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Memo to Minister of Defence on challenges of insecurity

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Abba Dukawa

All eyes are now on retired Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi to consolidate the technical victory against   Boko Haram insurgency and other insecurity challenges facing the country.  In the early stage of Buhari’s administration Boko Haram suffered one loss after another until the authority boldly declared on national television that the militants had been “technically defeated”. That “technical victory”, it is apparent, is fast becoming a Pyrrhic victory with the renewed wave of attacks by the insurgents on soft targets.

In a wave of attacks by various militant groups   spanning a ten year period, families have lost their loved ones. Many women are now widows. Children have become orphans with no hope for the future. Many lives and properties have been lost and a large number of citizens rendered homeless. The latest insecurity challenges facing the country are kidnapping and attacks carried out by Herdsmen on some communities in the North and South.

During your ministerial screening in the Senate when reacting to a question by the Senate Chief Whip, Orji Kalu on insurgency in the country, you have said the relationship among the service chiefs was not cordial.

Magashi assumes office as Defence Minister

What Double Ministers should do for Kano

“Regarding the issue of the service chiefs, in my own view, we are caught in a situation where you find out that each commander or service chief tries to please the nation.

“Anytime the service chiefs conduct operations, you find radio coverage that the Air Force has done this, the Army has done this; thank God we are not near the ports where we can see that the Navy is also involved.

“If the Navy was around here, then the three services would have been on the same collision course. In an ideal situation where I served as an ECOMOG commander, it was a single unit that was overseeing the needs, the aspirations, welfare of our troops in combat zones.”

You also elaborated that “In Nigeria today, what we call command structure is now being seen as weakness. We have almost disseminated all our forces and I do not think the current structure is a true reflection of the manpower requirement in this country. We only have divisions probably by name but I do not think we have the required manpower to man them”.

You added  that to fight an insurgency or general insecurity, the Army, Air Force and the Navy should have a common troop working together and should not operate independent of one another with a   need for  a single commander who should take care of reinforcement, operations, change of troops, among other needs.

General, you had wealth of experience in warfare having served as chief of staff ECOMOG in Liberia. What Nigerians expect is a military victory not technical victory.  Militants of all kind should be boxed into a corner where they will be forced to negotiate peace terms which should be devoid of exchange of cash.

What you and the President need to do

The only action that will curb insecurity in the country is for services chiefs to relocate to the hotspot areas. The Chief of Army Staff has accused Nigerian soldiers of not being committed so he should permanently be in Borno, where he will coordinate his troops. The Chief of Defence Staff should have an annex office in Zamfara rather than sit in the   comfort of his office in Abuja. The Chief of the Air Force needs to also be on his toes. We need a new paradigm in terms of methods and personnel to fit into the sophistication of these crimes.

Nigerians need to see a different approach in terms of choosing the right personnel to dispense with the responsibilities of safeguarding the country. The present Chiefs seem to have reached their nadir and the motivation to deliver the right modules for effective security is tellingly missing.

Some Nigerians have been saying that it is about time the President rejig his service chiefs. Let these tired legs leave the scene for more robust and result-driven younger minds that will come up with a new perspective on how to combat our insecurity challenges.

ANALYSIS: Kano has the oldest governor, ministers

The army should be trained in counter-terrorism strategies and tactics, asymmetric warfare, and desert warfare. The Nigerian military has lost its morale due to overstaying in the battlefront, lack of proper medical attention, as well as poor salary and allowances.

Those within the ranks of the military who give controversial orders that impede efforts to crush the insurgency should be court-martialled and punished appropriately. There is need to reduce the shortage of security personnel by creating  a National Guard and a Special Forces Unit tasked with the responsibility of protecting the Nigerian state from internal and external aggressors.

It is about time the President goes beyond mere sloganeering, and sprouts to action. We are tired of weather-beaten rhetoric that has become so repetitive and boring. For about ten years, the country has had its own bitter taste of different kinds of insecurities   which practically stalled development in many areas that have direct impact on human capital development indices.

Finally, I am wishing you Allah’s guidance to witness real victory against all kinds of insecurities facing the country not  “technical victory”.

Dukawa can be reached at abbahydukawa@gmail.com

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Opinion

Sex for marks and the culture of victim blaming

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Victim Blaming

Hadiza S. Ibrahim

The ‘sex for grades’ phenomenon uncovered by the BBC Africa Eye documentary in the University of Lagos was published on YouTube on October 7, 2019, and has gone viral in the social media. This has led to a domino’s effect in other higher institutions.

In response to this, some commentators are of the view that it is not only the universities’ male lecturers that are to be blamed, but the female students should be blamed even more. They argue that some female students lead the lecturers on or seduce them by making sexual advances to the lecturers privately in their offices when they fail to meet up pass marks.

Sex for marks: Blame the students

However, even though some female students seduce male lecturers into having sex for grades, we cannot dispute that female students stand at more risk of being pressurized and exploited by male lecturers in the pursuit for sex for marks. There are more facts of vulnerability as seen in the documentary, from the side of the female students who are sometimes underage and become victims of sexual harassment from male lecturers at different variations ranging from verbal or physical abuses, blackmail, molestation or rape.

For the lecturers, they stand no risk at all. First, they have a choice, whether to fall into the temptation of their female students’ sexual advancement or turn them down. If they agree to the advances of their female students, they end up not as victims but rather as counterparts to the criminal offenses.

Sex for Marks: Kano Poly to punish randy lecturer

Kano court remands Vice Principal over sexual harassment

On the other hand, the female students who are sexually harassed by their male lecturers find themselves victimized. They are left with the choice of either being sexually abused or stand the risk of forgoing their grades; or in some instance, repeating a class/year of academic study, or even get withdrawn from the school. Consequently, such female students stand the risk of being oppressed, silenced and depressed. In some cases, where there is no immediate help, with no justice after being threatened by their predators, such female students go as far as attempting suicide because of trauma from the experience of sexual harassment, molestation or even rape.

In cases where lecturers are reported, the authorities are reluctant in implementing policies regarding criminal offenders or do nothing about it. This has led to a culture of impunity among the lecturers. For example, in the BBC Sex for Grades documentary there is even room commonly known as the ‘cold room’ in the Senior Staff Club of the University of Lagos where lecturers have affairs with students openly.

Sex for Marks: How Kano students are suffering in silence

So, the question is, who is at a greater risk of being victimized, the female students or the male lecturers? The gravity or effect of these occurrences in the lives of the victims is what is of greater concern.

Hadiza S. Ibrahim is a Life Coach based in Kano

 

 

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Opinion

Sex for marks: Blame the students

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Sex for marks

Abba Ibrahim Gwale

The BBC has indeed conducted an excellent investigation into the sexual harassment of female university students by the lecturers, but I blame the students more.

A lecturer once told me that one of his female students came late to a test. After the test, the student entered another class, ruffled her dress, and exposed half her breasts, retouched her make-up and approached the lecturer’s office. Before going, she confided to her friends that she was going to seduce the lecturer into giving her another test.

Unknown to her, a male student overheard her and reported to the lecturer. The moment she entered the office, the lecturer shouted at her to get out. From that day she had been avoiding the lecturer.

Another lecturer told me that a female student once told him that she couldn’t pass his examination however much she tried and was therefore willing to give him whatever he wanted from her.

“Whatever I want?” he asked her.

“Yes, you do understand what I mean.” She replied.

Also, when I was in Level 200, one of my female course mates was unable to submit an assignment on schedule. She went and wore a revealing dress and knocked on the lecturer’s door. Fortunately for him, he wasn’t in.

Sex-for-marks: How we caught Kano Poly lecturer–Muhuyi

Sex for Marks: Kano Poly to punish randy lecturer

Kano Poly lecturer in prison ‘for sexually harassing female student’

I know another lecturer who received a text message from a female student after she had sat for his exam. In the text, she wrote that she knew she didn’t perform well but needed to pass the exam. She therefore was willing to offer herself to him. She ended the message by begging him to tell her where he would like to meet her.

There is another lecturer who was told by a married woman that she was willing to have sex with him if only she would pass his course. She even urged him not to waste time as her husband was about to return from a journey.

There is yet another lecturer who I found in a sad mood in his office. He told me that he was about to terminate his employment with the university. When I asked him for a reason, he confided that his students have been trying to seduce him. He narrated a lot of stories regarding several female students.

Kano court remands Vice Principal over sexual harassment

Sex for Marks: How Kano students are suffering in silence

This problem is also prevalent in secondary schools where many male teachers suffer from the seductive cravings of female students.

However this is not to absolve the lecturers from blame as they are also guilty of harassing students sexually. In fact, the lecturers initiated the problem by demanding sex from their students. Nevertheless the students have become willing partners in this heinous crime.

Abba Ibrahim Gwale is a journalist based in Kano.

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How Kano has become Kidnappers Den

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Abbas Yusha’u Yusuf

For the past four years Nigerians are awash with news of kidnappings of high and low profile personalities. Citizens whose loved ones are frequent travelers on Nigerian highways are not that tranquil unless until they relations return safely from their journeys.

A number of deviant Nigerians are exploiting the opportunity to make money from kidnapping; some are obscure while others are prominent. The horrors with which kidnappers are visiting Nigerians have made them to lose hope as if the crime is getting out of government’s hands. The security and welfare of people should be the primary responsibility of government.

For the past thirty years the springing of disperse settlements are making Kano city to be a haven for different categories of people apart from those living in the ancient city surrounded by  the old city wall.

Previous governments have frowned at how unorganized settlements are frustrating efforts in making the city one of the best even though its master plan has been disrupted severally by allocation of plots by the same governments calling on residents to help organized the city.

Wadume: Notorious kidnapper arrested in Kano

The failure of urban planning in Kano metropolis

The plight of rural dwellers in Kano

No one will purchase a piece of land or a house without a ward head or a village head signing the receipt but the big question is why are kidnappers hiding in Kano?

When Magajin Garin Daura was abducted for more than 42 days, his captors brought him to Kano. People were thinking that Magajin Garin Daura was not even alive or was flown out of the country, but unfortunately he was found in Kano.

The most terrifying thing of recent was that of Hamisu Bala Wadume, a kidnapper who escaped from the Intelligence Response Team of the Nigerian Police with the aid of soldiers as he confessed. His port of call was Kano.

Every sane person knows very well that government alone cannot commit enough resources to secure the whole of Kano people. Kano residents must therefore stand up and initiate ways to ensure their security so that they will not be sleeping with kidnappers and other criminal elements.

Recently, Tudun Yola community has started taken measures to tackle the security situation. Tudun Yola is a middle class and elite community in Kano. The residents have cooperated and registered every household in their area, the occupants, and their means of earning a livelihood. Even the watchmen guarding various houses are registered by the community after providing valid addresses and references. These steps will make the community to address insecurity bedeviling the area.

Every Tom, Dick, and Harry may come to Kano and hide if government did not address how future settlements develop. If Wadume from one of the farthest northern states will hide in Kano after escaping from the police, who else cannot?

The money spent in creating Emirates in the state would have been used to cooperate with ward and village heads to address hidden criminals in their midst.

Abbas Yushau Yusuf can be reached at abyushau2@gmail.com

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