THE USE OF MILITARY IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CRIME IN NIGERIA: A STUDY OF UMUAHIA TOWN
CHAPTER ONE/ INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the Study
Since the creation or evolution of man, society has been on the dynamic trend for the preservation of life and improved social relations. The need for man to have an orderly and a well-structured and organized system aimed at achieving comfort, harmony and peace has been the pre-occupation of modern states. Much as society tries, fundamental challenges have thwarted man’s efforts towards the realization of an egalitarian and just society. The various Nigerian constitutions and the statute books and other legal enactments in place aimed at providing backbone to governance to enhance national security and socio-economic growth are still confronted with obvious challenges. Therefore the need for a peaceful and decent environment to allow for harmonious coexistence and enabling climate for socio-economic and political advancement cannot be over-stated (Ogah, 2011).
Criminals are in minority in every society. They are an infinitesimal percentage of the nation’s population. But every country has them. Few though they may be in number, criminals are so toxic that they poison the larger society. They can give a country a very bad name. In a rather cynical way, Agbese (2008) noted, that the level of security in a country is measured almost entirely by the activities of its criminals. The fewer their activities the greater chance for everyone to feel safe. The more violent their activities, the greater the induced sense of insecurity. Even the level of foreign investments in a country, is based on investor’s reading of the criminal barometer there. All societies are victims of the criminals among them because they pose serious security challenges.
The sophistry deployed by criminal minded persons in the country has notched the trajectory of crime causing governments and individuals to consistently have their hearts in the mouth, a scenario which has defied virtually all antics adopted by security agencies to keep these security challenges in check. Security of lives and property touches directly on the fundamental fabric of human existence. In Nigeria, it typifies a revolving door which bequeaths peace, progress and prosperity to the nation. It is proven empirically that no meaningful development will be effectual in any nation amidst insecurity. The much sought-after Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) will be copiously elusive in an atmosphere of insecurity. Nigeria, being a country that is grossly underdeveloped in all strata undoubtedly craves for all support from both local and international investors which will trigger its economic growth. Sadly, the dynamics of the current security challenges bedevilling the country calls for evaluation and shift in paradigm from the conventional methods adopted in protection of lives and property nationwide. In realization of the above mentioned platitude, the Nigeria Army apart from its constitutional responsibility of protecting the territorial integrity of the country and ward-off the country’s enemies, Nigeria Army play a pivotal role in complementing efforts of the first-line security agencies internally towards ensuring peace and stability (Igata, 2013).
The successive administrations from the colonial days to independence and post-independence, till this current administration have tried to ensure the stability of the nation. However, inherent internal contradictions of politics, economics, religion, ethnicity, corruption and other social ills have all combined to exert pressure on the national psyche and these have adversely impinged on the potentialities of the Nigerian nation. The nation’s national security is predicated on her national interest, as well as her strategic calculations within the region and in the global arena. For us to have an effective and result-oriented national security therefore, the socioeconomic terrain and the entrepreneurial needs of the nation must be well enhanced, as these are the catalysts that propel growth and development, which in turn assures the wellbeing of the citizenry. This cannot be achieved by one sector alone, a combination of all elements of national power and our strategic alliance would have to be harnessed. The armed forces however remain a vital element in the overall national security strategy (Ogah, 2011).
This research study is to look at the use of military in tackling civil internal security issues in Nigeria and also to check the total effect of crime on the development and unity of the country. The rate of crime in Nigeria such as rape, kidnapping, armed robbery and other forms of criminal tendencies is undoubtedly a source of worry to every Nigerian. Despite the fact that the nation has spent several billions of naira over the years to curtail crime, this effort however laudable it is has not yielded the much desired result. The crime rate in the society rather than abate, seems to be on the increase and this negative trend is definitely a threat to Nigeria’s development. This informs the need for this study.
Statement of the Problem
Security of life and property in Nigeria is seriously deteriorating. The general public now lives in fear and subsequently has become increasingly uncertain about tomorrow (Ndibe, 2011; Dambazau, 2007). Political killings and assassinations, kidnapping and abduction, rape, burglary, armed robbery, theft and terrorist bombings are now the order of the day with little or no counter attack from the police. Practical day experiences and information available from newspapers, radio and television attest to this frightening development.
Over three decades ago, Odekunle (1977), had claimed that Nigeria had a “crime-problem” in which crime had become systematic, prevalent and highly organized, with all sectors and sections of the citizens getting involved, while the police efforts had yielded little or no results. Today, the crime problem has even worsened and become more rampant, with incessant kidnapping, armed robbery and political killings in the south east and other parts of Nigeria, particularly Umuahia metropolis. Terrorist and suicide bombings in Northern Nigeria by an Islamic sect called “Boko Haram” have also become the order of the day. Unprecedentedly, criminals now move in groups of ten, twenty, thirty and even fifty, thus painting a picture of fear, and helplessness to the public, even to the law enforcement agents. Very often, they achieve their purpose with little or no counter attacks from law enforcement agents. Furthermore, unlike before, crime takes place more frequently “in-season and out-of season”, regardless of the time of the day. In other words, more than before, crime now takes place in broad day light with the criminals being in a lighter and more relaxed mood even under the nose of the so called security agents (Anyanwu, Madubueze & Onwuchekwa, 2010).
According to Okereke (1993) and Dambazau (2007), the upsurge in crime appears to bother on the ineffectiveness and inefficiency of the police whose statutory duties revolve around crime control. According to them, the picture painted by the increase in crime is that the police are weak, incompetent and irrelevant to their principal mission – maintenance of order and enforcement of the laws.
Ukwaye (2004) stressed that the public reaction on the prevalence of crime in our urban areas has been demonstrated in their sense of insecurity and suspicion of one another. This public reaction had led to crime control mechanism such as introduction of private securities and the recent introduction of Army patrol team in 2007 tagged “operation messers” patrolling all the Nigerian urban centres (Umuahia inclusive). The military has been assigned to deal with eruptions of ethno-religious violence, escalating crime levels such as endemic ransom kidnapping and peace-keeping. These assignments have brought it more into the terrain of what is traditionally viewed as the domain of policing and with that greater contact with civilians in the course of their operations. In some situations, this contact has been characterized by tension owing to the natural friction that occurs when the military is inserted into civil life, misunderstandings on both sides as to the rules of engagement and avoidable excesses. Indeed, according to the NSA, the military is now involved in joint-police military operations in virtually every state of the Federation because of the loss of faith in our police’ capacity to enforce law (Kayode, 2013).
However, despite the existence of these measures, crime has continued to escalate in Umuahia. Umuahia urban being a Nigerian urban centre is not left out of this menace as armed robbery, burglary and theft, and other hitherto unknown crimes seem to be on the increase in spite of military effort to curb the menace. There appears a growing deterioration in the security of life and property, resulting from the activities of criminals. These therefore necessitated this segmental study to examine the use of military in fight against crime in Umuahia urban.
Based on the forgoing, the following research questions are formulated to guide this study:
- What are the security challenges in Umuahia town?
- What are the implications of the use of the military in crime control in Umuahia on the professionalism of the military?
- What are the causes of crime in Umuahia town?
- Are the military properly trained and equipped to control crime in Umuahia?
- How does the military fight crime in Umuahia town?
- To what extent has the military fared in the fight against crime in Umuahia town?
- How do the people see the role of the military in preventing crime in Umuahia town?
- What are the solutions, remedy or way forward to control the increase in crime and insecurity in Umuahia town?
Objectives of the Study
The general objective of this study is to explore the influence of the military in the fight against crime in Umuahia town.
The specific objectives are:
- To find out the security challenges in Umuahia town.
- To ascertain the implications of the use of the military in crime control in Umuahia on the professionalism of the military.
- To ascertain the causes of crime in Umuahia town.
- To ascertain if the military are properly trained and equipped to control crime in Umuahia.
- To evaluate the effort of the military in fight against crime in Umuahia town.
- To find out the extent to which the military has fared in the fight against crime in Umuahia town.
- To ascertain the way people see the role of the military in preventing crime in Umuahia town.
- To suggest possible solutions, remedy or way forward to control the increase in crime and insecurity in Umuahia town.
Significance of the Study
This study has both practical and theoretical significance. Theoretically, this study will add to the existing body of literature on military and the fight against crime. Consequently, it will serve as a reference material to other scholars/researchers in their future research around the same issue.
Practically, the outcome of this study, when completed, will serve as an important document for policy formulation and development strategies on how best to address the problems of crime. The results of this study will help in understanding the challenges faced by the military in Umuahia town and also provide suggestions for improving the role of the military. The study is significant because it will help the government to know more about crime in urban centres.
Definition of the Terms
Armed Robbery: This is the unlawful taking of personal property from a person’s presence, against the person’s will, by force or the threat of force. In this study it refers broadly to the unlawful possession of lethal weapons by a person or group of persons with the intent to or actual dispossess of a person or group of persons of his/her or their valuable(s) against the person(s) will, either with force or the threat of it.
Crime: crime is any acts that is prohibited by criminal law and punishable by the state
Crime Control: This is the efforts and activities designed to hold the volume of crime in effective check, to keep it from spreading, to restrict and prevent crime infection and contamination and to protect the society against the activities of violent criminals.
DIA: The Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) works as a secret government agency and responsible for intelligence gathering. Their operations are more military styled unlike the NIA. The Agency may also be involved in intelligence sharing with the CIA and MI6. Most of their operations are classified and not publicly published. They operate almost like ‘ghost’ and they are well respected.
Insecurity: This is the state of fear or anxiety stemming from a concrete or alleged lack of protection or it can also be described as not knowing, a lack of control, and inability to take defensive action against forces that portend harm or danger to an individual or group, or what makes them vulnerable.
Internal Security: Internal security is the freedom from danger to life and property and the presence of conducive atmosphere for the people to pursue their legitimate interest within the society.
Kidnapping: Kidnapping is simply carrying off a person surreptitiously for an illegal purpose.
Military: This is an agency of the government that is concerned with upholding the internal security and external integrity of a given society. It is located outside the political arena and is mobilized only on invitation to quell an internal explosive situation that is beyond the control of the civil police, or to contain external aggression.
National Security: National security is the actions and policies taken by a nation against all internal and external threats to its socio-economic and political stability and borders. It can also be defined as the maintenance of the survival and prosperity of the State and its institutions through the use of economic, military and political powers. A nation’s security architecture is designed to protect its people, its communities, its institutions, its reputation, its territorial integrity, etc.
NIA: The National Intelligence Agency (NIA) is a Nigerian government division tasked with overseeing foreign intelligence and counterintelligence operations.
Police Force: A police force is a constituted body of persons empowered by the state to enforce the law, protect property, and limit civil disorder. It is separate from military or other organizations involved in the defence of the state against foreign aggressors. Their sole duty is to protect the citizens and state from internal insecurity.
Security: Security is the degree of resistance to, or protection from, harm.
Security Challenges: This is the concerns and threats that is inimical to the peace and development of a society. In this study, one will be investigating on those violent crimes that constitute Nigeria security challenges, which are; the threat of extreme Islamic sects like Boko Haram, militia from the oil rich Niger Delta, armed robbery, kidnapping, ritual killings, influx of illegal migrants from the neighbouring countries, emergence of political and regional thugs, illegal arms dealing in Nigeria border, and the collapse of the justice system.
Society: Society is a group of people who share a defined territory and a culture. In sociology, we take that definition a little further by arguing that society is also the social structure, institutions and groups and the interactions of that group of people in a given geographical territory.
SSS: The State Security Service (SSS), also known as the Department of State Services (DSS), is the primary domestic intelligence agency of Nigeria. It is primarily responsible for intelligence gathering within the country and for the protection of senior government officials, particularly the President and state governors.
State: A state is a nation or territory considered as an organized political community under one government.
Terrorism: This is the calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate Governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious or ideological.
Violent Crime: This is a crime in which the offender uses or threatens to use violent force upon the victim. This entails both crimes in which the violent act is the objective, such as murder, as well as crimes in which violence is the means to an end, (including criminal ends) such as robbery, terrorism, kidnapping, etc. A violent crime may end with injury or death, both on the part of victim and offender.