In early August, with its release of its strategy toward sub-Saharan Africa, the Biden-Harris administration laid out a bold vision for a 21st-century ... US-Africa partnership. The strategy and the upcoming Africa Leaders Summit, which President Biden and his deputy Harris will host in December, comes at the right time.
The state is also popularly known for the bustling energy of its industrious people spread across agriculture and other related commercial activities. It holds the promise of a prosperous state for all.
Kaduna’s security challenges
However, attaining its full potential has been stifled. Over the years, Kaduna has witnessed some of the most devastating acts of armed conflict and violence on its residents.
These attacks have been characterised by the nefarious activities of organised criminal groups, reflected in incidents such as kidnappings for ransom, armed banditry, communal clashes, tensions between farmers and pastoralists, ethno-religious agitations, sexual violence, and more. In 2021, no fewer than 1,192 lost their lives to armed bandits and other forms of violence in the state, and a total of 3,348 persons were kidnapped in the same period.
The limited number of police officers in the entire state, 11,246, puts a strain on the ability of the Nigerian Police Force to optimally address the state’s complex internal security challenges. With a projected population of 10,088,312 in 2022, the state requires about 20,176 law enforcement officers, in accordance with globally accepted standards.
What is being done
The current administration, led by the able leadership of Mallam Nasir El Rufai, has pioneered bold reforms since its inception in 2015 aimed at addressing some of the socio-economic challenges which are responsible for triggering the state’s insecurity crisis. Yet, these mean very little if the safety and security of human lives are not wholly guaranteed.
This is a position that is clearly at the heart of the current administration’s drive, which has led it to take certain steps in this direction.
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On matters of security, Kaduna has continued to partner with the federal government by providing support to the security forces deployed within the state.
This has included the donation of equipment aimed at enabling them to carry out various operations across the state in an efficient and effective manner, including the building of barracks and squadron formations across ungoverned spaces. The current administration has assisted in funding security operations such as Operations Whirl Punch, Bada Mamaki, Thunder Strike, and Puff Adder.
It has also assisted in funding the Department of State Services’ (DSS) Quick Response Team across the state while strengthening the Kaduna State Vigilante Service (KADVIS) through the provision of non-lethal arms.
Other measures put in place aimed at addressing insecurity in Kaduna state by the current administration include investing in smart technologies and intelligence-driven platforms using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for surveillance.
The Rufai administration has also established the Kaduna State Integrated Forensic Laboratory which has proven to be useful in tracing crimes across the state. Similarly, it also created the Single Security Coordination Centre, which seeks to ensure proper coordination of security operations across the state.
As part of the Safe City Initiative, the current administration has also prioritised the deployment of high technology CCTV cameras with biometric capabilities across the three major city centres’ road networks and pathways within the state which include Kaduna, Zaria and Kafanchan city centres.
Prioritising human security
To this end, what is needed to sustain these achievements and to get Kaduna out of the woods with regards to its numerous insecurity challenges is a multifaceted approach that has at its core the prioritisation of humans first, and one which builds on the current and existing progress made by the current administration.
This multifaceted approach to development is one that is premised on the understanding that development would remain elusive and unattainable if ‘human’ security is not at its centre.
The current administration has therefore adopted an integrated approach that recognises that security in its broad sense entails various critical components which make up the whole, such as food security, housing security, health security, social security, economic security, and climate security to mention a few.
Building on this approach requires that primacy is accorded to the most basic unit of local communities, the family units, by ensuring their lives and livelihoods are guaranteed, thereby fostering resilience.
At the centre of this bold plan is the need to amplify investments in human capital development as a crucial requirement for achieving meaningful and sustainable development in Kaduna. To achieve this, the youth, being critical bastions of Kaduna’s heritage, also have a fundamental role to play not just as leaders of tomorrow, but as today’s partners and leaders in subnational building and development. This envisioned plan is also one that shall be accomplished not by the primitiveness of old ways but by the ingenuity that comes from data-driven development which is led by smart technology.
More importantly, this new human-focused security plan seeks to give voice to the industrious people of Kaduna through people-centric governance.
This entails ensuring that the people are directly involved in all matters relating to their safety and security and that they ultimately get to make these decisions themselves, through the support of the government and not by the government.
It is for these reasons that I present myself to the good people of Kaduna as a worthy servant with the character, competence, and capacity to prioritise and deliver human security for all. To this end, some of our plans going forward shall include setting up a Community Peace Partnership Initiative (CPPI) which shall be a performance-based grant to promote sustainable peace and attract participation at the local level. Also, we shall operationalise a Kaduna State Security Fund, which is aimed at providing the state with the financial resources to address its security challenges.
Furthermore, we shall be deploying Early Warning Systems across all existing hotspots in the affected local government areas across the state.
We shall also prioritise citizens’ resilience building through the Kaduna State Victims Support Fund. As we anticipate the dawning of a new day come 2023 and beyond, let us be reminded that our collective strength as a people, is rooted in our collective safety and security. Together we shall overcome the security challenges that have held us back for so long. Together, through our collective will as a people, we shall deliver a safe, peaceful, secure, and prosperous Kaduna state for all. Let’s get to work.
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