By Bankole Taiwo
One of the major constitutional roles of the government is to provide security for the lives and properties of its teeming citizens. This role, many Nigerians believe the Federal government with the exclusive preserve to secure the country through its security agencies such as the police, the military, the Department of State Security Services, Nigerian Intelligence Agency among other has not lived up to the billings.
Mr Diran Adedigba, a teacher with one of the private schools in highbrow area in Lagos in an interview with our Correspondent revealed that the government has not done enough to stem the tide of crimes in the outgoing year. Adedigba explained that “we were in this country when about five secondary school students at Igbo Nla area were kidnapped and were never released until about two months after their parents paid ransom running into millions of naira. The government also claimed that it had technically defeated Boko Haram yet we read daily of how those beasts continue to wreck havoc on hapless residents in the North-East, especially in Bornu, and even in some Internally Displaced Camps. The government must really buckle in the coming year”
Aside the challenges of insurgency and kidnapping, the problem of herdsmen and the attendant loss of lives and properties is another sore thumb many people believed was not tackled frontaly in the outgoing year. The devastating effect of this security threat across the country especially in Kaduna, Plateau, Ekiti, Anambra, Benue, and of recent Adamawa among others are part of the sad commentary of people on the security sector in 2017.
Mr Odetola Mayowa, an accountant with a medical laboratory in Benin, Edo State capital said there was a bit of improvement in the security of lives and properties in the country when compared with the recent past. Mr. Odetola specifically pointed out that the incidents of armed robbery drastically went down in the outgoing year while the war against the Boko Haram terrorists had also been more biting and more purposeful leaving behind pockets of suicide bombings occasionaly. He added that “except for the problem of herdsmen clashes with farmers which I believed all our security agencies must tackle headlong before the situation completely gets out of hand. I want to say that though, we are not yet there but personally I want to give the government 50% in this sector”.
Dr. Adesiyan Victor, a peace and security expert and President, Society for Peace Studies and Practice, Ogun State has also appreciated the government for the improvement in the security of lives and properties of Nigerians in 2017.
Dr Adesiyan in his assessment opined that “it is not as if we are saying that the government has done excellently well but when compared with the previous years our security has been a bit better especially when it concerns fight against terrorism in the North-East. The arrest of the alleged kidnapping kingpin Evans some months ago by the security agencies is another major breakthrough that has helped to stem the tide of kidnapping in the country. We have also enjoyed relative peace in the Niger Delta region while the challenges of the secessionists have been brought under control, by and large, I think in terms of security, things are a bit better with room for improvement anyway”.
He however condemned the federal government for not doing enough to address the issue of herdsmen encroaching other people’s farms saying that it was about time the federal government dealt decisively with this growing criminality before it became another billions of naira money-gulping security threat like Boko Haram .
Dr. Adesiyan projected that aside proper funding of the security agencies in the country, government must also address the problem of the wobbling economy and provide jobs for its teeming youths to bridge the yawning gap in its effort to strengthen its internal security in 2018.
The lecturer with Political Science and Public Administration department, Babcock University, Ilisan Remo also charged the federal government not to only ensure judicious use of the newly approved one billion dollars intervention fund for the fight against insurgency in the North-East from the Excess Crude Account but to also strictly monitor the spending and ensure all other security agencies, particularly the police and Department of State Security Service also benefited from this intervention. He insisted that the security agencies must do much more in the area of intelligence gathering to record greater success in this sector next year.
Meanwhile, Com-mandant,Vigilante Service of Ogun State, Mr Soji Ganzallo begged to differ on the poor rating of the government in the area of security saying that it has done well to combat crimes in the outgoing year. Mr Ganzallo cited the launch of special operations such as Python Dance, Crocodile Dance, among others had helped to fight some security threats in the country. He added that “ just recently, the alleged kidnapping kingpin, Evans was arrested through the collaborative effort of the security agencies. Similarly, the militancy along Arepo area of Ogun State was defeated through the joint effort of the men of the Vigilante Service and other security agencies. Yes, there is great room for improvement in the coming year especially in the clean up exercise for the insurgency war in the North-East, but generally the government has done well the area of security in 2017”.
Mr Ganzallo however maintained that for greater results next year, the government must address the problem of staffing, funding and logistics support confronting the security agencies in the country. He maintained that “ it is against this background that I am so pleased with the government’s resolve to spend one billion dollars for arms procurement for the clean up exercise against insurgency war in the North-East. He was of the opinion that the government should also support ranching to put behind us the problem of herdsmen clashes with farmers maintaining that this was the only permanent solution to this menace .
Similarly, ASP Abimbola Oyeyemi, the spokesman for Ogun State Police Command has also called on Nigerians to have more confidence in the security agencies especially the police and supply them with information that could further help to fight off criminality in the country saying that this has been an age long weapon used by the western world to prevent and burst crimes. ASP Oyeyemi while reviewing the contributions of the Nigeria Police to the security of lives and properties especially in Ogun State declared that the police had performed above average saying that “ from 2016 till now there has been no single case of bank robbery, other armed robbery and kidnap cases were also resolved with victims of such kidnap cases regaining their freedom. Nigerians just have to have confidence in our capacity and continue to partner us by alerting us with useful information that can help us to serve the country much better. The government must also increase its funding for the police for an optimal performance “.