INFORMATION SERVICE, VOCATIONAL EMPOWERMENT AND SECURITY ISSUES IN NIGERIA: ANY CONNECTION? BY EGUNJOBI R. A. Ph.D. COLLEGE LIBRARIAN, ADEYEMI COLLEGE OF EDUCATION, ONDO Concept of Security/ Insecurity Security is an encompassing phenomenon It is a state of existence that is free from danger, fear, threat, anxiety and uncertainty. security is a stable, relatively predicable environment in which an individual or group may pursue its ends or objectives without disruption, harm, danger and without fear of disturbance or injury (Dasuki,2013) security could be viewed at the levels of an individual, a group or society a state or a nation all are interwoven-the security of an individual will affect the nation and vice versa. Concept of Security/ Insecurity contd In essence, a country’s national security is concerned with the well- being, welfare and interest of her citizens, preservation of her sovereignty and territorial integrity against external aggression. It involves the establishment of proactive and defensive measures to safeguard all persons and materials from every form of danger. This will in the long run ensure development Insecurity is however the direct opposite of all the foregoing. National Security National security or insecurity could be internal or external. Internal security relate to the political, economic and social factors which affect a country from within. E.g. political strife, ethnicity, and resource control agitation. External security on the other hand is influenced by foreign policies. It is important to state that both internal and external security affect decision making process of government National Security contd no country all over the world is free from insecurity in spite of all measures put in place by governments For instance Nigeria was at political difference with Cameroun over Bakassi Peninsula and is presently at political difference with Britain over visa bonding going down Nigeria’s history, most threats to national security in Nigeria have been internal rather than external (Afeno, 2013) Nigeria’s Security Challenges every country’s security challenges are linked to its history, culture, social structure and economic conditions. the security challenges facing Nigeria since 1999 include: terrorism (Boko haram) pipeline vandalism militancy kidnapping cultism armed robbery political assassinations arms proliferation piracy and ethno-religious conflicts are among Nigeria’s security challenges contd • These have been linked to poverty, unemployment and corruption injustice, undue influence by the powerful ones unpatriotic leadership, quota system and illiteracy. (Johnnall, 2013) • these have resulted in extreme anger, frustration and provocation that have prompted the current insecurity • Let us take a closer look at some of these challenges Terrorism (Boko Haram) Terrorism is ‘the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes’ (Dictionary.com ,2013) ‘Acts of violence committed by groups that view themselves as victimized by some notable historical wrong. Although these groups have no formal connection with governments, they usually have the financial and moral backing of sympathetic governments. Typically, they stage unexpected attacks on civilian targets, including embassies and airliners, with the aim of sowing fear and confusion.’ (Cultural Dictionary, 2013) The main act of terrorism is Nigeria today is caused by Boko Haram sect, a Muslim rebel movement. Terrorism (Boko Haram) contd Boko Haram means: Western Education is sinful. The sect originated from north eastern part of Nigeria and their main objective is to oppose and fight western education and man-made laws. main targets are schools, churches and Christians and sometime mosques. The group been claimed to be responsible for the death of about 10,000 people, majority of whom are innocent people. Foreigners are not spared by this sect catalogue of attacks carried out by Boko Haram in Nigeria Date Place incident 7 September 2010 Bauchi Bauchi prison break 31 December Abuja December 2010 Abuja attack 22 April, 2011 Yola, Adamawa State Boko Haram frees 14 prisoners during a jailbreak in Yola, Adamawa State 29 May 2011 Northern Nigeria May 2011 Northern Nigeria bombings 16 June 2011 Abuja police headquarters The group claims responsibility for the 2011Abuja police headquarters bombing 26 June 2011 Maiduguri Bombing attack on a beer garden in Maiduguri, leaving 25 dead and 12 injured 10 July 2011 Suleja, Niger State Bombing at the All Christian fellowship Church in Suleja, Niger State Date Place incident Abuja 2011 Abuja bombing 4 November 2011 Damaturu 2011 Damaturu attacks 20 January 2012 Kano January 2012 Kano bombings 3 June 2012 Bauchi state 17 June 2012 Kaduna State. 3 October 2012 Mubi 18 March 2013 Kano bus station. 15 church-goers were kill and several injured in a church bombing in Bauchi state Suicide bombers strike three churches in Kaduna State. At least 50 people were killed. Around 25 – 46 people were massacred in the town of Mubi in Nigeria during a nightime raid. 2013 Kano Bus bombing: At least 22 killed and 65 injured, when a suicide car bomb exploded in Kano bus station. 7 May 2013 Bama town. At least 55 killed an 105 inmates freed in coordinated attacks on army barracks, a prison and police post in Bama town. 6 July 2013 Yobe State. Yobe State school shooting: 42 people, mostly students, were killed in school attack in nort26 August 2011 heast Nigeria. Pipeline Vandalism • This vice is as old as the discovery of crude 1956 • Nigeria has lost over 70 billion dollars to the activities of vandals of petroleum pipelines(Adewole, 2013) • This has led to the premature exit of certain number of oil companies in the Niger Delta region. • Several people have died as a result of oil pipeline vandalism. • In 2012 alone: security agents carried out 7585 raids arrested 1,945 criminals. the Joint Task Force seized about 15,000 barges, boat and Sundry equipment used in illegal transportation destroyed 4,349 illegal refineries. (Madike, 2013) Pipeline Vandalism contd • In January 2013 alone: • 5,574 surface tanks, 638 pumping machines and 18 vessels used for siphoning illegal crude oil were seized • 362 illegal refineries were located and destroyed • while 3 vessels, 7 barges, 75 wooden boats were intercepted in both Rivers state Bayelsa state, and Delta State. • 175 suspects were arrested. Kidnapping This is the act of forcefully taking people away to an unknown destination and releasing them only after a ransom has been paid. It may lead to the death of the victims during confrontation with security agents or when the ransom is not forth coming. both citizens and non – Citizens have been victims. The main targets are tourist, investors, expatriate, entertainment stars, politicians and their family members. It has painted Nigeria in bad light and sabotaged its economy Kidnapping contd • As at 2009, Nigeria was the sixth kidnapping country in the world. • This list was led by Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and Philippines (Boss,2009) • Nigeria is now (In 2013) the 4th kidnapping country of the world. • Nigeria accounts for 25% of global kidnapping (Ade,2013) Cultism • Opaluwah (2013) defined this as a set of practices, belief system or idea whose essence is known only to the inner members and excessively admired and defended even to the point of laying down one’s life. • It found its way to the Nigeria higher institution in 1953 as pirates confraternity at the University College Ibadan with a good intention; to curb tribalism, elitism and other injustice in the community. • Over the years due to conflict of doctrine, other associations sprang up i. e. Buccaneers, Mafia, Vickings, Black Axe, Black Cats, Eiye and Black Scorpion • This has led to intra and inters – cult clashes that have led to students or staff being wounded, maimed or killed. • It has also led to incarceration, rustication or expulsion of innocent and guilty students. Efforts at improving security • The Nigerian government declared a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states in a bid to fight the activities of boko haram. • Also the USA and Nigeria are cooperating at a high level presently against terrorism. • government has enacted law against pipeline vandals to stamp out the menace of vandalism in the country. • extensive enlightenment programme has been set up on the dangers of kidnapping, terrorism, vandalism, illegal bunkering and its devastating effect on the economy and development of the nation. Despite all these, the problem of insecurity is still here with us. The Problem • All people involved in terrorism, vandalism, cultism and kidnapping did not take up the bad habits one day. • They became what they are because of influence of the environment. • Of course they were not given the right exposure to assist them in character moulding. • Majority of these agents of insecurity are either uneducated or not gainfully employed. • Even for those with education, they have not been given the skills they need for self-reliance. Unemployment A major bane of the Nigerian society is unemployment. Statistics show that the unemployment rate in Nigeria has been on the increase by the year. It increased from 5.30 Percent in December 2006 to 21.10 percent in 2010 and 23.90 percent in January 2012. 23.90 percentage of the labour force are presently actively looking for job. (National Bureau of Statistics, 2013) A recent report puts the number of unemployed Nigerians at 40million (The Punch, 29 August, 2013). Obviously these people are looking for white collar jobs that are really not available. Perhaps if these have been equipped with some vocational skills, the story will be different. Exposure to the right information Majority of these people have not been exposed to the right information and most importantly to books. Over the years, developed nations have used library information services to manage security (Abiolu et al, 2009). Information services provided by libraries have been used to manage terrorism, campaign against vices and win the hearts of their citizens. The Goethe – Institute, Nairobi in conjunction with Kenya Library Association (KLA) organised a conference in 2008 on conflict resolution in Kenya. Exposure to the right information • Libraries played an important role in creating ethnic harmony in Sri Lanka in 2008. • Researches have shown that libraries and information centres have very significant roles to play when social conflicts arise. • It is therefore imperative to tackle these two problems to ensure national security. Vocational Training and empowerment Vocational training mainly aims at preparing individual recipients for the world of work and making them employable in different occupations through inculcation of special skills in the recipient. Most vocational training programs prepare students for hands-on work rather than academic work. Such trainings could include carpentry, plumber, locksmith, beauty therapy (Button, 2013). Vocational Training and empowerment contd This kind of training will make them economically independent. Unfortunately, our society is full of people (majority of whom are youths) without skills that could make them economically independent. Such people eventually constitute security risks to the society. In Nigeria’s context of scarce job opportunities, it is essential to use the time and raw energy of the youth to develop in them vocational skills and self-entrepreneurship disposition. Vocational Training and Empowerment contd This underscores the importance of vocational training through business innovation courses designed for the youths, and the need to invest in it. The objectives will include giving them new vocational skills, equipping them with the skills on management, training them to design and plan micro-enterprises thereby promoting self-entrepreneurship amongst them. This will motivate them towards self-reliance, to create new jobs and help reduce anger, frustration and provocation among the restive population In this framework, it also important that provision of relevant information resources cannot be overemphasized Information Service and Promotion of Security Information serves as an agent of liberation and an asset which when acquired could guide in making sound judgments a properly informed person is a positively empowered person while a misinformed man is a negatively empowered one. Information is always available around us at individual, corporate, interpersonal and interorganizational levels. Information Service and Promotion of Security contd Such could also be written, oral or digital; all of which are useful for decision making. the social networks like Facebook, 2go, YouTube and the rest are full of myriads of user generated information which are made available virtually on a daily basis. With a single text message on the cell phone hundreds of people could either be properly informed or misinformed. consider the role of ICT in the Arab spring of 2010 or the Wikileak scandal of November 2010, when U.S. State department diplomatic "cables" were released for public consumption. These information actually elicited different types of reaction. All these are attestation to the power of information. Information Service and Promotion of Security contd Due to the importance of information, there exist some professionals whose job it is to acquire, store, manage and disseminate information. These are referred to as information service providers. Information professionals are skilled in the organization and retrieval of recorded knowledge. Traditionally, their work has been with print materials, but these skills are being increasingly used with electronic, visual, audio, and digital materials. Information professionals work in a variety of public, private, non-profit, and academic institutions. (Wikipedia, 2013) Information Service and Promotion of Security contd • Some typical job titles for information professionals are Archivist, Business Intelligence Officer, Chief Information Officer, Community Information Officer, Customer Service Officer, Data Researcher, Information Consultant, Information, Knowledge or Records Manager, Librarian, Program Manager, Research Officer, Web manager or Web master. • However, the discourse of this paper will be limited to library information service and librarians. Information Service and Promotion of Security contd Libraries are avenues for flow of local and foreign information and knowledge infrastructure. They provide organized collection of information resources to their parent communities either in a physical building or a virtual space or both. Such collections may include the traditional sources (books, periodicals, newspapers, manuscripts, films, maps, prints, documents, and microform) and electronic and digitized sources like CDs, cassettes, videotapes, DVDs, e-books, audiobooks, databases, and other formats. Information Service and Promotion of security contd The common feature of all these formats is that they contain useful and relevant information to the needs of the users of such libraries. These information are useful for the personal, social and educational development of the individual. Libraries ensure that people have access to information that will help them to make informed judgments and decisions. Such judgment and decision include abstaining from vices and maintaining peace and order. Since libraries are created for citizens, they have social responsibilities to play towards ensuring peace in the community. Information Service and Promotion of Security contd. • Information plays a major role in mitigating insecurity • It can serve as bridge builder which is an indispensable element in security management (Abiolu & Okere, 2009; Byrs, Grardet & Markievics, 2002) • Security can be promoted through resource sharing exhibition translation acquisition advocacy peace education . Information Service and Promotion of Security Cont. Unfortunately, very little has been done to employ information services in tackling insecurity in Nigerian. Our society relegates library and information services to the background. Gone are those days when parents will drop their children in the community library while going out. The public library system has collapsed, libraries are non-existent in most communities and where they exist, they are non-functional. Ours is not a reading society How libraries can help promote security A sensitive Librarian should be able to acquire materials that can promote peace and security in the society, i.e. relevant government publications (bulletin, constitution), audio-visual items (oral testimonies, recorded confession, speeches and verdicts) proceedings of court cases, newspapers and magazines. (Adewuyi , 2009) materials that depict the effect of peace or insecurity could be made available, so that people can make sound judgment. users of such information could become ambassador of peace in unsecured areas. They could be involved in advocacy activities. This involves meeting the stakeholders and explaining to them the economic and developmental reasons why peace must reign. They could also work with NGO free of charge or at a cost to disseminate information via tapes, compact disk, leaflet and posters. How libraries can help promote security contd • When information needs are met, insecurity could be reduced. • Provision of information on concepts such as: wealth generation, employment opportunities, entrepreneurship, leadership role, decision making, heroes, rule of law, mental balance, self-actualization, educational opportunities will assist in enlightening the users of the library on ventures they could engage in productively. • Libraries can also compile the list of various vacancies available in the newspapers and paste them conspicuously where unemployed youths can have access to them. • Information about health entrepreneurship and wealth creation can be compiled and make available to citizens How libraries can help promote security contd Information centres could as well collaborate with Non-Government Organizations, media houses and security agents to ensure peace. libraries can partner with these bodies by serving as documentation centres for fact and figure and also by providing information in different formats suitable for different categories of users. For instance in an illiterate environment, pictures or posters can be used to explain the essence of security. Security advertisement recorded in compact disk can be collected from media houses and freely make available for users of information centres How libraries can help promote security contd Libraries are not only information centres, they also serve as training centres. In this regard, libraries can organize training in the areas of Information and communication Technology, (ICT) entrepreneurship and wealth creation. Such training can be done through seminars, workshops, and conferences. This would keep those who would have committed crime busy and responsible while equipping them with skills for careers. Good use of ICT has been found to take many people away from unemployment. How libraries can help promote security contd There may be cases where information available in information centres of crisis ridden areas are not written in local languages and could not be easily decoded by citizens. Here the Librarian is duty bound to ensure that such information is translated to simple languages that would successfully pass the message across. This is necessary because un-decoded information is useless and can be termed unavailable. • . Conclusion Having looked at the main problems underlying insecurity in Nigeria, it is imperative that all hands should are on deck towards ensuring peace and security in the society, more importantly that no community can develop in the atmosphere of insecurity. A major step may be a review of our tertiary education curriculum towards equipping all students with one or two vocational skill before graduation. Another step is the utilization of opportunities embedded in information services to bring about positive change, peace, and effective security in the society. Recommendations Efforts should be made to create functional and adequate library and information service centres in all nooks and cranny of our country Library and information centres should be well funded to organize seminars and workshops on wealth creation, employment and entrepreneurship. They could also put up vocational trainings for unemployed youths in the community There is urgent need to empower the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to be more effective in providing information services the can help to reduce the rate of insecurity in Nigeria. The National Orientation Agency should also be empowered to collaborate with Library and Information centres, NonGovernmental Organizations, and other interest group to advocate for peace and security in the country.