The frightening state of insecurity

LAST week, in a stark illustration of the pervasive insecurity in the land, bandits in Katsina State placed a N100 million ransom on six Assistant Superintendents of Police in their custody. Before making that demand, the felons had reportedly held the officers of the law captive for over a week. The ASPs, who are said to be attached to the Mobile Police Squadron 6, Maiduguri, Borno State, were picked up around Dongodaji in Katsina State. Two other ASPs escaped, but one was shot in the leg and was only rescued by some villagers around the area. Also last week, at least 12 persons were feared killed during renewed cult violence in parts of Benin City, Edo State. An Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in charge of the Area Command and two other senior police officers were also shot  in the capital city. The killings, which took place in separate locations in the city, including Isihor quarters, near the Ugbowo campus of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) in Ovia North East Council, Upper Sakponba axis in Ikpoba-Okha Council, Ogida Quarters in Egor Council and Erediauwa axis and Satana market on Benin-Ore-Sapele road, led to the early closure of businesses. Soldiers have since been drafted to the trouble spots.

Appalled by the widespread insecurity across the country, the Senate, this week, mandated its Committees on Legislative Compliance and Communications to invite the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, and impress on him the need to implement the resolutions of the Senate regarding the security-related mandate of his ministry. Rising under Order 42 and 52 of the Senate Rules, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha (PDP, Taraba South) had noted that “the rate of insecurity in Nigeria has not only increased astronomically but has reached a melting point.” According to him, “political permutations across the landscape are attracting politicians to recruit criminals for the purpose of destabilizing the corporate existence of Nigeria. These evil intents can be easily achieved given the poor control over communication facilities and the inability of our security apparatus and service providers to effectively manage this all important sector.”

On his part, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt.Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, in an address delivered at a forum in Abuja, linked the insecurity ravaging the country to the parlous state of local governments in the country. According to him, “Part of the insecurity that we have today is due to the local government not functioning very well. I think we started getting it wrong from 2003 when we took local government elections back to the states.” Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, similarly expressed concern over the security challenges experienced across the country. Speaking during a Stakeholders’ Engagement on Internal Security and Conflict Resolution organised by the Federal Ministry of Interior and held in Lagos on Tuesday, Sanwo-Olu averred that the level of insecurity being experienced across the country called for serious concern considering its implication not only for the socio-economic development and prosperity of its people but also for its unity and territorial integrity. He said: “We have to reignite the communication link between the government and the people so that fifth columnists or conspiracy theorists will not be able to infiltrate and spread disinformation and misinformation that would jeopardise the future of our country or the opportunities available for our youths to contribute to the greatness of our country.”

To say the least, the security situation in the country is alarming. Kidnapping occurs almost on a daily basis and bandits have free reign on highways across the country, wasting lives at will. In our view, this situation cannot be addressed with the kind of leadership posture offered by the Muhammadu Buhari administration. Leadership is everything: things are getting out of shape simply because of leadership failure. Beyond its usual rhetoric, the administration has failed to take the battle to the felons making life unbearable for Nigerians. As an illustration of his poor approach to security issues, the president did not appear to take the briefing by Governor Sanwo-Olu very seriously during the #EndSARS crisis. His demeanor was widely panned by critics and he has given no indication that they were mistaken in their assessment. The president has to wake up from his slumber and provide the leadership that the country needs to overcome the security challenges that threaten its existence. He must galvanise the resources at his disposal and ensure the delivery of optimum performances.

Besides, as we pointed out in previous editorials, he cannot afford to maintain his opposition to the restructuring imperative in view of the mounting challenges thrown up by the undue centralisation of the country’s security architecture.  The 36 states in the country and the Federal Capital Territory are battling diverse security challenges and require the setting up of state police formations to complement the extant police structure and deliver the results expected. A situation whereby the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) functions just like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the United States would augur well for the country. In addition, regional policing frameworks such as those represented by Amotekun should be replicated across the country while the community policing initiative touted by IGP Mohammed Adamu should take off in earnest. We see no promise in the present arrangement.

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