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Improving security architecture in Ondo State for sustainable peace and development

Being text of the speech of Professor Femi Odekunle, the lead speaker at the first Ondo State Summit held at the International Culture and Event Centre, The Dome, in Akure on January 17,2019.

INTRODUCTION

Perhaps, flowing from my academic discipline, the social- scientific understanding of crime and its socio-legal prevention and control, the subject of “security” has been one of my two main intellectual and public policy concerns since the mid-eighties i.e. how best to ensure optimum security for the generality of our citizens.

 Thus, in addition to invited public-policy lectures to various state and non-state bodies over the years, in “isolation” or in relation to the equally-crucial matter of “development”, I had provided commissioned input on the subject to the preparation of the Federal Government’s NEEDS II (2007); served as the appointed Coordinator of the “Technical Working Group on Security” of the Vision 20:2020 (2009); led the Panel of Facilitators for the conception and development of Federal Government’s “National Policy on Public Safety and Security” (2013-2014); etc. In all these years, I remain persuaded that there is an indisputable relationship between “development” and “security”, that most security challenges are essentially and actually developmental challenges, and that planning for security/crime prevention/crime control must be in thecontext of socio-economic development planning to be reasonably effective. It should be helpful to the consideration of my presentation here that my “bias” be put forth,”

 The importance and ramifications of security cannot be over-estimated. For one, the provision of security is the most fundamental of the socio-contractual responsibilities of the state to its citizen – and one with both causal and consequential relationship with development.

 For another, the matter of security directly or indirectly affects “everybody”: one is either a criminal or a victim (of theft, burglary, fraud, assault/violence, armed robbery, kidnapping,, corruption); a policeman, security-personnel, justice-administrator, prison warder/officer; or a relation/friend/neighbour/co-worker of any of these “dramatic personae” in the drama of criminality.

 Hence, the Government of Ondo State should be commended for the “convocation” of this Summit in apparent response to recent “spikes” in new or emergent patterns of criminality in the State, for its appreciation of the indisputable relationship between security and development, and for its “futuristic” stance and planning- disposition on the problem.

 Now, being an integral part of the single political entity called Nigeria and largely subject to the same “political economy” for development as well as the same “security architecture and administration”, Ondo State can hardly be “isolated” for examination/analysis/improvement with respect to the matter of security. Differently put, the administration of the country is “de factd’ more unitary than federal in most matters of public governance – and this is particularly so with respect to security, its conceptualization, operations, instrumentalities.

 With the foregoing understanding, this lead presentation is an outline to “guide” the Summit with respect to coverage and discussion of certain essentials; appropriate conception/perception of “security” and “development” and the nature/direction of their relationship; major pre­requisites for the existence of optimum security; overview of the situation of security in the country, to date; policy- recommendations for the enhancement of security in the country going forward; and lessons for Ondo State from this and other contributions, even within the constraints of our “unitary” administration of security matters.

 I guess it is understood and appreciated that before one can go into policy suggestions on any problematic, there must be some preamble on the parameters of the problem as well as an examination or analysis of the problem, however perfunctory. Hence, the next three sections.

  1. SECURITY AND DEVELOPMENT: APPROPRIATE CONCEPTIONS AND RELATIONSHIP.

 It is acknowledged that concepts are notions about, or abstractions of reality. And since the perception of reality varies on anything, matter or issue, depending on varying perspectives or “eye-glasses”, it is always necessary to clarify one’s position when employing concepts.

 “Security” is and must be conceptualized as the actual or potential freedom and safety of citizens from physical, political, economic, socio-cultural; or psychological danger or attack. That is, security is the protection or defense of people against all kinds of victimization from physical attack, economic want, poverty, illiteracy, disease/ill-health, political exclusion, social exploitation, criminality, etc.

 Furthermore it must be perceived in terms of the generality of the population i.e. the physical, political, economic and social- security of the average citizen, not just for the government of the day, its officials and other assorted elites.

 Other limited conceptions/perceptions of security have been degraded by evidence or reality-based assertions and, therefore, amount to misconception/misperception of the phenomenon.

Relatedly, “development” means the continuous improvement in the quality of life and existence of the people, and which improvement is increasingly evenly distributed among the overwhelming majority of the population.

It entails the ingredient of sustainability whereby the continuous improvement and its increasingly-even distribution can be maintained, upheld, and nourished overtime, anchored on generally-shared leadership-ethos and people-shared values of fairness, equity and justice – and to which succeeding leaderships of the society must be committed.

«(Though they are related, “development” should not be confused with “growth”).

The relationship between security and development is a circular one that is either mutually-reinforcing or mutually- inhibiting. For a scenario, an optimum development-output will engender and reinforce security which in turn further promotes development, etc. On the other end of the contirinum is another scenario where the development-output is so low that it fosters insecurity which further sabotages development efforts.

III. MAJOR PRE-REQUISITES FOR OPTIMUM SECURITY

Now, for a country to achieve optimum security on a continuum of security-insecurity, two major pre­requisites must obtain. The first major pre-requisite is that the average citizen must have an assurance, or at least near­ assurance, of justice, fairness, and equity in most of his/her relationships in the society – be it in the economic, political, or social realm. It is in this kind of situation that the average citizen has a “stake” in the stability and progress of the society as a “shareholder” and, therefore, stakeholder; and it is this kind of situation that generally disposes citizens towards law- abidingness and against lawlessness or criminal conduct.

It is the kind of situation where there is meaningful participation by the overwhelming majority of the population in the economic, political and social life of the society. Such meaningful participation simultaneously implies good governance (accountability, transparency, predictability) and the ability of the people to demand for same; promotion and equitable provision of economic opportunities; patent facilitation of political empowerment; and guaranteed availability of social security for those in need.

(Note and explain: my “stakeholder security theory; the NIO/Ten Member illustration.)

However, even where the indices are favourable and the foregoing basic preventive strategy to enhance security is in place, there will still be crime and there is always crime and ingredients of insecurity. Since there is no recorded crime-free society, the “fact” of crime in society is, therefore, “normal”.

» The problematic is where and when, in terms of volume, extent, nature, character and pattern, it constitutes appreciable threat to the security of live and property of the citizens, or even the credibility of the state.

To deal with such problematic and counter the consequent threat, the state relies on its security and criminal justice “system” which comprises the following “sub-systems”, along with their operational instrumentalities: law-making by the legislature; policing and law-enforcement by the police and related security agencies; criminal justice administration by the courts; and offender punishment/correction by the prisons and associated bodies.

«Although each of the sub-systems (and instrumentalities) has its delineated function to perform, such function is only a part of the overall objective of the totality of the security and criminal justice system: the effective and efficient prevention and control of crime and enhancement of security.

“Effectiveness” refers to the ability of the system to perform its assigned tasks to an appreciable degree while “efficiency” relates to its capacity to perform the tasks with the least amount of “waste”‘ in terms of time, material, personnel, public goodwill, lives and limb.

To achieve the desirable effectiveness and efficiency to a reasonable degree, the Inherent inter-linkages of the sub­systems must be appreciated and enabled and the activities and functioning of their agencies must be rationally integrated and coordinated since failure in any of the sub-systems, and/or in the linkage between any two of them, will lead to a dysfunction in the whole system, a dysfunction that will adversely affect the achievement of the overall security objective of the system.

Thus, the second major pre-requisite is that there must be an informed and rationally integrated and coordinated security and crime-prevention-and control system in place.

  1. OVERVIEW OF THE STATUS OF SECURITY IN NIGERIA TO DATE

 Even though Nigeria is potentially not immuned from geo­political configurations, events and happenings around the world, particularly in our sub-region, direct or physical external threats to the country’s security have been virtually non-existent, minimal, or only in the realm of potentiality.

« In the most important area of internal or domestic security however, the situation has been critical for long and remains critical. On zonal basis, there had been the Niger-Delta near ­insurgency and there is the on-going Boko Haram night-mare. At the community level, there is the periodic but regular ethno-religious strife and/or herdsmen-farmers clashes in various parts of the country, always with significant loss of lives and property, as well as considerable social dislocations among the affected population. And there is also the anarchy and criminal violence and disorders associated with our periodic elections, on occasions .

 Still, the greatest indication of the dire situation of our internal security is the existence of what is referred to in criminological literature as a “crime-problem” i.e. when in terms of incidence/prevalence, seriousness/quality, and recalcitrance to prevention and control, crime passes from the normal or tolerable level to the pathological and becomes a “social problem”, having become inter-twined with the social fabric and involving virtually every social and occupational category in the population [depending on the opportunities offered by their occupational and soda! status in the society].

 Thus, with implications for citizen security, as well as their feeling of insecurity, the security-scene in the country has been littered with assorted kinds of common crimes such as theft, burglary, cheating, petty fraud in the markets and other work-places; crimes of violence such as aggravated assault, thuggery, assassinations, kidnappings; ritual-killings; economy- and-polity-damaging elite and leadership crimes such as various types of corruption, embezzlement, large-scale fraud, money-laundering, election-rigging; organized crime such as smuggling, illegal oil-bunkering, arms smuggling, pipeline vandalisation, human-trafficking, cyber-crime; and the usually- unattended crimes of indiscipline and lack of !aw- abidingness best epitomized, by the elites as well as the conduct of our vehicular road-users.

Put graphically, from the 1960s to date, the country has moved from simple theft/burglary/ pilfering/ cheating to large-scale corruption/organized crime/money laundering; from simple- assauit/”two-fighting” to assassinations, kidnappings, and terrorist-bombings; from inter-community agitations and containable strifes to violent ethno-religious conflicts and deadly political/election violence; from employment of fists and cutlasses to the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and usage of IEDs; and from routine but effective policing to largely ineffective paramilitary/military siege of public-space in many parts of the country.

And in spite of observable and worrisome changes in our crime and security scene and situation, the character and disposition of our law enforcement and security agencies have remained essentially unchanged – whether in terms of recruitment, training, ethos, mode of operation or deployment – notwithstanding constant provision/re-supply of hilux vehicles, emergency recruitments, hiking of allowances, and so on.

 Ditto for the criminal justice administration and correctional instrumentalities- cosmetic and peripheral “changes” notwithstanding (e.g. ACJA 2015,prison decongestion exercise and the like of these).

The explanation for our worsening security situation and the seeming inabilities of the responsible agencies to deal with it effectively and efficiently is not “far-to-fetch” but this is neither the time nor the place for laying out “theories” of crime and crime control.

  1. POLICY-RECOMMENDATIONS AND STRATEGIES TO ENHANCE SECURITY

* Policy Trusts:

 Meaningful conceptualization of security, the problem of crime, and its prevention and control in the context of economic and social development.

Sincere perception of internal security in terms of the security of the generality of the population, and on a daily basis, not just that of the government of the day and its officials;

Acceleration of the delivery of the poverty-arid- unemployment-reduction dividends of the operating economic policies and the mitigation of their social cost on the more vulnerable groups;

Increase of the tempo of the fight against corruption and organised crime, evenly and transparently across the board, and to the knowledge or perception of the generality of the population;

Articulating and coordination of the objectives, strategies and activities of the four major conventional subsystems and instrumentalities of crime prevention and control as a “system” to enhance their security dividend;

Systematic and routine collection, collation analysis and regular/annual publication of social-scientific data on crime, victim, criminal, victim and their processing by the police/law enforcement agencies, courts, and prisons;

 Employment of rich, valid and reliable statistics on crime, criminals, victims etc, for crime prevention/control planning, projection, monitoring and evaluation institutionalization of adequate dosage of “victim justice system” into the operative criminal justice system through victim remedies, restitution, and compensation;

Concentration, of appropriate emphasis and input on the training, attitudinal! re-orientation, and quality of the lower-cadre personnel of the law enforcement, justice- administration, and offender-correction agencies;

 Provision of legal framework — by way of repeal/amendment of “obstructive” existing legislation and enactment of new ones — to enable the actual implementation of the outlined policies and measures.

Implementation -Strategies

Conceive             and        executive meaningful conferences/seminars/workshops for high-level government economic and social development policy makers/planners and the highest echelons of law enforcement, criminal justice administration  and offender-correction on the appropriate conceptualization and perception of internal security and the problem of crime;

Increase the number and quality of both public and private sector poverty-reduction and youth employment programme/projects and the socio-economic safety-nets for the vulnerable groups;

« Employment of innovative and effective anti-corruption methods e.g. trial of offenders in their places/communities of origin; massively pasted posters, in each L.G.A., on every occasion of fund disbursement from the Federal/State Government on the amount disbursed and the approved projects (roads, clinics, schools, etc.) for execution with such funds:

Convene a meeting of high-level policy-makers, chairpersons of the appropriate Committees of the National Assembly, heads of major instrumentalities of crime-prevention and control; experts in criminology’ and social sciences — under the auspices of the Presidency — to align existing recommended measures to produce a “blue-print” for a comprehensive crime prevention and control strategy;

Work with the National Assembly for the establishment of a National Commission for Crime Prevention and Control.

Police, judiciary and prisons to employ, as Consultants, criminologists and social-science methodologists to prepare appropriate data-collection instruments for the agencies, and execute same on a pilot basis for, at least, one year;

Organization of attitudinal re-orientation workshops and “town meetings”, using the FCD (Focused Croup Discussion methodology, lower-cadre personnel of ‘the . system — Sergeants/Corporal, Magistrates/Area and Customary Court Judges, Prison Chief/Assistant Chief Warders;

 Develop “concurrent” and “predictive” validation tests for recruitment into the Force (i.e. social-psychological aptitude tests, in addition to the normal educational, Discussion) physical and medical requirements) and establish viable Police Cadet Scheme in selected secondary schools;

Increase the length of training of recruits to 18-months, make their training conditions humane and infuse their training curricular with emphasis on our history, the importance for the policeman’s community service role, the meaning and use of initiative and reasonable discretion, the position of citizens as consumer of police- work, the supremacy of the rule of law, and the type of ethics to be internalized by policemen;

Creation, by the Force, of routine interactive avenues between the police and the public (e.g. youth football teams and recreational centres at divisional levels) and “society desks” at divisional and state command levels to receive complaints against, and commendations for, policemen;

Mandatory application of simplified court procedures and non-prison sentences, as appropriate, by Magistrates, Customary and Area Court Judges — after the enactment of the enabling legislation;

Introduction of a system of  “stipendiary magistrate” for adjudicating non-complicatedcases in the evenings and  weekends to de-congest the case loads of the formal courts;

Introduction of an early warning system in managing prison congestion whereby the 0/C of a Prison is obliged to raise an alarm once inmate population has reached 90% of capacity; and whereby (with an amendment of the provisions of the Prison Act) the O/C is empowered to reject admission of new inmates in excess of 25% as           capacity

 Adequate funding of Prison Farms and for the rehabilitation/modernization of existing prison industries by Government and the private sector to make them profit-earning for both, while skill providing for the prisoners;

* Sharing of the burden of funding prisons between Federal and State governments.

CONCLUDING REMARKS: ON IMPROVING SECURITY ARCHITECTURE IN ONDO STATE FOR SUSTAINABLE PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT

The thrust of my contribution is that there is an indisputable relationship between security and development and that planning for security must be seen and treated as part and parcel of planning for development. While the presentation cannot be considered comprehensive or exhaustive, it has provided the essential ingredients for the purpose at hand.

Though the contribution has to apply to Nigeria as an entity, as I hinted in my introduction, and though security, in terms of overall policies and instrumentalities, is essentially within the purview of the Federal Government, Ondo State can and should benefit from the analysis and recommendations contained herein as she considers improving her derivative security architecture. Consider the following samplers:

Appropriate conception and perception of security in terms of the generality of the average citizens of the State, not just in terms of the security of the leading personnel of the government of the day (e.g. directive to Police and SSS commands on “rational deployment” of human and material resources);

Formulation and actual implementation of economic and social policies that are observably people-oriented and would dispose the average citizens to law-abidingness; *

True and participatory democratic politics and practices — with observable fairness, justice, and equity to all segments of the population of the State;

Leadership political will with respect to a “zero-tolerance” policy against all types of corruption among political and governmental elites in the State – and to the public knowledge of the citizenry;

Legislations to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of security work/administration in the State e.g., regular but rational security patrol ; intelligence-based policing; victim- remedies; sentencing alternative to imprisonment; stipendiary justice-administrators/administration, etc.

Assistance to the Federal Government with security instrumentalities where the benefits will accrue to the State e.g. organization of “Focused Croup Discussion” for the lower echelons of the police all over the State for attitudinal re-orientation, exercise of reasonable discretion, respect for rule of law, etc.

« Establishment of an advisory social-science-based “State Crime Prevention and Control” body for articulation and coordination of the objectives of crime- prevention/control instrumentalities in the State as well as for crime/criminal justice administration data- collection/collation/ analysis/ production for regular inputs into the State’s development and security planning;

Execution, to start with, of an “Area Crime Prevention/Control Strategy”, based on a State-wide Victim-

Survey, to reduce criminal victimization of citizens in the State.

 Employment of secondary agencies of crime control and of informal institutions towards enhancement of security at community levels;

 Exercise of judicious discretion in the employment of “out of the box” crime prevention/control proactive techniques e.g. screening and “usage” of arrested/convicted offenders. Etc.

When all is said done, whatever architecture Ondo State comes up with, the parameters must: be preventive and proactive rather than reactive; evolve and involve threats-reduction strategies; cover urban and rural areas and both high and low density communities of the former; and “sharpen” readiness of stakeholder institutions, agencies, and individuals.

 And the overriding objectives of the architecture should be the achievement of optimum security for the overwhelming majority of her citizens, in majority of places, and in majority of times; effectiveness in terms of deployment and usage of resources; and structured and systemized monitoring, evaluation, and review for improvement of security service- delivery.

 Since the degree of citizen-insecurity varies from one State to another in the Federation, so may the approach and strategy vary, even within our “unitary” system of security administration. For example, “high-crime” States must (at least for now) depend heavily on forceful paramilitary FSARS or “fire-fighting”,

“Python-dancing” strategy to cope. Had such States had the foresight to pian for security in the context of their development planning, perhaps their problem of insecurity today could have been limited to a tolerable level.

 Fortunately, except for the recent upsurge in certain types of crime in the State, Ondo cannot at present be regarded as “high-crime” or strife-torn. So, the state has the temporal opportunity and advantage to plan for the enhancement of the security of her citizens. Graduation into the “high-crime” category can only sabotage her development efforts. The foresight of today is the advantage of tomorrow.

I thank you ail for listening and for your patience.

Owena Press Limited (Publisher of The Hope Newspaper), Akure

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