In psychology we learn that laughter and tears are safety valves of human sanity. In the same token we relate the safety and security of life and physical assets of the citizenry to hallmarks of good governance. Today in Nigeria insecurity has assumed unprecedented dimensions and the citizenry must wake up to demand a reversal of this ugly trend. This can only be accomplished when we all, both the leaders and the led, come to the realisation that insecurity is like a baby, the more you nurse it the more it grows.
In safety and security management the critical tool in confronting any posed challenges is ATTITUDE. How do you perceive the challenge? How do you confront it? How do you plan to eliminate its resurgence? Your basic attitude to these and more will surely determine your ALTITUDE, or how far you can go, in guaranteeing the citizenry a safer and more secure environment.
Three very recent security lapses in as many days should cause every right thinking Nigerian serious concern of our vulnerability. Access to and invasion of an international airport, access to and capacity to attack and derail a passenger train, and capability to take hostage thereafter, are no mean actions of hoodlums or novices, but actions of hardened terrorists who should not be treated with kid gloves. This is where our current attitude to these grave security lapses is most worrisome.
We all watched in disgust, on television, the lamentation of the Hon Minister of Transportation over delays in releasing approved funds for security equipment to forestall such access and attack of the rail tracks and trains. We must interrogate him further. Why was this security apparatus not part of the commissioning package ab initio? Since when has the Transportation ministry been shouting itself hoarse over this lapse even after a similar occurrence in October 2021? With the approval and funds availability who has been sitting on the release and execution of this critical security project? There are obviously more questions that demand genuine answers from our Hon Minister.
Nigerians must begin to interrogate our leaders at federal, state and local government levels, because that is the hallmark of representation and accountability. Security is critical. But we sit back and watch every Tom, Dick and Harry in government surround themselves with security personnel as aides, paid from the tax payers’ coffers. We are glad to watch trained officers stand behind them when they are making speeches, whereas these officers are better gainfully engaged in fighting insecurity. Should we not begin to engage private security outfits in providing such ego-related functions as carrying their brief cases and standing around and behind them during functions? We surely need more of our trained security personnel in the field, not doing menial functions.
Let us begin to interrogate our leaders. Safety and security are key to good governance and development, and for promoting our collective wellbeing and happiness.
•Sir Jonas writes from Abuja, Nigeria