Whenever there is a clarion call by the country, those with genuine patriotic attributes usually step out to be counted and proffer solutions for the benefit of the larger society.
Recently, the country has been stampeded into murky waters of insecurity and, like the sea wave attack, many parts of the country are gradually being submerged with attendant painful results of tears, sorrow, blood and destruction.
This is despite the fact that the country had once passed through similar situations and emerged with banners of victory, but now the country seems handicapped in the face of bandits, kidnappers and militants. Yet, here is the country that once boasted of vibrant well-trained, equipped and disciplined security forces.
Last week, a group, Total Security Platform (TSP), created on July 22, 2019, as a platform where retired senior officers of the police, military and DSS analyse and proffer solutions to several security problems in the country by drawing from their well of experiences, offered to examine the reasons responsible for the escalating insecurity in the country.
Their resolve was sequel to a comment by this writer, who is a civilian on the platform.
According to him, “I was wondering what could have happened to the crop of security personnel we have today,” noting that many years back, in the 1980s, as a crime journalist, it was a fact that many members of TSP were very courageous, to the extent that they usually dared vicious armed robbers and took the war to their den and came out with stories of victory. He further added that we have today is a completely sad story. What could have happened? How and when did water enter the okro soup?
“The number of killings and attacks is baffling.Can somebody proffer solution?” In his response, retired CP Ibezimako Aghanya, who had held command positions in Kogi and Benue states, noted that because of the importance of the topic, he had to come out of his mourning shell while still mourning his late wife. He pointed at the training structure, which he observed was now very faulty.
Said he, “Solutions should include quality training that will involve training on how to police events to curb changes in mode of crime.”
Modern logistics was also important, which includes all policemen having enough in armoury while on escort duties, guards, etc. According to him, there should be regular training programme at police colleges, “with serving and retired officers knowledgeable in tactics and strategy on crime prevention and operation.”
Citing instances of policing errors, he said, “Imagine policemen on escort inside a Prado jeep with the air condition switched on. Policemen at roadblock, all checking vehicles at the same time. Policeman on bank guard reading newspapers; take them to burial ceremonies or any occasion, you find them eating in the full glare of guests.
“If you check those killed while escorting former Central Bank governor, Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo, they may not have been strategically positioned. Watch policemen on duty during government ceremonies, they are usually off guard.”
Also,a retired DeputyI nspector-General of Police, Mr. Taiwo Lakano, whose impressive operational strategy in Imo State is yet unequalled, even with his experience as a former SARS leader, expressed worry over heightened banditry when he noted that, “The operational deficiency of Nigeria Police becomes obvious when one looks at the failure of police to effectively control internal security. For God’s sake, two units of mobile squadron can effectively neutralise and flush out the so-called bandits from their hideouts.”
According to him, “The use of drones to collate credible intelligence would assist in geographically locating these bandits and flushing them out using the Mobile squadron. Where’s the police relevance in the scheme of things? We are being rendered into the abyss of irrelevance.”
Also, a retired Police Commissioner who held sway in the Federal Capital Territory and reknowned security analysts, Mr. Lawrence Alobi, who is also in mourning mood over his late wife, drew attention to some loopholes in police strategy today.
He said, “For example, during CHOGM (Conference of Common Wealth Heads of States), when I was CP, Federal Operations, the Army brought captains to be ADCs to visiting Heads of States and government and I strongly protested to the Chief of Staff to Mr. President, General Mohamned (rtd), and the NSA General Gusau (rtd), that ADC was a police function and not a military function and also told the two of them that using military officers as ADCs in a democratic dispensation is an attempt to militarized our policing and even our democracy and both the Chief of Staff and the NSA saw with me and all the captains were immediately withdrawn and I used DSPs as ADCs throughout the conference and even when Presidents Bill Clinton and Bush visited Nigeria in 2000 and in 2006, respectively, we used police officers as ADCs, but to my greatest surprise today military officers are now made ADCs to visiting Heads of States.
“One fact the law of equity teaches me is that equity protects the vigilant, not the indolent, and when you sleep over your right, equity will not come to your aid, hence, we should be courageous enough to be assertive and protect our territory and professional space, otherwise, we will become irrelevant among state security actors and before the citizenry. We have to do all we can to restore our lost glory and sense of pride.
“I wish to add that not only operational discipline but also effective supervision and operational effectiveness. This is seriously lacking in the Nigeria Police Force today. Please, with all sense of humility, I want to say that this is not the standard we bequeathed to the present leadership of the force.
“We all have to be concerned about our Nigeria Police Force and do something positive to reinvent our administrative, investigative and operational standards, systematic supervision and coordination to ensure the core values and standards of the force, bearing in mind that policing and law enforcement are dynamic and there is need to not only sustain but also improve upon them based on our national and global realities.
“If nothing is done in this direction, I am afraid, in the next 10 years, we may not have a police force we will all be proud to call our noble and esteemed police force.
(To be continued)
Babandede and Nigeria’s borders (2)
The challenges the country is facing come from the borders. Nigeria has a large expanse of land not well covered. So, it is understandable that there are reports of illegal trafficking in humans, arms and other materials. While we applaud government’s efforts at curtailing illegal and unauthorized movement, the Donald Trump policy to barricade Mexico may eventually be tabled for discussion, apart from the recent establishment of four more border control formations.
(To be continued)