N150b handout to7 Northern States
THE Federal Government’s award of fifty billion naira as security vote to seven northern states is symptomatic of the commercial dimension insecurity has assumed in the country. Justifying the largesse, Vice President Kahsim Shettima said President Bola Tinubu approved the vote to fund the non-kinetic solution to deal with insurgency and banditry in the North otherwise known as the “Pulaaku Initiative”, a Fulani word that loosely means “to be shy”.SHETIMA gave the revelation in his opening address at a two-day Round-table on Insecurity in Northern Nigeria, organised by the Coalition of Northern Groups, with the theme “Multi-Dimensional Approach to Tackling Insecurity in Northern Nigeria”. The initiative, according to him, would begin in Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina, Benue, Zamfara, Niger and Kaduna states in the first instance with an objective of enhancing the living conditions and livelihoods in selected states including the construction of residences, roads, schools and other essential facilities.These, the government believed, would “catalyse” the fortunes of the northern region, noting that using the military alone would prolong the crisis in the Northwest region of the country.WHILE we are not averse to any financial commitment of government aimed at fighting insecurity, we however, strongly object to the selective donation which in our opinion is not justifiable as available statistics show that no part of the country is spared in the security challenge Nigeria is battling. This range from banditry in the northwest, terrorism in the northeast, kidnapping in the southwest and secessionist crisis in the south east among others. So, what befalls other states? Will they be left to their fate? All these portray danger to the corporate existence of the country.OUR pessimism is justified going by the humongous amount, running into billions of dollars, government has expended on fighting insurgency right from President Goodluck Jonathan administration till date. We suggest that rather than throwing money to the troubled communities, the federal government should allow the introduction of state police to manage the situation. The Hope strongly advises that the non-kinetic approach should be taken with caution so we do not compromise the security of the nation. Recall Sheik Gumi’s call for negotiation with terrorists during Buhari’s administration which many believed would legitimise criminality. Instead of going that route, government should have the political will to bring insurgents to book rather than subjecting us to their whims and caprices.FURTHERMORE, The Hope is of the firm belief that the internal security apparatus as currently configured is not capable enough to stamp out the insurgency in the land as most of the ethno-religious crises in many parts of Nigeria like Kaduna and Plateau may be linked to an ideology driven by expansionist tendency of certain groups and individuals. Therefore, it would not be out of place to seek external assistance in terms of training and equipment. The Special Intervention Police (SIP) by IGP Egbetokun is a welcome development but it is not enough going by the audacity of the terrorists which is beyond imagination. A very strong and coordinated security force like that of the American Seal is required to fight insurgency in Nigeria. The inter-agency rivalry among the security formations in the country must stop forthwith. We expect more cooperation from them.…Call for State PoliceMANY prominent Nigerians including former Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida; sociopolitical groups like Afenifere, Arewa Consultative Forum, and Ohaneze Ndigbo, among others, have openly called for the creation of state police in Nigeria. We wholeheartedly endorse this call as the existing security architecture appears overwhelmed and helpless while innocent Nigerians are being molested, harassed and killed in thousands.Experience has shown that the cetralisation of Nigeria’s policing system has not helped matters in addressing the security breaches in all parts of the country.IT is time we decentralized the police force to have state and local government security outfits in the country. This will enhance and promote effective policing of all parts of the country as being experienced in Ondo State with Amotekun’s activities that has drastically improved security in the state and the realization that it is possible to have local state police along the central police in the country. Since the creation of Amotekun Corps in Ondo State, it has been performing creditable well to rid the state of dare devil criminals and killers. In general, there are incontrovertible evidences that wanton killings, armed robbery, kidnapping, herders destructive activities and other forms of criminality that hitherto reached intolerable level have drastically reduced in Ondo State. SINCE crime has both national and local dimensions and every crime is perpetrated at a given locality, a local security outfit is better prepared to fight crime as its personnel are more knowledgeable about the terrain since they are drawn from the same local, cultural and linguistic backgrounds. We therefore call on President Tinubu to muster the political will and do the needful and urgently too in ensuring that state police comes to stay as we appear to be running out of time.