THE issue of insecurity in Nigeria for the umpteenth time is gaining attention as two leading traditional leaders in Yoruba land, Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi and the Alafin of Oyo, Oba LamidiAdeyemi recently raised alarm that the issue of insecurity in the domain be looked into.
OBA Ogunwusi after his meeting with President MuhammaduBuhari warned that the drumbeats of war “are sounding loud across the country”. According to him, some strange people have occupied the bushes and forests in the South-West region. He therefore advocated for collaboration among the security agencies and traditional rulers saying, “We need to work very closely with them and every other security agencies in the country … it is very important so that we can separate the corn from the chaff”
ALSO Oba Adeyemi charged the president to find a lasting solution to the siege on Yorubaland by herdsmen and kidnappers. In his open letter to President Buhari on the increasing spate of insecurity in and across Yorubaland, Oba Adeyemi stressed that it was time for the President to ensure that those involved in the siege are tamed and brought to book. He said, “Yoruba’s had all it takes to resort to self-help, unless the security in the zone improves and people are guaranteed safety of their lives and property.”
THE two traditional rulers have no doubt heighted the prevailing security challenges the area is currently grappling with. The situation is now being likened to an existential threat by most stakeholders in the region. Villages are being attacked at will by herdsmen without response from security agencies. No one is safe as the herdsmen, not only murder people in remote but kidnap travellers in the region.
THIS chronic nightmare is graphically illustrated by unrelenting kidnapping, armed robbery and herdsmen killings among others. We therefore feel that the Federal Government should be concerned about its loss of the power of coercion to non-state actors and quickly roll out strategies to change the status quo.
THERE are palpable fears of danger across the region and all the police and other security apparatus of government could offer the public are lame excuses.
THE situation is described as “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” Even those protected by a retinue of police details, still feel insecure. For example, Mrs. Funke Olakunori, daughter of Chief Reuben Fasoranti was mowed down on Ore Lagos express road on July 12. Her driver and house help were lucky as they escaped with no injury.
BECAUSE of police inability to find answers to the activities of the hoodlums, travellers on the expressways like Benin-Sagamu ,Akure-Ilesa are in a permanent state of fear. The Akure-Owo-Abuja road, a major link between the South-West and the Federal Capital Territory, has become den of bandits . In June, bandits abducted 20 persons in one operation. Also, a driver was abducted on Akure Ado road. He was released having paid ransom. Also in June some road safety officers were kidnapped along IlesaOsogbo road while on duty.
ALL the police do is celebrate the occasional arrests they make. Such instances include the parade of 40 suspected kidnappers in forests along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. Operatives of Operation “Puff Adder” arrest of 36 suspects for their alleged involvement in kidnapping, armed robbery and cultism in Kogi State.
BUT these intermittent “victories” are pyrrhic. They delude the police and people into believing that the situation is under control. No. A former chairman of Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees in Ogun state, AlhajiOlumoye was abducted on Sunday while going to his farm; son of former minister of helath, Isaac Adewole, DayoAdewole was recently kidnapped by unknown gunmen on his farm in Oyo State. He was released having paid some undisclosed amount of money. In Ofagbe community, Isoko North Local Government Area, Delta State, herdsmen reportedly killed a man and wounded another who identified himself as Thompson Ogege. They also attackedAmoji also in Delta State and abducted no fewer than four persons according to a community leader, Emmanuel Odili.
THE abysmal performance of the police could be adduced to their out-dated operations. Most developed countries like; United Kingdom, America, Australia and Europe, the police drive their operations through intelligence. In the UK, automated surveillance is the name of the game. There are 5.9 million CCTV cameras deployed in surveillance activities. In the aftermath of the August 2011 London riots, police analysed 200,000 CCTV images to identify the suspects.
IN Nigeria, police operations are mired in archaic mumbo-jumbo. Criminals are often a step ahead of police because they lack the standard equipment like forensic laboratories, digitalised crime database and motorised patrols.
MR Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector General of Police’s defense , that the police need 155,000 new recruits to tame crime, is begging the question.. The major problem is inefficient deployment of available manpower. Out of the current police strength of 298,735, over 100,000 or a third is deployed to guard a few privileged individuals and organisations.
TO bring crime under control, security agencies should mop up the arms in wrong hands. Crime suspects should be prosecuted quickly. More importantly, Nigeria cannot run away from state police. The current system is an anomaly in federalism. This will allow states and communities to build up their own security capacity to control crime.
LASTLY, we advise Mr. President to come out quickly to condemn activities of the herdsmen. His silence when such incident happens sends an indirect approval sign to the criminals.
He should also look at the country’s security arctecture with a view to reinvigorating them.