National security or tyranny?

National security means a lot to Nigeria, but you wonder why it is so when Nigeria has not been involved directly in any international conflict situation.

The glaring reason Nigeria continues to spend so much on the defence budget and security votes is simply because Nigeria breathes heavily under its own internal torment.

Domestic crises have cost so much that could have contributed in other ways to governance and economic development.

Nigeria’s security concerns which cost her so much financially and uses up a lot of her resources are mainly the challenges of criminal law enforcement, separatist agitation, Boko Haram terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and the new-found obsession of the government to clamp down on dissent.

What constitutes a threat to national security can be so diverse in meaning that this very article can come under the scope of it. A threat to national security can be ambiguous in a way that a clearly unarmed protester could constitute enough concern for the deployment of military force.

The fright in this country today is if our national security is really still the concern of government or bare-faced tyranny the sort of which the military years stamped in our memories is what has begun reoccurring.

It seems the government or rather its favourite security-apparatus for such affairs has gone beyond the call of national security in its recent arrests to become a specialised agency that skims through content to identify that which it does not like publicised.

How unarmed protesters and activist constitute a security threat in a country that is already fighting insurgency, daily kidnap reports, armed violence and other such remains a mystery.

The method used to quell the Monday, August 5 protest nationwide raises another concern for the Nigerian who cherishes liberty. In a country where our police have learnt to use such violence on protesters without public outrage, the culture of repression will stick and continue to spread.

The manner by which the protest was quelled is in contravention of established principles of human rights, especially those of dignity of the human person protected by the constitution and international treaties to which Nigeria is signatory.

If Nigerian forces are deploying so much to keeping national security, one must look at the victims of our quest to safeguard security and wonder who the government is really trying to secure because those we are meant to secure are those we are not securing while we are trying to secure.

Away from all these issues, the perplexing matter subsists if our national security requires so much, including even endangering and terminating the lives of those meant to be secured.

The figures of those who have become casualties who double as citizens in a bid to protect national security is high.

Are the actions of the Nigerian government still predicated on the need to ensure national security or we have descended into an era of barefaced executive tyranny?


Koye-Ladele Mofehintoluwa,