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Bandits/Kidnapping: Stakeholders advocate synergy as panacea to end insecurity

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…As Dambazau calls for urgent reform

By Matthew Denis Abuja

Stakeholders have demanded for synergy among the security agencies as panacea to end insecurity. This recommendation was made by participants of the Blueprint annual lecture including Former Minister of Defence and Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau and Kogi State Governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

On insecurity, Gov. Bello emphasized that he is synergizing with the security architectures in the state to eliminate the miscreants in the forests posing threat to peaceful existence of the people.

Recently, Nigeria was ranked 75th out of 141 countries surveyed on the 2022 global safety perception index amid worsening insecurity which continues to claim lives daily.

The Lloyd’s Register Foundation Safety Perceptions Index (SPI), produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace measured the levels of worry, likelihood, and experience of risk across five domains which are health, personal, violence, environment, and the workplace.

Nigeria had an overall score of 0.21 while for worry, likelihood, and experience it scored 0.30, 0.22, and 0.18 points respectively.

Issues around kidnapping, terrorism, communal and ethnic clashes, police violence, and criminal activities among many other problems have become rampant in Nigeria, and have significantly impacted the country in terms of economic prosperity, population, etc.

To end insecurity, the Former Minister of Defence and Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau has called for  synergy among the security agencies and reform of the Security architectures.

General Dambazau who made the keynote address as the guest speaker of Blueprint Annual Awards in Abuja  said, “The reforms of the security sector in line with the current and future security challenges are inevitable, and there are no options other than to carry them out. And the sooner we commence the process, the better.

“I believe that this should be the very first item on the agenda of the government coming in May 2023. Aside the issues or factors earlier mentioned, the reasons why these reforms are necessary are that firstly, there appears to be no synergy among the security agencies in terms of cooperation, coordination, and collaboration while carrying out their activities, rather they operate in silos with no role convergence; they hoard information; and are reluctant to share intelligence, as if they are in competition.

“There is poor security governance, making accountability and transparency almost impossible; and thirdly, there are duplication of efforts, leading to wastages of resources. According to him unsuccessful attempts at reforms have been made in the past, but using a stove-pipe approach, rather than looking at the sector holistically.

He said, “There have been several committees of police reforms that ended with reports that were left on the shelves. Today it is the military that performs most routine policing duties, and in fact this is another cogent reason why security sector reforms are necessary.

“The police are only one of the three legs of the criminal justice system, and the other two legs, the courts, and prisons, are also weak institutions, a situation that leads to poor delivery of justice, being one of the major reasons for the insecurity in Nigeria, especially in situations where victims suffer neglect.

“The domestication and implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 and the Nigerian Correctional Service Act 2019 would strengthen the criminal justice system by ensuring minimum delays in the investigations and trials of offenders; provide alternative means of dispute resolutions; ensure adequate rehabilitation of convicts; and provide non-custodial correctional services.

“By implication, these provisions in the Acts would lead to the reduction in prison congestion, and quick delivery of justice.”

He stressed that a significant part of security sector reforms is security governance, centered on strengthening the effectiveness of security institutions.

“One of the areas we need to focus our attention on is emergency response planning and coordination. National response to emergencies must be robust and people-centric, taking advantage of the unique competencies and resources of each entity at all levels. If we had effective and integrated system that responds to national emergencies, the terrorists would not have had the audacity to conduct their Abuja-Kaduna train and Kuje prisons attacks, and even left the scenes without trace after spending hours conducting their operations.

“Another area of focus, also relating to our experience, is defence material needs identification, procurement, and acquisition procedures and processes. Who has the mandate for defence procurements?

“Inadequate oversight, lack of transparency, and poor accountability allow corruption and abuse to thrive, thereby weakening the capabilities of the armed forces.

“The misplacements, underutilization, and misuse of civilian security agencies and personnel are issues of interest for security sector reforms. The Nigerian Customs Service, for example, aside the revenue it makes for the government, what informs the positioning of such a strategic border security agency to be under the supervision of Ministry of Finance? Likewise, why should a public safety agency, the Federal Road Safety Corps, be under the supervision of the Office of the SGF, when it is clearly the mandate of the Ministry of Interior? Or the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, a health security outfit, not under the supervision of Ministry of Health? These are only a few examples.”

Dambazau stated that with these misplacements of supervision and oversight of civilian security agencies and institutions, we cannot guarantee effective and efficient performance, neither can we guarantee accountability and transparency.

“The police are both underutilized and misused, a situation that poses difficulties in efficient law enforcement. With a strength of about 400,000, a significant percentage are deployed for private security for individuals, organizations, and institutions. The best example for an agency being under-utilized is the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), and they could serve same purpose as the US National Guard, thus creating a force between the military and the police. If my push, as then Minister of Interior, for the establishment of the Agro Rangers unit in the Corps had been funded to take off, most of the attacks on farmers and cattle rustling, would have been checkmated, thereby protecting our food security.

“We urgently need to reform Nigeria’s security sector for efficiency and effectiveness, if we must guarantee the nation’s peace, security and stability. The reforms would redefine, restructure, and re-professionalize the entire sector in a holistic manner, and would provide a security sector that is effective and efficient in matching contemporary and future security threats to Nigeria.

“I must draw our attention here that to be successful, the reforms of the security sector must also consider the importance of the welfare of security personnel, their salaries and allowances; medical backup; housing; education for their children; death benefits; gratuities and pensions; and any incentives that would boost their morale and make them sacrifice more in the interest of the security and well-being.”

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Crime

Sex Scandal: We won’t oppose any sanction against lecturer — ASUU UNN

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said that the union would not oppose any sanction against the lecturer allegedly involved in sex scandal in a video trending in the social media.

Chairperson of ASUU, University of Nigeria Nsukka, (UNN), Dr Oyibo Eze said this in Nsukka on Tuesday while reacting to the alleged attempt by a lecturer in UNN to have sex with a female student in his office on Monday.

“ASUU will not oppose any sanction if after investigations, the suspect is found guilty of allegation to have attempted to have sex with a female student in his office.

“We should all know that every action has its consequences,” he said.

He said that ASUU condemned the alleged act by the lecturer identified as Mr. David Udom-Udom of the Social Science Unit, School of General Studies (GS) of the UNN.

“I saw the trending video of the alleged act yesterday and this morning I went  to GS department and confirmed the incident in the viral video on Monday.

“Lecturers should see students as their children by displaying high sense of discipline, morality and avoid asking sex for mark.

“It is condemnable and that is what happens when a dog eats the bone hung on its neck.

“Our job as lecturers is to teach students not to harass them sexually,” he said.

Reacting to the incident, Comrade Enoch Utazi, the President, Students Union Government (SUG) of the UNN, also condemned the alleged act by Udom to have sex with a student for mark.

Utazi said SUG would follow the matter to its logical conclusion to ensure that the affected randy lecturer was punished according to rules and regulations of the university.

“SUG will ensure this randy lecturer is punished to serve as deterrent to others who exploit female students sexually in order to give them mark,” Utazi said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Chris Alumona, the Chief Security Officer of UNN, when contacted, confirmed the incident and said that the randy lecturer Udom-Udom had been arrested and handed over to the police.

Alumona said his office acted on tip-off from UNN Department of Students Affairs on what was happening on Monday in Udom’s office

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Alleged N8.5bn fraud: You have case to answer, Lagos court tells NIMASA staff, ex-JTF Commander

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Justice Ayokunle Faji of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Monday, April 22, 2024, told a former Commander of the Joint Military Task Force, Operation Pulo Shield, Major-General Emmanuel Atewe ( rtd.), and a  staff of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Kime Engonzu, that they have a case to answer in the alleged N8.5bn money laundering case brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Atewe and Engonzu are standing trial on a 22-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N8, 537,586,798.58, which also involves a former Director-General of NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi, and Josephine Otuaga, also a staff of NIMASA.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi, Major General Emmanuel Atewe, Kime Engozu, and Josphine Otuaga, sometime in 2014, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Court, with intent to defraud, conspired amongst yourselves to commit an offence to wit: conversion of the sum of N8,537,586,798.58 property of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2012 and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.”

They pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, thereby prompting the commencement of their trial.

In the course of the trial, the prosecution called several witnesses and subsequently closed its case against the defendants.

However, the defendants, rather than open their defence, filed a no-case-submission.

Akpobolokemi had, in a no-case submission, filed by his lawyer, Dr. Joseph Nwobike, SAN, prayed the court for an acquittal without having him present a defence.

Ruling on the no-case submission on Monday, Justice  Faji discharged and acquitted Akpobolokemi  and Otuaga, the fourth defendant.

He however, ruled that Atewe, the second defendant, and Engonzu, the third defendant, should open their defence in counts 12 to 22 of the charge.

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Crime

Nasarawa: Police arrest three for alleged kidnapping

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By Adeyanju Esther

In a significant breakthrough, the Nasarawa State Police Command has apprehended three individuals suspected of involvement in a kidnapping scheme within the Karu Local Government Area.

The arrest is as a result of diligent efforts of officers from the Mararaba ‘A’ Division of the Nigeria Police, as confirmed by DSP Ramhan Nansel, the command’s spokesperson, in a statement released on April 23.

The detained suspects, namely Babangida Abdullahi (29), Mohammed Abubakar (27), and Yakubu Sani (30), were taken into custody following allegations of their participation in a kidnapping plot.

According to reports, the trio allegedly collaborated and engaged in communication with Ibrahim Idris, an uncle of one of the suspects, they threatened to abduct him unless a ransom of N2 million was paid.

Succumbing to the pressure and fearing for his safety, the victim complied with the demands, delivering the specified sum to the designated location. Subsequently, the suspects retrieved the ransom and divided it amongst themselves.

Further investigations revealed that all three suspects have confessed to their roles in the criminal activity. Authorities are now intensifying efforts to apprehend another member of the syndicate who narrowly escaped arrest.

This successful operation underscores the Nasarawa State Police Command’s unwavering commitment to combating crime and ensuring the safety and security of residents. It serves as a stern warning to criminal elements involved in kidnapping activities that law enforcement agencies will relentlessly pursue and bring them to justice.

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