Nigeria must recognize the need for a paradigm shift in security and safety management that emphasizes community and people-centred approach.
As such a community violence prevention and human security programme is needed in response to the complexity and the interrelatedness of both and new security threats-from chronic and persistent poverty to ethnic violence, human trafficking, climate change, health pandemics, terrorism and sudden economic and financial downturns.
Human security naturally connects several kinds of freedom such as freedom from want and freedom from fear, as well as freedom to take action.
It is in this regard that the national conference on community violence prevention and human security by the Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs is apt to compliment all efforts to assist the formal security outfits to secure the nation and its people.
It is hoped that this effort by the ministry and the Minister, Senator George Akume, will greatly support the goals of community safety and human security management and that the various outcomes will positively contribute to the fight against violent crimes which, sadly result in unnecessary deaths, human sufferings and wanton destruction of property.
It must be noted that to protect people, the first key which is their basic rights and freedom must be upheld. We understand that a people protected can exercise many choices while those who are empowered can avoid some risks in their standard of living and on security.
Consequently, numerous positive developments offer new opportunities to prevent violent conflicts and mitigate their impacts on people.
The existing security system is not designed to prevent and deal effectively with the new types of security threats. Putting human security on the agenda would inspire concern for vulnerable groups during conflicts and amplify support for protecting all human rights.
The Human Security Approach was introduced in 1994 by Global Development Report which led to a range of literature and initiative and access to a series of discussions in the United Nations while the 1994 Human Development Report of the UN was more specific listing seven essential dimensions of human security. They are economic, health, personal, political, food, environment and community.
This is neither comprehensive nor definitive and the UN Charter refers more flexibly to fundamental freedom. Out of these, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is still committed to achieving the three-point agenda of security, economy and corruption.
However, the federal government cannot do it alone and that is why there must be stakeholders’ engagements of community gate-keepers such as traditional and religious leaders, civil society, security agencies, local government officials and the private sector to make a much faster progress in this area.
It is for this reason that collaborations such as the one being put together by the Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs and a private partner to tackle the issue of community violence and human security must be applauded.
The safety of our communities is not negotiable and we will have to do everything to secure all citizens’ rights to a safer community.
Indeed, it is towards achieving this objective that already a draft strategic plan of action has been put in place following findings from all sources of community-related issues.
It is said that safety does not happen by accident. This is indeed true. It is by working together that we can find a commonly shared answer to develop our human and physical resources and make our communities safe and secure.
Aondona Tondu writes from Abuja