MEANING: Peace is a state of quietness, freedom from disturbance, freedom from war, freedom from contention, ease of mind or conscience and tranquility. Security is drawn from the word secure, meaning a situation of without care or anxiety, confident and free from danger or an official set of measures, a policy etc. applied to conceal a matter or situation e.g. for a nation. Security is the primary responsibility that government should provide for her citizens to freely live, work and invest in a given environment.
This responsibility of government does not mean that citizens should sit on the fence for government alone to handle this. This means that the government and the citizenry have moral responsibility to ensure peace and security in our communities. As a matter of fact, Nigeria’s performance in the area of peace and security is commendable going by her purposeful and timely response of government to unprovoked peace and security challenges in the country of late. As key player that have participated in working for peace and security around the world, ensuring peace and security in Nigeria therefore should be a matter that comes in freely in our national policy formulation. Peace comes in as a result of relative security enjoyed in a given environment or vice versa. This is to say that absence of peace among people can bring about insecurity or absence of security can bring about lack of peace in a given community.
Causes of Lack of Peace and Insecurity
It is important for us to know what our problems are to be able to look for solutions. Nigeria as a country has gone through good and bad times, thick and skin and free for all fight and these has made people seem to be too much in a hurry to measure up to the standard of Mr. A or B though not really having what it takes to attain that standard of life so to speak. Factors like unemployment, extremism in religion and dogma, poverty, greed, unethical leadership (bad government) exploitation, breakdown of law and order, unmindfulness and lack of integrity (corruption), and lack of training etc. can be of great hindrance to peace and security in our communities. To ensure enduring peace and security these factors among others have to be equitably addressed. These factors echo “The Nigerian Image” and we have to take them seriously. Interesting, these factors are universal in application not restricting to only Nigeria’s circumstance.
Unemployment is a universal problem that can eat negatively into the very fabric of a nation’s existence to the extent of throwing it into chaos that can affect its peace and security. This brings to mind why countries are very mindful in putting up economic policies that will encourage and attract investments by local and international investors. Different categories of job seekers are out on daily basis seeking for information that can land them on a job. Universities, Polytechnics, Colleges of Education, Schools and Vocational Centres turn out great numbers of these young men and women into the labour market on yearly basis with available opportunities not able to match the supply. This becomes a great concern to any government with a human face as the ugly situation can bring about breakdown of peace and security in a country.
Comparing Nigeria with its regional and global peers e.g. in industry contribution to employment to their GDP can be seen thus: Nigeria 2% South Africa 14% Kenya 12%, Morocco 15%, Brazil 25%, Malaysia 19% and Thailand 15 %. To boost industry development in Nigeria, the Federal government under the auspices of Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment has launched robust initiative, tagged Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) to increase contribution of industry to the country’s economic development and create competitive advantage for Nigeria which will have a multiplier effect in job creation and subsequent unemployment rate reduction. Unemployment has the same negative effect anywhere in the world. Every government is mindful of who, and what condition a person is allowed to immigrate to its country. Apart from criminal reservations, primary consideration is employment opportunities available to its lawful citizens. This is never toyed with by serious governments because this economic variable has the power to remove and install a government. Arab spring that started in Tunisia and swung to Libya, Egypt, Bahrain and Syria conflagrating to civil war has strong unemployment undertone. In Europe e.g. Spain and Greece to be precise, high level of unemployment has not been friendly with these governments.
Benefits of employment apart from addressing issues of peace and security will remove dependence on government handouts and from multinationals by the people. It will quell youth restiveness who will become productively engaged. It will increase contribution of citizens to economic development of a country. It will divert conflicts from multinationals and help develop skills among the employed. Poverty level will be drastically reduced while standard of living will improve. To ensure peace and security of a country it is important to look into the issue of unemployment seriously to avert potential consequences of breakdown of peace order and insecurity.
Ethical Leadership (Good Government)
We thank God that Nigeria is democratic and has been on this 13 years unbroken experience consolidating with democratic dividends for the people. In democracy any citizen can get up and speak out his mind even to the point of critically criticizing the government and still get on the street without molestation. This is not obtained in the military regime as we have tasted that too. Democracy comes with accountability and delivering those promises that politicians or political parties gave to the people to vote them into power. Government with human face will know that they are there for the people and that it is proper to serve the people. Citizens must be made to see how far the government has gone to meet the common good of the society. This is not a matter of meeting individual needs but rather being able to provide essential needs of the generality of the people as promised in the party manifesto and during campaign for election. By the time essential needs of the people are provided as resources can afford, it is evident that the government has the interest of the people at heart. It comes in freely to confirm of what is democracy – Government of the people, by the people and for the people. Security of any country is the primary responsibility of any government to its people, to protect life and property, protection from external aggression and the like. Citizens have to feel secured and serious governments don’t toy with this. This is why you will see America go all out to see that the interest of her citizens are protected anywhere in the world whether it demands sending warships or civilian planes to convey her citizens from any trouble spot in the world. They take that as their responsibility and make sure it is done e.g. from August 9-12, 2013 all American Embassies in North Africa and Middle East were closed as a result of intelligence report of possible strike of Embassies by Al Qaeda terrorists. However, Nigerian government also responded to airlift stranded Nigerians from war torn Libya in 2012. This is a reflection of good government which will ensure peace and security in our country.
Good government to ensure peace and security must make sure that the economy is fixed where there will be ample job opportunities, peaceful, secure investment environment, educational facilities, provision of infrastructure like good roads, health care facilities, electricity, pipe borne water and all of that, which guarantee modern, qualitative and healthy living. When government recognizes that they are there for the people, meeting those essential needs for the well-being of the people will come freely and primary in government business agenda. Too much escort, body guards and tinted glasses for official vehicles will not be necessary anymore because people are happy, leaders enjoy sense of achievement and there will be peace and security which are testimonies of good governments. President, Governors, government functionaries, business leaders and cream of the society can drop in the street and interact freely with their subjects. This is the picture of new Nigeria, we are looking up to.
The concept of corporate social responsibility together with its understanding consequently, the response it receives has been an evolving process change driven by the dynamics of the inter-relationship between corporate organizations and their host communities. Nature has blessed some communities with natural resources which need to be exploited to create wealth e.g. crude oil and natural gas. In other case, governments have put infrastructures in place for enabling business environment. Businesses coming in to these communities should be able to give back to the communities they come to operate. It is necessary to accept that while corporate organizations are fundamentally profit oriented, it must also be a socio-economic entity obligated to make both economic and social contributions to the society but very many fail in this responsibility which gives occasion for confrontation between the host communities and the operating companies. Peace and security is threatened as a result of this neglect as this can be seen through the prolonged struggle and confrontation by Niger Delta militants, which amnesty was introduced to bring solution to the problem. This show of power was big embarrassment to the country as people who never even had a claim on the region joined in the struggle with dire consequences to the region and the country at large. There was spill over in criminal activities such as kidnapping, hijacking, piracy in the creeks, oil bunkering, armed robbery, raping, vandalism and wanton destruction and harassment of innocent law abiding citizens. Oil workers, their facilities became vulnerable to incessant attacks and destruction. Nigerian oil output dropped as so many oil installations and flow-stations were shut down. Revenue of oil companies dropped.
A better society means a better environment for doing business. Business can enhance its long term profitability by making an investment in society today because investment in communities problems and needs turn into tomorrow’s profit.
By the time businesses imbibe the policy of giving back to the community they are operating in the form of infrastructural development, employment opportunities to communities, capacity building etc. possibility for confrontation with communities will not arise and will be able to settle down peacefully for business. This is not compulsory. It is a management principle that should be incorporated into corporate policies of organizations for sustainable corporate governance, enabling undeterred operation, after-all without the support of the society business would not have built its resource base in the first place.
Training of Law Enforcement and Security Agents
Knowledge is power which enhances efficiency and expected productivity in an employee. Train and retrain is the key because each time a staff goes on training whether on or off the job setting value is added to that staff and this will be seen in the output of that staff. Our security agents need to be trained not necessarily outside the country but with requisite and relevant knowledge to deliver what is expected from them on the job.
How is police officer expected to react during riot or peaceful demonstration by for example students? How many times have we not seen police using life bullets to respond to student’s rampage? How many times have we not seen or heard police killing innocent people at check points? What about demanding token from drivers at check points? How are cases recorded at the station, reported and followed up in the law court? These are some of the essential elements that law enforcement officer should have at the tip of his finger to be able to function effectively and productively on his job.
Image of police force is very important especially in a country like Nigeria where they are known to have thrown integrity, mindfulness to the wind. Law enforcement agent should be trained to be mindful of its image, the way to behalf and handle situations as to its prevailing circumstance, how to hold himself and deal with the public.
Training of law enforcement agents should be all encompassing ranging from daily routine assignments, recognition of rights and obligation of suspects and the general public, image, public relations, attitude, and response to civil disobedience, intelligence and investigation. The point here is that training is important and law enforcement agent should be trained since their role in any community involves dealing with the public to maintain public order, peace, tranquility and security.
Mindfulness and Integrity
Many years ago Nigeria as nation was respected and her citizens accorded respect as other citizens of the world. If you were travelling to United Kingdom for example, apart from being a British Common Wealth Citizen, you just enter a plane without visa and your papers are stamped at Heathrow Airport for entry with “have a pleasant stay”, sir. This was treatment with respect but today the case is different because our image is stained as a result of activities of some few unscrupulous elements in our society. Fine, not all Nigerians are what the western world has tagged us with but can you question this, because “one bad apple spoils the whole lot”. Our naira got bastardized because of attitude of some Nigerians, who syphoned money that could have been used for better life of the citizenry to lie idle in their foreign bank accounts. Many unpatriotic acts of Nigerians are responsible for the poor show of our economy and Naira as our currency.
Can this malady, malaise or rightly put, mendacity be traced to a common man in this country? The answer is no. The root of our problems is us who are bad examples to our children and the youths. Generality of the population running amok to make it ending up in 419, drug peddling, armed robbery and causing untold insecurity in the country. Before someone gets a contract even in some cases he has to bribe for his papers to be sorted and accepted at the next stage. Oil subsidy brought to the fore another ugly side of Nigerians “the rich” in complicity with public servants in NNPC raking the poor masses they were supposed to work to ease their burden with trillions of naira. Thanks to Dr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Okonjo Iweala and adamant attitude of President Goodluck Ebelle Jonathan on the removal of the subsidy.
To ensure peace and security in our country, this cankerworm with the hydra head of CORRUPTION has to be done with for Mindfulness and Integrity as the enthroned spirit of a GREATER NIGERIA.