ACROSS the country, the engine of governments at various levels, unarguably, is running at a slow pace and minimal capacity. This is largely because the primary duty of government, security of lives and propertie, can longer be taken for granted. The nation’s security architecture is overstretched and seemingly overwhelmed, having been pulled beyond elasticity.
Not too long ago, the nation was told that the military was involved in major operations against non-state actors in virtually all the 36 states of the federation and the federal capital territory, Abuja. The seriousness of the security situation is underscored by the fact that as of January 2019, a total of 7.1 million people, comprising 2.3 million girls and 1.9 million boys, 1.6 million and 1.3 million are believed to be in need of humanitarian support in the North-East alone, the main theatre of war on insurgency. The number of displaced people has consistently increased from the initial 1.8 million persons because of the spread of banditry, terrorism and other heinous crimes nationwide. So, scarce resources that ought to go into meeting the basic needs of the citizens by federal and state governments are being diverted to combating monstrous crimes which has also led to a huge destruction of infrastructure and health facilities in states.
Though governors are regarded as the chief security officers of their states, they are incapacitated by the constitution which does not invest them with the power and authority over security agencies. This anomaly and other defectives in the existing federal structure gave rise to the persistent clamour for state police. But in the face of escalating security challenges facing the country, the citizens seem to be gradually taking their destinies in their own hands. Various communities have taken initiatives to police their environment from criminals that have turned most parts of the country into mourning ground. The initiatives on security embarked upon by the communities to flush out criminals and pave the way for good governance take different forms.
In Sokoto State, which has consistently come under a series of attacks by bandits and cattle rustlers with the attendant huge loss of lives and destruction of valuable properties, the citizens have mobilized and fortified a neighborhood security outfit. According to Murtala Aminu Tamaje, a two-star officer in the outfits who is also in charge of the outpost in Tamaje covering Sokoto South Local Government area, who spoke on behalf of the state commander, Commander Wadata, the group is poised to rid the state of banditry, cattle rustling, robbery and other forms of criminality in the state. “We know every nook and cranny of the state more than any security persons you can think of; we relate with the district heads called Magaji to get first-hand information about happenings in their domains. Our appeal is to the government and well-meaning Nigerians to support us in our bid to rid the state and indeed the country of criminals. In Sokoto, our members are ready to enter the forests to deal with the criminals. All we need is for the government and wealthy individuals to assist us with at least one operational vehicle per local government. In every local government, we have a commander and they are ready to bring an end to the menace of banditry so that our people can have a rest of mind and the government can attend to the basic needs and demands of the citizenry,” Tamaje said.
In Lagos State, some groups have also embarked on community policing as part of new measures to surveillance in the neighborhoods. To boost the initiative, however, national president of the Yoruba Council of Youths Worldwide (YCYW), Dotun Hassan, who blamed leaders of the South-West for the state of insecurity the area, said there was need for collaboration to guarantee the overall success of the ongoing efforts to flush out criminals from the South-West. The YCYW leader believes the way to go is to form a joint security task force that would involve every stakeholder in the region. According to him, the association has begun to reach out to other socio-cultural groups in the region with the aim of forming a common front for such security force.
“Our position is that there is the need for a joint security summit in the region. And this summit must involve every stakeholder in the region, irrespective of your ethnic background, your religion or even social status.This is because we believe security is everybody’s business, and as long as you live within the region, you should be part of the summit and be actively involved,” he added. ”On our own we’ve formed Operation Folumo, that is keep our community clean, and it is aimed at ensuring that we rid the region of crime, and what we are doing now is to reach out to other groups within the region.” Hassan added that the leadership of the YCYW had also met with the leadership of the Fulani group in Lagos, through the Sarki Fulani of Lagos, to fashion out a way of ensuring peace in the region. We also believe the intervention of these leaders would go a long way in ensuring peace among people of the South-West. Also, a member of the executive committee of the Akinola Community Development Association in Agbado Oke Odo Local Council Devclopment Area of Lagos, who would not want his name in print, said the community was not taking the issue of security lightly. ”We believe we don’t have to wait till we begin to record such crimes in our community before taking action. We have our plans which I’ll not be able to divulge on this platform. We monitor every movement, especially strange ones, in the community, and we are doing this in collaboration with some other groups, we strongly believe this will help our cause,” he stated.
Reports from Zamfara State show that since Governor Bello Mattawale Maradun of decided to offer amnesty to bandits who were ready to surrender their arms and embrace peace, various groups have keyed into the quest to stem banditry in the state, the governor had set up committees to harmonise the various rings threatening the peace of the state. One of the committees, the Peace Reconciliation Committee, headed by the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Usman Nagogo is to unite the Fulani Miyetti Allah Association with the Civilian Joint Task Force known as Yansakai.
In Ebonyi State, a total of 500 youths have been engaged in community policing by the state government and placed on a monthly salary and allowance of between N10,000 and N20, 000. The Secretary to the State Government and Commissioner for Border Peace and Internal Security, Dr. Kenneth Oglala, said the scheme was being jointly funded with the 13 local government councils. Ogbala noted that the essence behind the inauguration of the state local security outfit Ebonyi State Neigbourhood Watch” was to step down security activities at the grassroots. “In Ebonyi State here we pay them 20.000 salary and 10.000.00 allowance which is aggregated to 30.000. In a month. So, the source of funding is state government, local government, NGOs, including individuals. The idea is to call for collaboration, and partnership because we don’t have enough man power in some of this federal security outfit like in police, knowing that we have a limited security personnel both in the Army, DSS and the rest. So, we believe that if we have people that partner with them and provide the necessary information that provides them do their work better it will make us to cover more grounds. So, we welcome the issue of community policing because we already introduced one in the name of Ebonyi State Neigbourhood Watch.
And that doesn’t mean we are not going to work with the police and other federal security agencies”, he explained. He said one particular feature about the outfit was that “they are being supervised by the security agencies, particularly the police. The commissioner of police in the state is the chairman of the board in charge of the Neighborhood watch. So, community policing is very important but that doesn’t mean that the idea of having a federal security outfit like police and the rest of them, will not subsist,” he explained.
Shortly after the interment of the slain MrsFunkeOluranti, the daughter of the leader of the pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, in Akure in Ondo State, the governors from the South-West promised to take a drastic action over the state of insecurity in the area. Speaking on behalf of other South-West governors, Governor RotimiAkeredolu, of Ondo State, said: “It is a serious security challenge but we are prepared to face the challenge, don’t doubt it. Something drastic and urgent has to be done and we are determined to do it, there is no other way.” The public awaits the new agenda designed by the chief security officers of the states to douse the season of fear across the country.Read Full Story