Insecurity: FG’s Special Squad for S/West
THE Nigeria Police Force, a body constitutionally saddled with the responsibility of internal security, has announced it would deploy a special squad in the South West to tackle the incessant robbery, abduction, assassination, and other crimes bedeviling the region. Deputy Inspector-General Police (DIG) in Charge of Operations, Abdulmajid Ali said this during a courtesy call to the Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu in Akure.
THE DIG further disclosed that the squad members are currently undergoing training in Abuja and would soon be dispatched to Ondo and other South-West states to curb crimes.
SIMILARLY, the Nigerian Army also announced that it has deployed its men to the South West region to complement the efforts of the Nigeria Police in combating the various insecurity challenges in the region. General Officer Commanding (GOC), 2 Division, Nigerian Army, Ibadan, Major-General Anthony Onoze, disclosed this in Akure while on official duty at the 32 Artillery Brigade in the state capital. The GOC, who admitted that the Nigeria Police lead in matters of internal security, hinted that the deployment would go a long way in combating the security challenges in the region.
WHILE acknowledging the efforts of the military and the police in this regard, THE HOPE is of the view that these deployments could be harmonized and expanded into one operation of Joint Task Force (JTF) for effective coordination and target driven. Thus, the JTF should comprise the military, the police and other para-military agencies as obtained in the federal government’s anti-terrorist campaigns in other regions. A good example of such include the Operation Lafia Doyle to tackle Boko Haram in the North East, Operation Crocodile Tears to combat IPOB activities in the South East, and Operation Puff Adder to repel incessant abduction and killings along Abuja-Kaduna road.
THE Federal Government’s efforts in the above joint task forces have, however, been greeted with lots of criticisms arising from the composition of the personnel as well as the rules of engagement. For instance, the people of the South East did not accept the Operation Crocodile Tears because the personnel were mainly non-Igbos who neither understand the Igbo language nor the culture and were seen as an army of occupation with a brutal mission. Thus, the people saw the engagement as an attempt by the government to ruthlessly overrun their region.
THE HOPE therefore call on government, through the security agencies, to ensure that the squad is populated mainly by officers and men from the South West who understand the terrain well enough for effective communication with the locals in order to enlist their cooperation in combating the insurgence.
THE joint task force should also engage the local security outfits like the vigilante groups and the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) with a large number of followership in view of its (OPC’s) recent outcry against government’s inaction in tackling insecurity in the South West. The OPC’s outbursts cannot be ignored as the region seems to be under a siege with arms being proliferated in large quantities thereby making the people to sleep with one eye closed in recent times.
THE governors of the region, who are the supposedly chief security officers of their respective states, should be given access to daily intelligence by the operatives of the joint operation for proper monitoring and coordination. The rules of engagement must be clear to the governors albinitio and the men of the squad must not go outside it, otherwise, the people will suspect them as an army of occupation sent to subdue and overrun the region.
WE also call on the people of the South West, especially residents of various communities both in cities, towns, villages and settlements to always volunteer information to security men that can help them in their operations. We also demand that the security men to be circumspect and civil in their dealings with the ordinary people but ruthless with the bandits.