“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.” – William Butler Yeats
What is daily facing many states in the northern part of Nigeria, inclusive of the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, is insecurity such as never witnessed before in the country. Insecurity that ought to have been nipped in the bud by the President, who swore to protect the citizenry not withstanding their ethnic, religious or party affiliations, has inadvertently been allowed to fester like the familiar Sahara wild wind. Notable components of insecurity include violent attacks, kidnapping for huge ransoms, violent displacement of farmers from their land and outright attack on government and security institutions. Report indicated that a total of 2,371 persons have so far been abducted across 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory. The tally was derived from media reports and the national security tracker of the Council of Foreign Relations, July 13, 2021.
The lamentation of William Butler Yeats in his epic poem, The Second Coming, which partly states “Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,” aptly desribes the Nigerian situation. In fact, one can replace the word “world” to be “Nigeria.” Indeed, anarchy has been let loose on Nigeria since 2002 and the situation still looks gloomy and insurmountable.
Before our very eyes, Islamic students and Muslim faithful indoctrinated with radical ideologies transformed into a jihadist group known as Boko Haram. It has been in armed conflict against the Nigerian Army and other security agencies ever since. Meanwhile, the war seems intractable making it difficult to stop their excesses.
(To be continued)
New police blood, new energy (2)
The annnouncement of the posting of 13 state police commissioners came like a tornado, as such had never been experienced before in the history of the police force.
Replacing 13 police commissioners in the Nigeria Police Force, especially when posting them as replacements, means many issues need to be addressed and sanity and lost dignity have to be restored immediately.
Such replacements in a police force whose operational and administrative competences are always brought into question by Nigerians and the international security bodies, indicates that the new man at the helm has identified where the cracks are in the building before it collapses. Even the operational cracks were so visible that tongues were always wagging.
One of such obvious and scandalous cracks was when, during the #EndSARS saga, policemen were running for their lives along with their guns like rats with stolen meat being chased by furious cats. More unfortunate was the ugly scenario where police operational vehicles were set ablaze right inside police stations and some divisional police officers (DPOs) and their men were slaughtered before the public glare.
Many shameful and painful atrocities were perpetrated by those hoodlums. The Nigeria Police was shamefully attacked and there was a substantive Inspector-General of Police who was disgraced out of office named Adamu Mohammed, whose name, like his predecessor, Ibrahim Idris, has been penciled down as the worst IGP to lead the police. The rot and damage may take a long time before the real police Nigerians are yearning for would be restored.
Nigeria needs a police service that will abhor and detest bribe-taking but would arrest whosoever offers them a bribe. Police that would religiously shun the temptation to extort money from motorists on the highway; officers that would always be conscious of their uniform and see themselves as the reflecting image of the country and their institution. Many security analysts believe that the agitators, including the unknown hoodlums, derived their boldness in attacking policemen because some police officers had belittled themselves before the public during their official duties. In addition, there was the barrage of attacks from bandits and herdsmen, who flexed their muscles when they confronted unarmed farmers thereby killing, maiming and carting away their farm produce while the bandits embarked on merciless kidnap activities.
There is no gainsaying that there should be a complete reassessment of what policing is all about in this 21st century. First, government should review the renumeration of policemen, considering a total re-evaluation of the welfare package of every police employee, to make the institution more attractive to credible and patriotic candidates and not evil-minded candidates waiting to be recruited to line their pockets.
The IGP must have carried out a lot of deligent overhaul before releasing these latest postings. Here are the Commissioners: Niger State Command, CP Monday Bala Kuryas; Kwara State Command, CP Emienbo Tuesday Assayamo; Nasarawa State Command, CP Soyemi Musbau Adesina; Taraba State Command, CP Abimbola Shokoya; Benue State Command, CP Akingbola Olatunji; FCT Police Command, CP Babaji Sunday; Kogi State Command, CP Arungwa Nwazue Udo; Kaduna State Command, CP Abdullahi Mudashiru; Jigawa State Command, CP Aliyu Sale Tafida; Enugu State Command, CP Abubakar Lawal; Cross River State Command, CP Alhassan Aminu; Bayelsa State Command, CP Echeng Eworo Echeng; and Kebbi State Command, CP Musa Baba.
Here are appointments and postings that are devoid of friendship, religion nor ethnic connotation as was common with the two previous police administrations. Such unprofessional administrative tendencies had further eroded discipline and the will to correct brazen injustices among officers.
However, despite the marching orders issued by the IGP, Usman Alkali Baba, virtually all of them have been seen to be carrying out the operational orders to them. First was the newly promoted commissioner in charge of the FCT Command, CP Babaji Sunday, who incidentally was newly promoted, being incharge of the operations department of the Federal Capital. His first week witnessed the rounding up of many miscrants who have been robbing residents of Abuja.
According to a police statement, it was part of the IGP’s effort “at repositioning the force for greater efficiency, stabilizing the internal security order and scaling up the fight against crimes and criminality in the country.”
Such efforts have been recorded simultaneously in every state of the country, with the latest arrest of a man with dozens of AK-47 rifles in Plateau State. These initial efforts of the commissioners have been lauded by members of the public. Many are, however, quick to remember that, in the past, newly posted command commissioners usually set out raining down fire and brimstone, only to later slow down and relapse, giving the impression that all the earlier bravado was a mere smokescreen.
I don’t want to believe that Alkali Usman, having gone so far, would allow the commissioners dent his impressive operational strategies. Even at that, the IGP needs also to beam his searchlight on the cracks in the police, towards the lapses in the administrative section of the police. Instances where money allegedly changes hands to aid transfers, promotions and selection for any foreign trips like the United Nations peacekeeping exercise.
These cracks are endless and are also visible in the police colleges. Security observers trust the personality of the IGP, whom many describe as a fearless and gentle officer with proven pedigree. He is a de-tribalized officer who is alway in touch with his officers at the command level. His recent effort in ensuring that normalcy is restored to Plateau and Benue states made citizens of those states, as well as lmo and Abia, to be peaceful, as more hoodlums and bandits are rooted out of these states.