Aug 16, 2019

Operations by Security Agents: Rules of Engagement v. Human Rights of Citizens

Crime and security has always been a major problem in several nations. Nigeria is not an exception to this.  The protection of a nation depends on the strength of its security agencies. In Nigeria, several steps have been taking to curb crime in the federal, state and local government level. Security agency is a governmental organization which conducts intelligence activities
for the internal security of a nation. For example in America, there is the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation). There is no centralized security agency in Nigeria. The DSS (Department of State Services) in Nigeria is responsible for the protection of senior government officials particularly the president and governors. 

In Nigeria, at the federal level, security agents comprise the Police, Army, Immigration Service, Customs Service, DSS, Civil Defense Corps and so on.  There has always been an overlap in the functions of these agencies. 

The Agency which has been bothering Nigerians is SARS (Special Anti Robbery Squad). In 2009, SARS found its way into Nigerian Universities to curb internet fraud and cultism. Ten years later, that is not what we have today. SARS go against Nigerian youth with dreadlocks, piercings, expensive cars and mobile phones. This has led to the #endSARS campaign because of the constant abuse by these operatives. 

The problem with these security agents including SARS is corruption. They brutalize citizens and get away with it. Police officers who are to safeguard the citizenry kill because of bribe. The Constitution safeguards the human rights of every Nigerian. Such rights include the right to life, the right to the freedom of movement, the right to personal liberty, and so many others which have been deliberately ignored by these security agents. The most common is the detention of protesters by these security agents who have a right to freedom of assembly and freedom of speech.

The importance of security agencies to any nation cannot be overemphasized as they are solely responsible for the security and protection of life and properties in Nigeria. However, a line must be drawn to ensure that the human rights of citizens are safeguarded while pursuing their functions. 

The questions that easily come to mind are: what is the punishment available to erring officers who deviates from the rules of engagement? What is the thin line between the rules of engagement and human rights?

The various questions and issues on operations by security agents and the way forward would be discussed at the Plenary Session of the NBA Annual General Conference scheduled to hold on;

Date: Wednesday, 28th August 2019

Time:  11.00 – 12.30

Venue: Lantana, Eko Hotel


Chair: Chief of Army Staff

Lead Speaker: Stanley Ibe

Panelists:  Major General Shalangwa (IGP)

                    Ogechi Ogu

                    Security Committee