The Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, is a politician no one can push aside. His boldness and courage in tackling state and national issues have marked him out as a collosus of note. His baritone voice thunders, sending jitters, fear and compelling ears to listen and pay attention to his school teacher-like composure and political remarks. Even those at the Villa cannot but listen to his scratchy remarks. His bulky frame commands attention wherever he goes. In fact, the governor has earned for himself compulsory public attention when he addresses national issues. So, when recently the governor conducted a sightseeing tour to Mande Local Government Area of the state, where it was learnt that a cabal in uniform was carrying out illegal bunkering business. He was in the local government to wage a holy war on cabals, economic saboteurs, operating illegal business that affects our commonwealth.
The video clips of Wike’s visit to the illegal bunkering site instantly went viral. Apart from his outburst, the governor openly castigated and dressed down the divisional police officer (DPO) in charge of Enuoha for allegedly supervising the illegal business. Since the governor stirred the dust and even vowed to fight them (illegal bunkering cartel) until he leaves office, tongues have been wagging and questions are being raised on why it is now that the governor is noticing the activities of these cartels, after serving as governor of Rivers State for six years. Does it mean security agents in the state and local government chairmen in the affected areas deliberately connived to conceal the intelligence report from the governor?
However, now that the governor has sworn before his people to fight and stop this illegality in his jurisdiction, then heads should roll. Of more concern is the role of security agents in this unfortunate act.
As security officers, the Constitution mandates them to protect the people and their properties, which include natural resources like oil and other minerals. So, as custodians, it is unbelievable to hear that the dog has eaten the meat tied around his neck for safekeeping. What then is the work of a security officer if items kept in his custody cannot be vouched for to be safe?
If the narrative of the governor is anything to run with, the DPO ought to be facing prosecution. Such officers whose main objective is money and not service abound in the police and other security agencies. These Judases have changed policing to a money-making business. These are the bad eggs in police uniform who dent the image of the police. I can hear you saying which police am I referring to? The already dented police?
Such officers dip their hands into police exhibit strongroom to misappropriate exhibit money in their custody. Only recently, another national disgrace was attributed to the Nigeria Police as the House of Representatives commenced investigations into the alleged disappearance of about 178,459 firearms and ammunition belonging to the Nigeria Police Force. This was sequel to a resolution after a motion of urgent public importance sponsored by Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu.
Interestingly, like the bunkering cartel officers in Rivers State, the disclosure of the missing firearms was contained in the 2019 report of the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation.
The auditor-general should be commended for summoning the courage to expose such a national disgrace. Before now, some police officers had been fingered for hiring firearms to armed robbers for a fee. Before now, some police officers had been allegedly fingered in illegal sale of ammunition. Incidents of police involvement in oil bunkering and disappearance of firearms and ammunition explain the high rate of corrupt practices perpetrated with the police system due to lack of effective management and inadequate supervision.
I have argued before that the over-centralization of a bogus police system is the root of the deterioration of every ethic of the police that ab initio had endeared Nigerians to the police.
Today, the police force has become the turncoat due to lack of supervision and government’s reluctance to decentralize the police by creating state police. Imagine the large cache of missing firearms in the police and no person has been suspended or fired for gross negligence. Although this writer had commended the office of the auditor-general, nonetheless, one expects the office to jettison its achaic method of auditing government properties. What is hard in evolving into the modern ways of accountability and formulating a template to make security institutions comply with modern systems of accountability and auditing?
Today, electronic chips are inserted into firearms for easy identification and accessibility. Security evolves and every country is keying into updating every of their equipment and system to comply with modernization. Even at that, the office of the auditor-general may not be aware of the extent of damage this exposure may have caused the country at a time when the contry is grappling with insecurity.
The free firearms in the streets, not forgetting the disclosure by former head of state, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, that over six million illegal weapons are in circulation across Nigeria ought to be a great source for concern among security agencies and compel them to set up task forces made up of serving and retired officers in all the local governments, with the aim of mopping up these weapons around the country.
MAK Smith honoured in London
When he was called up to receive his award at a prestigious gathering of eminent Africans, the applause that heralded his walk to the podium was deafening. Musiliu Adeola Kunbi Smith, Nigeria’s former Inspector-General of Police and incumbent chairman of the Police Service Commission, was recently honored in the city of London as a security gladiator and achiever by the African Achievers Award Group, organized by Dr. Tony Rex Idaminabo. Great Africans like the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the former deputy governor of Lagos State, Orelope Adefulire were past recipients of the award. SECURITY FILE congratulates the extraordinary police leader.
Meanwhile, concerned about the disinterest of eligible youths to recruitment into the Nigeria Police, Mr. Smith is spearheading a sensitization exercise in the South West, South East and North East zones of the country.
This impressive move would eventually standardize the inequality in numerical strength of every part of the country in the Nigeria Police Force.