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Lack of Government Political Will and Youths Nonchalant Attitude are Responsible for Worsening Security Challenges – Gen Jon Temlong (Rtd)

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Lack of government’s willingness to name and prosecute perpetrators of crime, sponsors of terrorism and citizens nonchalant attitude to their civic responsibility have been identified as the factors responsible for the deteriorating insecurity the country is facing. Brig Gen Jon Temlong (Rtd) made the observation while speaking on Monday, March 4th, 2024 on Peace 90.5fm as a guest on the program Justice Peace Arena Show, a program aimed at deepening peace and finding solutions to security challenges sponsored by the Kwamkur Samuel Foundation and monitored by www.pointblank.com.ng

The pioneer Commander of the Joint Multinational Task Force while responding to a question by the anchor Pam Dauda Doyle on why it is so difficult to fish out sponsors and perpetrators of crime, said “It is simple, is lack of political will and citizens have not been able to hold their government accountable. I have said it over and over that Nigerians must take back their country from criminals both in government and in public space.”

The articulate and intelligent retired army general added that “we the citizens are the ones who own this country and we have given leadership to our leaders in trust. When you give them your liberty, you expect protection in return and that is why it is the government that is authorized to have the instrument of coercion.”

“So as a citizen today, for you to go and carry arms is illegal, because there are those that government have authorized to carry arms to defend you”. He however warned that citizens will be forced to protect themselves when the government fails to protect the citizens. And when this happens, “it means the country is heading toward anarchy”

Gen Temlong emphasized that “no body is above the laws of the land and when you don’t have the political will to deal with those individuals who think they are so powerful, then you are running into a situation where anarchy will reign whether you like it or not”.

Proffering solution to the challenge, the former President of the NDA Alumni suggested that “like what happened in Dubai, those people were jailed. And government needs to pick up their sponsors here and collaborators in this country and make it public.”

He also accused the journalists for lack of investigative journalism to unravel the sponsors of these crimes like what is obtainable in other climes. He said “sometimes when I say we need to take back our country from criminals, I blame journalists because you must do investigative journalism and don’t close cases. In other climes they (journalists) keep on following a crime for 20 to 30 years until they get to the root of it and unravel it. Let us unravel it too by collaborating with people in the UAE to get certain information”

He lamented the situation where prosecution of cases suffer unnecessary adjournments until the cases go into the coolers. “It is therefore the duties of journalists to be bringing the cases up to public domain” said Gen Temlong.

Gen Temlong advocated for the education of the citizens to know their rights and engagement in keeping peace beyond the mere rhetoric that security is everyone’s business. He challenged the governments at both state and local governments, using Plateau State as an example to “work out a synergy to harness the wealth of experience of the retired security personnel within the society to build the capacity of the citizens and create an architecture of a reporting system that is built around the citizens that will make it easier for state-centric people to work because you are giving them the information and intelligence they require”

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Speaking earlier, Gen Temlong identified hardship an enabler of insecurity and established the nexus between hardship and insecurity saying “If you are insecure, you’re in a hard position. Secondly, a hungry man is an angry man so if there is hardship, no food and people are angry, you expect insecurity to thrive. It is security that guarantees a livelihood because you are able to carry out your legitimate duties to earn a living”.

“Of recent, our country has witnessed insecurity here and there because you have farmers that have abandoned their farms, herders have lost their animals, traders attacked on the way traveling with their wares.

“Our inability to get the right narrative of our security challenges and the commensurable actions are responsible for the seemingly dismal success against insecurity, therefore we must first of all get the narratives right because we can’t keep doing the wrong thing over and over and expect success. We must change” General Temlong warned.

“The security architect for now relies on hard power the soft power component which is supposed to constitute 70 – 80% is being relegated and kept behind.

“Local government and State governments being the closest government to the people must number houses and name streets according to easy identification of people. This is what is obtainable all over the world. Lack of adequate infrastructure like good roads for prompt response to emergency is one of the challenges”

Gen Temlong lamented youth nonchalant attitude, saying the youth are more concerned with politicking and praise singing of politicians on the social media than being security conscious. “Criminals will disguise as water vendors, motorcycle rides etc and be patrolling the cities while perfecting their strategies to attack people but the youths care not about such foreign people with their strange movements, rather politics is what dominate their activities. He said politics can only exist when there is security of lives and property. The army general also decried the situation where government is seen as private enterprise for massaging ego instead of seeing governance as a public good

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