Thursday, 1 February 2018

On the Upcoming National Security Summit: My Little Cent Suggestion —by Joseph Odok

1 February 2018 

The news that greeted the announcement of a National Security Summit to be organized by the Federal Government in collaboration with the Nigerian Senate greeted me with ecstasy unlike the despondency that have always characterized my almost conclusion that Nigerian is a gonna. For the first time, the in our national history the President is to meet with all Senators, all House of Representatives members, member of the Security Council, Delegated members of Council of Traditional Rulers, Relevant NGOs, Human Rights Activists and relevant stakeholders to discuss the Security Challenges in Nigeria. 

The cream of selected Nigerians that will attend the Security Summit gives a ray of hope that the Federal Government has risen to responsibility. Thanks to Nigerians that have been restless in demanding for good governance. There have been robust debates from all quarters. This is essentially how a democracy works. The citizens must not give up in their call for justice because democracy works when systems are built to checkmate the excesses of the Government. Security issues can only be checkmated when there is participation of all.  

Our security challenges have become a cancer and a national embarrassment because of discordant voices between the Legislators, the Judiciary, the Executive, the security agencies, our traditional institutions etc. The country had grown to a point were the life of the poor man is not perceived as precious. Provision of security has been limited to the executive, judiciary, legislators and rich Nigerians (mostly those that have stolen from us and are using looted monies to protect their loots) Nigeria must begin to see every life of it's citizens as precious, it must take steps to protect the lives of all it's citizenry. 

So much of our security apparatus is focused on protecting the big men with the poor man left unattended. Increasingly, Nigeria has become a country of the rich in neglect of the poor with loopholes created for corruption by way of unaccounted funds given to the President and Governors as security votes.  

Most security challenges are traceable to the actions and inaction of the Executives. No wonder the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria places the challenge of protecting lives and properties on the Executives.  Unacceptable security votes given to the Governors and the constitutional privileges of immunity from any criminal prosecution has turned most governors into brutes. Desperation for power drives most of the governors to build an army of militants that intimidate the people to power especially when their ineptitude is challenged. The combination of security votes and immunity from any prosecution have turned most Governors to brute. Those who may not themselves be involved in killings, assassinations,  extra judicial killings and related crimes are careless about prosecution of offences committed around them because of involvement of their agents. 

Before the National Security Summit, here are my one cent suggestions 

1. Increasing funding of Security Agencies : Security is expensive,  countries like China and America have huge budgets for security even with lesser Security Challenges like Nigeria. Nigeria with growing cases of terrorism, kidnapping, killings, armed robbery and related crimes spends so little on security with much chuck of its monies given to the Executive  spent on a prodigal life style. 

Funding of security agencies must not be limited to salaries and wages but must include funding the investigation of high profile cases. My suggestion is borne out of personal experience, Nigerians and victims of security abuses are left to fund investigation of their cases. Worrisome is the fact that you must mobilise the investigation agents with money for transportation, feeding, accommodation and still leave a huge chunk of money for the ogas at the top before any step is taken to investigate any criminal matter against a Nigerian Citizens. 

The sad part of it is that the poor Nigerian is often to face rich power broker with more monies and connections with security agencies. This makes justice almost an impossibility for a poor man. increasingly justice is now bought or denied. Nigerians need a country where a poor man can be protected against the arrogance of the rich

2. Revitalization of our Traditional Institutions: With the El-Refai call for state police I am getting interested in the argument. I would ordinarily have opposed state police because I am a victim of attempted murder by an agent of the Cross River State Homeland Security,  an outlet created for intimidation of opposition to the Cross River State government. Getting justice is been so difficult and stressful because the rich now beliefs that killing for power is no crime and any opposition to government must be killed. My reservation have been settled by superior logic. I like Governor El-Rufia's arguments  for state police but on condition that the immunity of state governors must be repealed. State governors must also be made to account for their security votes in line with their constitutional mandate to secure lives and properties. Those who abuse and misuse their security votes or engage in activities that compromises security for any political interest should be investigated and prosecuted. It is my thinking based on personal experience that the Nigerian state Governors are partly the cause of insecurity in Nigeria 
With increasing calls for state police, our traditional institutions should be strengthened to checkmate the security abuses of most governors.  Crime is local,  our traditional institutions are closer to the people and can dictate and checkmate crime if funded and recognized 

3. Naturalization of our security Apparatus and Engagement: Nigerians are intrinsically linked to their tribes and religion and efforts at checkmating security challenges must be one that has a balance of ethnicity and religion. Indigenization of security and the imbalance in tribal mix gives room for abuses and intimidation by the dominant ethnic and religious tribe. 

National Security Policy: The meeting at the National Security Summit must come out with a National Security policy  that will apply to all states.  Such a policy should form a bases for our security laws and be passed by the Nigerian Senate into Security Laws of Nigeria,  Laws of the Federation. Such a National Security policy must apply to all states with well thought out models of enforcement that is no respecter of any institutions and/or individuals. The policy must focus on the protection of every citizens of Nigeria with an existing well funded public complaint section that can be accessed by all Nigerians. 

Joseph Odok 
Social Change Agent 

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