Where Lies the Security and Welfare of Nigerians? By Adeolu Oyebode
The Section 14 subsection 2b of the Nigerian Constitution (As amended) said the welfare and security of the citizens shall be the primary purpose of the government. Now that we have accepted that the nation is broke and only a selected few of the government is genuinely interested in the welfare of the citizens above self pockets, I think we should focus more attention on the security aspect. I am of the strong believe that if things goes this way, where the government can’t think properly of expanding her workforce thus providing jobs for the unemployed and idle youths, the security of the nation will be threatened and this is what we are presently experiencing.
I am unrepentantly crusading on the need for the Nigerian system to get it right as far as the security and welfare of her citizens would be achieved. In highlighting the major facets that needs to be addressed, I have so always clamor for the need to either overhaul the Nigerian Police Force or engage them in critical security, conflict resolution and administrative trainings.
Sometimes ago in 2008, I remembered that I wrote an article on Sahara Reporters as the Chairman of NANS Joint Campus Committee of Ondo and Ekiti States, and the article got a lot of criticisms from the police hierarchy when I pointed to the fact that the Nigerian Police Force is an embarrassment to the security of the Nation and gave instances of their failed attempt for ever for once been able to nab criminals or rather bury cases of prominence under the carpet. I gave instances and am still asking these similar question from our so-called mother security agent, Who Killed Bola Ige?, who killed the Ekiti State World Bank Consultant Mr. Ayo Daramola?, When will the N20, sorry its now N50 compulsory tax on commercial drivers going to stop among other posers?
That aside, my bone of contention this time around isn’t about these disreputable acts, I want to focus my opinion today on the fact that the Nigerian Police Force needs to be policed citing two critical events to back up my point.
I know that in the usual style, I would be called or summoned again that I am trying to incite the public against her security, or that I am denigrating the office of the Mr. President, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, because there are a lot of perspectives one can analyze security-related issues, but the fact remains that Security is everyone’s business, and from my own end as a patriotic Nigerian, I think it is most important that I join voices to expose some areas where I think the Police Force has goofed and the need for her to adjust and bring back normalcy.
I had always thought that public reactions and opinions were read by administrators of values and virtues in a civilized nation and that they are well noted for correction, but I am yet to be convinced in its totality that we are running a sane system in my nation Nigeria. Ever since the police officer attached to AIC limited, a company owned by a foremost politician and business mugol, Chief Harry Akande threatened to “Gun Down” a ‘civilian’ official of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos which was taken away from the company but was resisted by FAAN’s aviation security officials, who battled officials of the AIC, including throwing stones at Mr. Akande on the land dispute resolved by the Federal High Court in Lagos. It would be recalled that the police officer was quoted to have said “I’ll rough-handle you; I’ll Gun you down” and such was just an example of what is happening in the closest of the Nation. I strongly believe that harassment and intimidation is incessantly an aspect that must be checked by the system if indeed the people must have confidence in her security system. Just lately had the Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to a factional Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Rt. (Hon.) Rotimi Amaechi, Seimeikumo Debewari was declared deserted and directly or indirectly, the office was strategically pronounced empty. The safety of the Governor of Rivers State is therefore at a high risk, on the ground that he (ADC) has failed to report to the Police Headquarters since July. I am not putting up a defense for the ADC, neither will I put up for a Governor Rotimi Amaechi, but I am putting this to the public for the system to understand that indiscipline and unruliness persist in this security arm of the government. How on earth will an acting ASP fail to return to his secretariat? If that is true anyways, and at the same time, how reasonable will be security force declares the ADC of a Governor, a sitting Governor for that matter, vacant and fails to replace it under 24hours? That is a threat to the nation!
For a very long time, I have been criticizing the basis of the creation of State Police, because our political system is crude and can make use of any fraudulent means in hijacking the security arm of the Nation during electoral periods and also intimidating and harassment of opposition parties, but I have come into active reasoning, that the need to curb insecurity, crimes and participatory security is to join in the call for local policing which I will describe as the Municipal Police and could also be called the State Police. This is the only practicable way that we can adopt in the curb of violence and local crimes in our immediate society and it is also important that we erase the fear within us that the political class will abuse its existence, since the existing one has always been abused. My reasons for this are not far-fetched, they are explained below:
WHO IS THE CHIEF SECURITY OFFICER OF THE STATE?
The government at the Central (National) has turned the Governors of the 36 states and the FCT into comedians because they have no control, autonomy and cannot pass the direct orders to their security chiefs without the final approval from the Abuja class. The need to confirm the title of the State CSO on the number one citizens is very paramount at a time like this when the army of unemployed graduates are turning to armed robbers and political thugs, when internet frauds are perpetrated at State levels, and crimes are freely committed under the eyes of the Governors, who have no authority in controlling crimes that just the title. No wonder a whole Governor in Anambra State, H.E Dr. Chris Ngige was kidnapped in a broad day light couldn’t be rescued by his ADC, CSO, Chief Detail and all the almighty patrols that follows him all around. Unfortunately, Chief Bola Ige, the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was assassinated and up till tomorrow, I am sure that the perpetrator will never be known. I just cited the instance of Governor Rotimi Amaechi who had earlier been threatened that his security chiefs would be withdrawn when the fracas between him and the President started and lately his ADC was declared vacant. I gave this poser just to enable us all to know that there is problem in this a nation where dog kills lion.
WHY THE SECURITY VOTES ACCRUE TO THE GOVERNOR?
To me as a person, I don’t know of others, I am still finding it difficult to understand the nexus behind the hundreds of millions accrued to Governors who aren’t the Chief Security Officers of the State, but whom I termed as Literary CSOs. In my own view, I think the security votes should be used to ensure that the security of her citizens are optimally protected and not just for self safety or shared between the security chiefs who could be withdrawn anytime, any day. I think if I am not mistaken, the security votes could be to maintain peace and avert crisis or mainly the resources for the boys. I know of some states whose security vote is above 1billion, some about half a billion while few are above a hundred million. This could possibly be by population and available resources from the Abuja Country.
WHO ARE THE THIEVES AND CRIMINALS?
I can say this anywhere that the criminals and armed robbers are the unemployed, jobless, idle and frustrated youths of this nation. The unemployed in this nation have a rough statistics of about 47% of the nation population and above 75% of the youth army. I am writing this article right away from the Ekiti State University where over seventeen thousand (17, 000) applicants are writing exams for vacancies in the civil service commission of about less than 3,000 slots, that is if the vacant slots are even up to that! In a short while, I cannot but recollect that the unemployed also applied for teaching vacancies sometimes ago, also in Ekiti, where over 14, 000 people applied and less than 2,000 applicants were invited for oral interview. During the INEC recruitment exercise, over 150, 000 youths applied and the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega said the commission (INEC) needs just less than 10,000 and many more instances that I cannot share because of time. Now tell me, what do you want those people to do? They shouldn’t eat? The criminals are the youths.
Why it is most important for the States to have Municipal Police is simply because they would be able to phantom a way of reducing the unemployed and also understand the ways of managing their people.
THE ETHNIC AND LANGUAGE FACTOR
The criminals live with us! They are people we can ordinarily know during the day but mask or hide under the dark to rob at night. If the States have a municipal or metropolitan police system, I am confident that crime rates can easily be checked. Everyman manning his own post will work in reducing crimes. You can imagine if a hausa man is to police an Ekiti man where his language and culture are extremely different, what becomes his safety and security as a person? Besides, no thief will travel from Adamawa to Onitsha for the sole purpose of coming to rob at night and return the next day, it would be possibly someone who resides, lives or stays in such environment. I am strongly of the belief that language understanding is a veritable tool in finding possible criminals after the crimes have been committed.
Aside the fact that our country needs State police this time, I belief that we are far behind in technology and ICT usage in crime detection, identification and confirmation, we are still using the crude means of forcing alleged criminals to confess or staged-managed arrest all to proof that they are working and at the long run silent over the matter. It is high time we went technological in our criminal investigations. Please, I am saying this because I know that an average Nigerian is violent but few still maintain their virtues and values in standing by the path of truth and sanity.
I preach that the use of forensic, fingerprint analysis, CCTV on many of our crime-prone highways among others must be adopted now, rather than unprofessionally carrying arms and ammunitions. I do wonder at times, when I watch the televisions and observe how the security aides and personnel handle arms, it looks unprofessional and prone to attack. I want to advise that all security arms, not only the NPF, should go technologically advanced.
I won’t take much time in attacking the security as you may think I would have done but I only appeal to the DG SSS, Inspector General of Police, the contemporaries of the NSCDC, FRSC and others to take note of the issues raised.
Thanks for taking your time to read in between the lines.
Nigeria shall rise!
A Public Affairs Analyst
Writes from Ado-Ekiti.
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