“Brimming with joy, being expectant, as the clock ticked, in a couple of minutes, the new year will get unfolded.
Anticipating, we await another dawn and are enthusiastic, in regards to opportunities lurking around, as we have drawn out plans, specified targets and set goals, to get met in the new year”.
These and more, were our feelings, in the wake of the new year, 2020. Little did we know that, sometimes, life has its own alternative plans.
The past few months have exposed us to cruel, unforeseen experiences, with the advent of a pandemic, a global lockdown, as a response and socio-economic difficulties, as consequences.
Many people, in many cities of the world, have, in one way, or the other, felt the sting of the pandemic.
As it affected businesses, careers, academics, religion, individual’s social life and the national economies of nations, as a whole.
The pandemic, a major threat, has stretched to the limits, the civilization of the world and the countries, therein, exposing the strengths and weaknesses of every sector, as they play their role, in the collective fight for the survival of nations.
Like other countries of the world, Nigeria has had her fair share, of the tolls of the pandemic.
Despite the partial ease of lockdown, lots of businesses are yet to recover from the losses of business time-out, while citizens are struggling to survive.
The events of the pandemic and experiences, during the lockdown, are a major eye-opener, to issues of poor governance, inadequate infrastructure and numerous faults.
That in one way or the other, contributed to difficulties, in managing the pandemic and the hardship of the lockdown.
A major area to take a close look at is, the Nigerian Security Agencies. National emergencies, like the COVID-19 pandemic, have brought along with them, security challenges.
It is reasonable to admit a rise in crime rate, as idle and impoverished hoodlums, turning to crime and extortion, of helpless citizens, for survival.
At these challenging times, the law enforcement agencies have played vital roles, in the fight against COVID-19, a public threat.
They helped enforce the lockdown and pandemic containment guidelines, while maintaining law and order, in the society
While we commend the selfless efforts of these individuals in their tasks, however, it is imminent to address a few issues that, unavoidably, come to the limelight and request urgent attention.
Through the experiences and reports, from citizens, on their encounter with law enforcement personnel, during the lockdown, a few loopholes in the security sector, are exposed.
These were displayed, via misconduct of security agents, incompetence, or inadequacies in services.
First and foremost, the lockdown experiences exposed the menace of brutality and abuse, from law enforcement personnel, that calls for urgent attention.
It is sad, to describe the extreme measures and means adopted, in certain instances, to enforce the restrictions in movement and maintain law and order, during the lockdown.
People were brutally abused or tortured and lives got lost, in some cases.
A BBC headline, at the wake of the lockdown, reads: “Security Forces Kill More Nigerians Than The Pandemic”.
This was on account of the records of casualties, in security mishaps outnumbering actual deaths recorded, for the pandemic.
It is an eyesore, for the agencies, for the dignity of enforcing the law, gets expressed in keeping it.
Violating individuals and their rights, in an attempt to enforce the law, is barbaric and should get frowned at, if the Nigerian Security Agencies, will live up to their reputation.
Bribery and irregularities are other major challenges of the security agencies, as exposed by the pandemic experiences.
The lockdown directives were not followed to the letter. There were reports of bribes taken, for passage and compromise of the lockdown guidelines.
If at any point, there were difficulties, controlling interstate, or communal transmission of the disease, this factor is a major cause.
Apart from the bad image, it gives the force and the ease of passage, for criminal elements, without adequate scrutiny.
It puts citizens at risk, at a time of pandemic, as there exist uncontrolled influx of people, into territories, supposed to get manned, by security agents and probable transportation of the virus, from one location to another.
This is a loophole in the security sector of Nigeria that must be, promptly, addressed, if the fight against the evasion, or distortion of justice and vulnerabilities, in the apprehension of culprits of crime, is to be a huge success.
There is, also, the need to improve communication services and data management, for effective security services.
The Nigerian security agencies are supposed to possess, effective communication systems and a database, at communal levels and centralized, as a major source of data, to keep tabs on movements of people, in communities and across the country.
This would have come handy, in contact tracing, during the pandemic and in tracking and arresting criminals, on the run.
We were able to see how inefficient they are, at present and a need to improve, or adopt the technology needed, to incorporate them, where they are yet to exist, or to improve deficient ones, is of utmost importance.
Another loophole in the Nigerian Security sector is, the limited hands available to handle the enormous security needs and demands of the communities.
During the lockdown, there was an increase in crime rate; streets of cities like Lagos, recorded threats, from cults, robbery gangs and hoodlums.
Consequently, these streets and communities had to resort to setting up local vigilante groups, to stop the potential invasion, by these criminals, as their local police stations had limited hands and resources, to provide the adequate security needed.
It is wise to take, with uttermost importance, the issues of security and law enforcement, in a country, strongly, for the thin line separating the human society from the barbaric nature of the animal kingdom, is the rule of law.
We will hence, do well, to tackle these issues and address these loopholes, in the interest, of our nation and her development.
Remember, the first step to national security is personal security. Let us protect ourselves, from the pandemic, by staying safe.
Featured Image: news24
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