states, like Gombe in the North-East, have been able to invent and incorporate ingeniously and contemporary peace and security measures to keep lives and properties within its borders in calm and safety.
Just last week, it had its first peace and security summit, bringing together security personnel, government officials, traditional and religious stakeholders under one roof to cross-fertilize ideas on how to continue to make Gombe safer and more protected from harms and attacks as seen impaling sisters states.
In the summit, the Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya recounted the measures the state has been taken, amid disagreeable elements, to have succeeded in having Gombe regarded, as published recently by a reputable risk and security consulting organization, as the state in the northern region that has recorded the least incidences of killings, kidnappings and other violent crimes.
The state, internally, has had to battle it out with the notorious Kalare group, political thuggery and youth restiveness that have threatened its peace and security, but in taming their excesses, the state has been up and doing blending both local security efforts, policing and traditional authorities to bring tranquil that makes for harmonious living in the state.
An evidence of the measures they took was the establishment of the Gombe State Security, Traffic and Environmental Corps that was saddled with the ultimate goal of employing over 2000 youths with the first batch of 500 corps already in service to support the statutory agencies in the maintenance of law and order in the state.
This initiative was put together with a dual purpose: one being to have the youths in the state significantly engaged in state building, and second, to have their efforts contributing to peace and order within Gombe State.
Another measure taken by the Inuwa Yahaya administration to diffuse overwhelming peace and establish water-tight security in and around Gombe State was the establishment of the first-of-its-kind Ministry of Internal Security and Ethical Orientation tasked with the responsibility of providing an institutional framework at the state level to support the Federal Government security agencies while also providing a framework for proactive resolution of conflict. And to this end, to evidence how successful that strategic move has been, the state has been experiencing a drastic reduction in crime rates, conflicts and violence.
Also, in a bid to ensure they have a robust crime prevention system in cognizance of how the prevention of crime is better than having to get embroiled in damage control, they had to put up a Citizenship and Leadership Training Centre at Boltongo with the youths in the state to get trained on informal intelligence gathering and early warning indicators.
Traditional chiefs and stakeholders also have not been left out of their peace and security strategies as they created a system to often engage them in mediating resolution of conflicts plus contributing to security management.
Security is so sensitive, technical and broad that it cannot only be marshalled by the government alone. So smart and knowledgeable has been the Yahaya administration to this dynamic of security that it created a system that sees an indomitable synergy between the government and the people coming together to birth optimal results in the prevention of crimes and the safety of lives and properties. It understood how much there should be a seamless link between the people and the government, therefore, created customized telephone lines for members of the public to report security breaches and potential threats. This way, what the government cannot see but members of the public can gets to be communicated to the right authorities for proactive measures to be taken to prevent damages.
These are domestically strategic and deliberate steps the Gombe state government has engaged that brings little wonder to why they have it much relatively peaceful compared to what neighbouring states have.
It has shown that the existence of peace and security in any given state will not happen by rhetoric but strategic and deliberate actions formed in the understanding of domestic peculiarities that sees effective and sustainable results birth for development.
It is also pleasing to note that in line with the measures they had been taken, they understand how important having peace and security collaboration in sharing of ideas and policies is in the perpetuation of peace within a specified territory. Sadly, in a country bedeviled with high-end and unabating insecurities, we hardly find peace and security summits being organized. The gathering of security stakeholders and other relevant stakeholders in a peace and security summit would always unfold expert tips and policies that can be of significant solutions to contextual problems besieging the concerned territory. We need more of this sort of summits across all states in the country, not to mention how all states in the country should borrow a leaf from what Gombe has been doing and implement same — if not better — to stave off elements of insecurities and unrest.
Also, just like they set up a ministry to oversee issues of peace and security, every state should create in its cabinet a ministry solely invested in peace and security. This move should then be narrowed down to the local government. That way, we get to cover all tracks and ensure we leave nothing for the anti-peace elements to capitalize on.
However, with that said, I will like to charge the Gombe State government, if they have not been doing it, to also take a concern to especially closest sisters state to them in the North West, and support whatever security measures they have on the roll therein. Willy-nilly, one of the keys to solid and sustainable internal security is the equal security of adjoining towns.
Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser,
Teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning
Dr. Ofonime Emmanuel Bassey is a Security, Peace and Conflict Resolution Coach with decades of experience in the practice and promotion of Law Enforcement, Peace and Security through the Nigeria Police and the United Nations.
He is an advocate of Peace Leadership and Child Protection.
He has served and interacted at the top level management of the Nigeria Police as well as internationally as a United Nation’s Monitor/Mentor in Kosovo, Europe.
A professor of Peace Advocacy and Conflict Resolution, Dr. O.E Bassey is a certified United Nation’s Trainer, and currently the Director of ICOF Institute of Leadership, Peace and Conflict Resolution in Africa.
With his marks well-established in Peace Leadership both in Nigeria and Africa. Currently, he is the President, NISSI Safety Management Institute: An Institute of Peace Leadership.
Presently, he is spearheading a campaign tagged “The Next Peace Leaders”, a campaign that is billed to run from 2022-2023 with a target of training 37,000 young peace leaders.
For peace and security tips, consultations and trainings, reach him via:
Facebook: Dr. O.E Bassey
LinkedIn: Dr. O.E Bassey
Twitter: Dr. O.E Bassey