Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-rufai, has accused the military and the police of not doing enough to curb the rising insecurity in the country.
The governor, who spoke, yesterday, at a town hall meeting in Kaduna, blamed security agencies for being reactionary rather than proactive to security matters. He, however, noted that the number of soldiers and paramilitary personnel were inadequate to overrun bandits in various forests across the country, just as he called for the provision of superior weapons for security agencies to enable them wipe out bandits in the society.
“Amidst the sorrows and suffering insecurity has caused to many of our citizens, some of our compatriots will be tempted to dismiss gatherings like this as futile and impotent gestures. No one who is in a position of responsibility can deny the necessity for firm action in the form of proactive and sustained offensives against the criminals who menace us. Such security operations will not only cripple the outlaws, but will, also, reassure ordinary citizens, bolster the morale of the security agencies and provide an alternative focus for the energies that are being dissipated on fractious endeavours.”
The governor faulted a situation in which the security agencies only react to cases of banditry and abduction.
“We are in a war with these terrorists who are challenging the sovereignty and monopoly of the instruments of coercion of the Nigerian state and its territory. Our security forces must collaborate to take the war to them, recover and restore the un-governed forests these terrorists occupy, and enable our law-abiding citizens to engage in their legitimate pursuits, including farming and livestock production, without fear. These bandits have lost their right to life under our Constitution and must be wiped out in their entirety. There is no other way to approach the current insurgency situation, today, as far as governmental action is concerned.
“But action and discourse are not mutually exclusive. The theme of this town hall meeting speaks to that function of informed discourse as an enabler of more effective action. Setting benchmarks for enhanced security and national unity is an important imperative in ensuring that there is a common understanding of the two concepts and that, across this country and its diversity, there is a common register for talking about them and assessing them.”
The governor also accused the judiciary system of “working for criminals rather than the innocent citizens.” He said criminals prefer being taken to court because the case will linger to the extent that everybody would forget the criminal and the case in court.
He called for the decentralisation of the judiciary to make it more effective, especially in the aspect of speedy dispensation of justice.
“We must decentralise the judiciary; it is ineffective, it is working for the criminals than the innocent citizens.
“The justice system operates with ethos and at a pace that do not reflect the fragility of the situation and the urgency to demonstrate that the rule of law is meaningful. Prosecutions take so long that many citizens assume that the criminals have long been released, encouraging criminal conduct, and raising the dangerous appeal of illegal self-help. The delays in the dispensation of justice in Nigeria has made criminals to fall more in love with our courts than the innocent. This is unsustainable and unacceptable.
“The Constitution should be expeditiously amended to remove the unitary control of the superior courts and federalise our judiciary now. There is no other way to approach and deal with bandits than to wipe them out completely.
“We need more soldiers, we need superior weapons for the soldiers. The limited number of security agencies on ground are not well equipped with superior weapons. We need more policemen and paramilitary. In fact, we need State Police now. The police should be decentralised. The State is spending more for the police.”
The governor described centralised policing in a federation as a contradiction. He said that the state governments, today, bear most of the burden of the running costs of the Federal Police, hence the need for state police.
“So, I repeat my persistent call for State Police as soon as possible. We should, also, devolve more responsibilities and duties to the states to enable greater accountability and minimise the habit of blaming the Federal Government for every ill in Nigeria. We should, therefore, expeditiously amend the Constitution to vest all on-shore minerals, including petroleum in the states now.
“Be emphatic about the right of every citizen to security, freedom of movement and rights of residence, and that the choice of livelihoods must conform to the laws of the land;
“To address the banditry prevalent in the north-west and north-central, we must implement the national livestock transformation plan already produced four years ago to enable accelerated investment in modern animal husbandry, incorporating the rapid sedentarisation of herders in known locations.”