By Tunde Thomas
The Federal Government has been advised to take calls for the nation’s restructuring with seriousness in order to avert unpalatable consequences for the country.
Making the appeal in an interview with the DAILY SUN, a lawyer and public affairs analyst, Olatunde Fawibe noted that it is only Restructuring that can save the country from the various socio-economic challenges currently facing the nation.
He also spoke on other national issues.
What’s your reaction to the present state of insecurity across the country?
It is brazen, and my worry is that it is getting worse. President Buhari said Jangebe abduction of the 26th February 2021 will be the last, but less than two weeks after, another kidnapping took place at the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization in Kaduna State. I find it very disturbing when the commander in-chief said he is surprised by the type of insecurity that has taken over some parts of the country. I wonder how the President and his cabinet members can sleep with what is going on in the country; the economic hardship is overwhelming no doubt, but the resurgence of evil of a kind that has come upon Nigeria is terrible.
What does the present situation portend for the country, and what’s the way out of the quagmire?
Nigeria is fragmented. Nigeria is cracked. The country is gradually gravitating towards anarchy and lawlessness. Kaduna state that is home to most of the military institutions in Nigeria housing the Nigeria Defence Academy, NDA, Nigeria Military School, NMS, Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Air-force Institute of Tech, Nigeria Air Force Base with four Command schools is the worst in terms of impalpable security woes. Zamfara State is running shoulder to shoulder with Kaduna in ranking. Reign of terror now permeates Niger State. Some communities in Shiroro local government area were under attack with bandits sacking more than one thousand two hundred residents from their homes; this was barely one month after seven communities in different parts of Niger State were raided with bandits killing eleven people leaving several wounded.
Same month in a separate attack, the district head of Kukoki in Rafi local government was killed, his wife and children were taken away by bandits. There is pent up anger in every part of the country and something needs to be quickly done to avert the looming danger. The quality of political engagement is poor. Non-state actors are negotiating on behalf of government, cost of governance is too high, power is too concentrated in the hands of the Federal Government and some of those powers need to be divested to the states immediately, otherwise the present ugly situation in the country may have unpalatable consequences. We have to do something urgent to get out of the quagmire before it snowballs.
What’s your take on the perennial crises between herders and farmers in different parts of the country, what’s the solution?
The crises are political and sponsored. Over the weekend, over 4,477 Nigerian residents of Yewa communities in Ogun West Senatorial District of Ogun State fled to Pobe in Benin Republic resulting from deadly attacks launched by killer herdsmen, and it is like that in different communities across the federation. Nigeria military is currently deploying in 30 states out of the 36 states of the federation including the FCT through various code name operations tackling internal security. This is failure of efficient policing structure and intelligence services. Government should therefore make a proper use of Intelligence rather than use of force.
To tackle banditry, and kidnapping which has become a source of national concern, some Nigerians have called for death sentence for those found to be involved to serve as a deterrent, what’s your take on this?
Sheik Ahmed Gumi, a trained medical doctor from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and retired Nigerian Army Officer as a Captain provided us very valuable information that the killer herdsmen and bandits were one and same. He said they are Fulani wronged by the terrible Nigerian social disorder. In essence, death sentence will never deter them, it will rather make a monster of them. My take is for government to critically examine operating Social Disorder in Nigeria system and see how it can be addressed holistically without ethnic or political coloration.
Secondly, Nigeria is too big and the population is quite large to centralize command and control center at the Federal level; it may seem effective but can never be efficient. How do you expect a nation’s security system to function when they are still using the same policing structure when Nigeria’s population was 30 million and now with over 200 million? Or how do you expect operational excellence from a police officer when you post him to an area where he does not have religious, cultural or historical ties with? State Police is a welcome idea but some incorrigible political elements will not allow it to fly. Politicians are the number one problem of this country.
Do you support recent calls by some influential Nigerians that responsible citizens should be allowed to carry arms in self defence in view of the killings by bandits and other criminals?
To adequately respond to your question, it will be needful to examine all the underlining principles of self- defence available in law, but we do not have that luxury here. However, considering the level of insecurity in Nigeria, the firearms act and its ancillary regulation does not enable Nigerian citizens to protect themselves in the absence of security operatives, thus I advocate amendments to firearms act which will allow responsible citizens to carry arms to protect their lives and properties.
What’s your reaction to the renewed agitations for Restructuring in the country?
The agitation to restructure the country is no longer an “option but a must.” The country is tilting towards implosion which will be very worse for Nigeria; all the ethnic nationalities that make up the country have agreed that the country can never move forward except the present system is restructured to reflect a true federalism that Nigeria and Nigerians desire. Break up of Nigeria is imminent if something is not done very urgently; it will be peaceful, it will be legal and it will happen without firing a bullet.
How would you describe the Federal Government’s war against corruption as some Nigerians are saying that corruption is still thriving in spite of APC’s promise to tackle it?
We have to look at determinants of corruption in Nigeria with evidences from various estimation technique and reports of international organizations such as Transparency International (TI), Political Risk Service Group (PRSG) and the World bank (WB) whose report ranked Nigeria as the worst on corruption perception index of 25 per cent (149/180) based on lack of transparency, nepotism and anti-corruption legal framework. When you look at these indices critically, allegation of corruption in the current administration is not far from the truth. Most government bids are already concluded before the actual bid rounds only conducted to fulfill due process.