Responsibility to protect and Zamfara’s “self-defense” democracy –
Zamfara State, the hotbed of banditry/terrorists in northwestern Nigeria, last week announced the deregulation of gun ownership to willing and mentally fit individuals to defend themselves against Nigeria’s rampaging criminals and their international collaborators. This call for “self-defense” not only destroys the social contract between government and citizens, that the former protect lives and property while the latter submit their power and obey them, but it also challenges the will of the Commander-in-Chief. -The Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria to uphold the constitutional oath to defend Nigerians and its territorial integrity against internal insurgency and external aggression. It is sad that the last seven years have seen more ungoverned spaces in Nigeria taken over by internal and external criminals wreaking havoc and fighting over communities to maintain dominance where Nigerians are forced to pay to stay urge. Civilians in these troubled communities also ensure their own safety by providing information to criminals as the Nigerian state has been irresponsible in protecting them in time. It’s sad but only the person wearing the shoe knows where it pinches.
While there have been arguments for and against such a policy orientation, this article presents the principle of the responsibility to protect (R2P) adopted in 2005 at the United Nations World Summit. Just as a father as head of household is charged with the responsibility of providing for and protecting his family, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria empowers the state (national or sub-national level) to protect the citizens and residents. within their geographical territories. R2P originated when world leaders felt they had been irresponsible during World War I, World War II and the Rwandan Genocide with over 20 million deaths due to violence. R2P, according to the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, is “the idea that sovereign states have the responsibility to protect their own citizens from preventable disasters – mass murder and rape, starvation – but that where they are unwilling or unable to do so, that responsibility must be borne by the wider community of states.” With different forms of violence and insecurity facing Nigeria, Nigeria, with its federal security architecture, demonstrated the responsibility to protect its citizens against banditry, terrorism, kidnapping, cattle rustling, among others? The realities on the ground today answer in the negative. what can be responsible for Nigeria’s irresponsibility to protect its people?
The responsibility to protect rests on three pillars. First, it is the responsibility of a state to protect its citizens; second, the international community as a whole has a responsibility to encourage and assist States to fulfill this responsibility; Third, if a State manifestly fails to protect its people, the international community must be prepared to take appropriate collective action, in a timely and decisive manner and in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. The Southwestern states demonstrated this by creating Amotekun, but since the approval rests with the federal agency, the caliber of weapons approved for their use is insufficient to combat the violent criminals they were meant to control. Criminals use Ak 47 without getting government approval and they use it badly, but legally backed security teams can’t. Why their politicization of Nigeria’s national security? The responsibility to protect rests on three responsibilities: the responsibility to prevent (there must be political WILL to prevent transnational criminals from settling in Nigeria, poverty, unemployment and disjointed youth must be addressed) ; the responsibility to react (how did Zamfara, Nigeria and other states react to the criminality of terrorists, criminal herders? With protective gloves?); and the responsibility to rebuild (States must rebuild after each military intervention, but at what cost to the national budget?).
While crimes are local, Nigeria supports a centralized approach to security against contemporary trends in crimes. Some governors like Nasir El-Rufai have pleaded for international support and mercenaries, but approval will have to come from the “almighty” federal government whose body language has been reluctant. We also need to clearly define the kind of international support we call for from our experience with acquiring Super Tucano attack aircraft and the vendor-imposed control over how to use it and how not to use it. utilize. We must decide to protect Nigeria. No outside help will do this for us without taking other things in return.
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In addition to the cost of acquiring weapons, it is dangerous to provide poor populations with weapons because they can become their meal tickets like bandits and terrorists. Sadly, there is no structure in place to carry out gun control and tracking with the Weapons Audit revealing that 178,459 firearms could not be counted by the Nigeria Police.
I had the rare privilege of speaking with those who work day and night to protect Nigeria and Nigerians. I mean those from the Armed Forces, Police, Nigeria Civil Defense Corps, Correctional Service, Immigration, Nigeria Customs, Department of State Services among others on why it is difficult to put an end to terrorism, banditry, among others. I usually ask them if they lack capacity or just don’t want to end the insecurity. Their answers do not point to a lack of capacity, even with the weapons at their disposal, but to a lack of political will to put an end to it. Those who have been on the front line have spoken of “orders from above” preventing them from advancing to conquer. Some have told me how their “oga at the top” instructed them to “defend, not attack”. How do you record victory if your instruction is only to wait to be attacked (sometimes killed) and the only thing you can do is defend yourself? Robert Greene in The 33 Laws of Power says to totally eliminate your enemies. Our men are capable, the majority are voluntary but without directives “from above”, nothing will happen. Does this explain why Kaduna, which has the presence of military formations, is attacked by bandits at will without a superior federal government counterforce controlling and giving orders? What’s happening is Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s lamentation over how the security agencies know the location of the attackers, but he doesn’t understand why they can’t eliminate them.
There is nothing new in what the Zamfara government just said. The inhabitants of terrorist zones have always reacted in three ways: they flee these places as soon as they see that the State is incapable of protecting them. Some submit to the authority of bandits and terrorists and kidnappers agreeing to abide by the terms of their safety and the third category of responders are those who deploy self-help. When citizens cry out for insecurity and they don’t see the appropriate response from the government, they go into vigilante mode and begin justice in the jungle. The government must take matters into its own hands. Our insecurity is caused mainly by Nigerians with outside collaborators. I salute our security men and women who work hard to defend Nigeria despite a poor social welfare system and terrible conditions of service. I ask, can those who are insecure themselves secure others? Can those who arm thugs for political gain take the guns away from their cronies after the election? Is there a possibility to rework the ECOWAS protocol on the free movement of people which partly compromises the security of our country? The United States of America will not compromise its people. She will go to any country to defend her people and that is why Americans love their country. Rather than pronouncing a policy that will not work for the impoverished civilians of Zamfara, the state government should join in the amplification of calls for state police. If Zamfara has his policing system, he will not need to wait for the Inspector General to deploy a tactical squad located in Abuja to work and return to Abuja. We can seek outside collaborations, but I doubt that those who sell arms will be happy that the conflict is over. Our department heads should depoliticize security and uphold the Constitution. Nigeria is what they are sworn to defend, not political office holders. Our men are ready to defend Nigeria if they receive the “legitimate order from above”. We cannot conduct an armed democracy and aggravate the current state of insecurity by arming civilians. States should support state police. Geographically contiguous states in the northwest and northeast must harmonize their security policies to avoid cross-territorial reactions. Our security agencies must work together to ensure national security. In the meantime, we need to empower and restructure police services. We need to recruit more men because we are losing our frontline fighters daily. We must take care of the families of fallen valiant security men and women so that their children do not bear arms against the country in the future. We need to invest in technology and reduce moles in our security equipment. We created the problems and we can only decide when it should end. Nigerians must defend Nigeria!
Dr. Tade, a criminologist wrote via [email protected]