That Nigeria is experiencing a mass exodus is no longer news. In fact, it has become quite a trend amongst the youths. You see people particularly the youths dreaming of and/or scheming opportunities to ‘japa’ (Nigerian slang for emigration) either through fair or foul means. And let me not even get started on those willing to brave harsh conditions not to mention the fear of human trafficking all to get out of Nigeria.
It is sad to see that youths who are expected to take on the mantle of leadership and steer our country forward are fleeing to other countries where conditions are better or at least bearable than their fatherland. Can we rightly blame them for seeking greener pasture elsewhere when those entrusted with leadership keep dropping the ball? I am not one to pass judgement on whatever decisions people make as long as they are within a person’s right to do so legally. In fact, I am beginning to think that it is a wise decision to make after many years of trying to preach staying back to build.
Nigeria is bedevilled by myriads of problems chief among them is insecurity further exacerbated by poverty and high level of unemployment and internal conflicts. Even worse is the ongoing food crisis rocking the entire nation; the prices of goods and food items continue to skyrocket making life difficult for an average Nigerian. This situation is attributed to low farming activities, low productivity due to degrading insecurity, especially in the Northern region.
The state of Nigeria’s security has tremendously worsened to the point of being non-existent. In this piece, I will explore the link between food insecurity and domestic terrorism as well as ways that technology could be leveraged to address this double-edged problem in Nigeria.
Now more than ever before, there is a pervading sense of dread for interstate travellers who cannot afford a plane ticket. While we regularly see and hear cases of kidnapping, ritual killing, murder and mayhem occurring in various parts of the country, one might be inclined to think that the safety and well being of citizens are not top priorities for the Nigerian government.
Truth be told, there is simply no way we can escape investing in advanced technologies to protect our country whenever the need arises which in my opinion is frequently. I wrote about this in 2017 and here we are four years later with no improvement; on the contrary, the situation has deteriorated further.
The government often speaks about how much effort and resources have gone into addressing security challenges. If that is the case, how do we explain growing reports of farmers-herders clashes, armed banditry, kidnapping and the activities of Boko Haram?
Like other sovereign states in the world, Nigeria has defence/security (military, paramilitary and intelligence) services that are tasked to ensure national security both internally and externally. Yet, these agencies are not only struggling but the country’s security architecture has arguably been hijacked in many parts of the country. It is alarming to learn how terrorists brazenly invaded the Defense Academy to kill and abduct two majors in their own base. If such fate can befall supposed veterans of war, what chance does an average civilian stand?
What this event underscores is a dire need for concerted and deliberate efforts coupled with a commitment to fight our security woes. Technology has and continues to present opportunities for us as a society to create solutions that meet our societal needs.
World leaders are setting up integrated frameworks to allow them to adopt and deploy technology, particularly Artificial Intelligence to strengthen their national security infrastructure. Thanks to the emerging field of AI, modern tools like surveillance cameras, social network analysis, biometric surveillance, data mining and profiling, corporate surveillance, satellite imagery, RFID and Geo-location devices have become available. Heavily investing in such technologies will evoke a level of seriousness and readiness of the government to crush criminal groups and networks.
At present, Nigeria’s has a growing technology ecosystem that churns out innovations that are designed to fit into our local realities. As such, our indigenous technology community could offer digital solutions to our nation’s security woes.
For example, a locally based AI technology firm, Robotic and Artificial Intelligence Nigeria, has developed a Carbon Emission Detection (CED) tracker that capacity to track and find and apprehend kidnappers, bandits and other criminal elements holed up in caves and forested areas.
According to the founder, Olusola Ayoola, the designed tracker uses carbon emission sensors to detect carbon dioxide emitted by humans as they move from one location to another within any terrain. This will make it difficult for the kidnappers to hide their location.
It is yet to be determined if Nigeria’s defence and security authorities will approve the testing and possible deployment of the technology. If things go the right way, this could present a way to put to rest the terrors of kidnapping and banditry. Rather than wring its figurative hands in defeat, the government should engage with players in the tech space and create platforms that foster collaboration, and innovation.
By leveraging cutting-edge technologies, the government can ensure that there is proper cooperation and coordination amongst security agencies to reduce duplication of efforts, guard against the mishandling of information as well as enhance information sharing among themselves.
Although deplorable, herdsmen attacks, kidnapping for money or ritual killings, ethnic cleansing, cybercrimes, human/material trafficking and endemic acts of corruption are the realities today. Now is the time for our leaders to wake up to the realization of the need to mobilize resources: human, financial, technological, to address the diverse issues of national insecurities. After all, we are building a nation not only for the present generation but for the future generations as well.
ICT Clinic by CFA is published weekly in the Sunday Punch