Following the explosion that took place on January 16, 2024, in the Bodija region of Ibadan, Oyo State, that resulted in the loss of at least five lives and left nearly 80 individuals wounded where numerous properties valued at billions of naira were obliterated, the UK Afenifere has called on the authorities in Southwest Nigeria to urgently implement measures to enhance internal security and combat the actions of unlawful miners aimed at safeguarding the lives and belongings of citizens.
In an official statement on January 21, 2024, the UK Afenifere urged the government to adopt contemporary technologies in order to tackle national security challenges, particularly those related to internal security. Emphasising the pressing need, the group, represented by its Secretary, Engr. Anthony Ajayi pointed out that illegal mining sites in Nigeria have become hazardous areas, posing significant risks to the lives and possessions of citizens. Consequently, the group advocates for decisive measures to curb this menace.
Distressing security predicaments persist in the country.
Regularly, it is inevitable to come across reports highlighting the tragic loss of life and property due to the prevailing insecurities in Nigeria. Despite the tireless endeavours made to combat and alleviate internal security threats and obstacles, it is disheartening to acknowledge that the nation still grapples with these distressing security predicaments. Nigeria’s Illegal activities are becoming a major obstacle to achieving peace, security, and national progress. This issue is prevalent across the entire nation, hindering earnest endeavours to maintain harmony and promote development.
The leaders in the region were urged to make vigilance and protection their topmost concern, with a primary focus on curbing illegal mining activities and ensuring the lawful exploration of natural resources for the region’s development. It added that prioritising the peace and progress of the region is crucial. To achieve this, it called upon Yoruba professionals and experts proficient in uncovering natural resources to collaborate with the different states. Together, they can work towards establishing lawful procedures for mining natural resources in the area.
National security structure needs to undergo significant changes.
To attain security and sustainable national development in the region and Nigeria at large, it is unquestionable that the current national security structure needs to undergo significant changes, particularly in terms of policing the entire federation. Presently, Nigeria stands alone as a large country with a federal system of government but continues to employ a unitary police system. The government was encouraged to focus on precision and promptness in gathering intelligence to identify potential risks and target them with concentrated security measures.
They emphasised the necessity of maintaining comprehensive documentation of harmful substances entering Nigeria through its borders. It stressed the importance of holding customs, air force, navy, and immigration personnel responsible for their duties and any violations that occur. The group further urged the Bola Tinubu administration to prioritise addressing the security concerns in the South West region and across Nigeria. The democratic transition of power presents a priceless chance to ponder and reevaluate the nation’s policies and priorities.
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Moreover, the concept of democracy goes beyond the periodicity of elections, as it entails allowing Nigerian citizens to contribute ideas to those in authority on ways to ensure national security. The crucial factor here is for citizens to express their views, which will ultimately enhance their safety and aid in accomplishing the promised reforms within the security sector. Engaging community leaders, civil society organisations, and other stakeholders to comprehend each excessively exposed region’s distinctive dynamic and difficulties is of utmost importance. This cooperation will cultivate reliance, promote knowledge exchange, and fortify the connections between communities and security personnel.