The Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), through its spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, has warned of the consequences of relying solely on the Federal Government for security.
“We are not advocating open confrontation, but the Yoruba nation has a way and method of securing their communities, they should deploy the technology.”
Speaking in the same vein, President, Agbekoya Peace Movement of Nigeria, Alhaji Ahmed Olasunkanmi Raji, has a message for the South-West governors.
Speaking with weekly he said: “The governors of western states of Nigeria should help us to warn those kidnapping our children and people. It is getting unbearable but we don’t want to take laws into our hands, reason why we are sending out this warning. They should know that Yoruba land also has those who can defend its people. It is my belief that the police are not sufficiently capable of curbing this menace.
“What we are facing is not a case of shooting guns. It is not a case of cutlass or cudgel. There is power in Yoruba land which is not available in other tribes.”
However, security experts have called for multi-dimensional approach to solving the rising wave of insecurity.
They also lamented perceived government insensitivity and security chiefs’ lack of capacity in handling the problems.
A serving senior police officer has said that the current insecurity in the land is festering because the police, which are meant to quell internal security challenges, are not only over stretched and battered, but are also suffering from abysmal low morale at both officer and rank and file levels.
The officer, who spoke with Sunday Telegraph on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the issue, lamented the situation which men and officers of the force are subjected to in their duty of securing the country which has been battling insurgence, kidnapping, banditry, killings occasioned by farmers/herders clash, cow rustling and cult activities.
He said that men of the police force are overstretched as insecurity is virtually rife in every part of the country.
He said: “Most of them are going on retirement and there is no replacement for them. The family of an average policeman, are deployed from Lagos to Taraba, without any allowance have to rely solely on his meagre salary to take care of his family that has been displaced.
“This is what leads to the erosion of morale, commitment and patriotism of the policemen. You will get some postings, you are afraid of leaving your station due to the uncertainties of where you are going. Or is it the deplorable Police stations that we operate out of and what have you.”
Also, our source attributed the current rising wave of insecurity to what he called “failure of many of us to carry out our civic responsibilities”, which if carried out would go a long way in helping the police get a grip on crime.
Hear him: “An average Nigerian does not want to pay for Vigilante service at the end of the month. You go from house to house to plead with them to pay, they will not. You see a situation whereby criminals go into the houses and collect phones and other valuables from wives, children and others running into thousands if not millions of naira. And yet many of these same people are reluctant to pay a monthly security due of N1, 000. There is need to expose the failure of our individual civic responsibilities.”
What then is the way out of the situation?
“Our governors should emulate Lagos State which rose up to the challenge with the launch of the Lagos Neighbourhood Security Cops, which is being coordinated by a retired DIG.
“They are fully trained. They were trained by retired police officers on security and preventive measures. All they should do is to train local vigilante and employ them. It is not all the time that you have to use force on criminals. Ordinary whistle…. When you see somebody coming and you blow it, the would be criminal would think twice,” said the police officer.
He continued: “Community partnership and neighbourhood should be there too. You should know your next door neighbour, the situation whereby, you do not know your neighbour, no interaction, people now behave as if they are living in the western world, where if you are being molested, no one would respond to your call.”
Former Director of Department of State Services (DSS), Chief Mike Ejiofor and retired Police Commissioner, Mr.Sola Amore, said the rancorous security problems required economic, social and security solutions.
Ejiofor said: “It is a combination of factors. This is a war of the mind, a psychological warfare. The mind of the people should be reminded towards acceptable values and ethos like brotherliness, peaceful coexistence and national cohesion.
“Also, government should fix the economy, ensure employment of millions of Nigerian youths, food supply, and social justice and even use the stick when necessary. That is why it is called carrot and stick approach – drones and armaments can’t solve the problem
“Government should give more zest to the war on terror. Soldiers are almost overstretched with operations in many parts of the country. They need funds and modern equipment to succeed.”
Ejiofor, who was kidnapped for three days last year, also wants undesirable elements in the armed forces to be flushed out because some of them are fuelling insecurity in the country.
“From the expression used by my kidnappers, I have reasons to believe that they have military background and this is something the authorities should look at with all seriousness. They should fight the war from within,” he said.
On his part, CP Amore, (rtd) lamented lack of improvement in the security situation in the country, calling on government to show greater concern and commitment.
According to him, the essence of government is citizens’ security and welfare and latest developments in the country show that government is lagging behind in this regard.
He called for rebuilding of youths and investors’ confidence in the country to prevent capital flight and youths’ preference to relocate abroad even through desert routes.
“Government should rebuild the economy, industries and the health sector for employment, while government officials show leadership by getting medical treatments in the country, and ensure their children to attend a schools within,” he argued.
Pan Igbo socio cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said it is working hard along with other stakeholders to find solution to the security challenges facing the zone especially the issue of killer herdsmen and kidnapping.
The group told Sunday Telegraph that it is working with the state governors and others in the zone
to work out a strategy to handle the situation. The President General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Nnia Nwodo, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Emeka Attamah, however, declined to disclose exactly what type of strategy or security measures they were adopting to tackle the menace. In his words: “Security matters are not what you discuss in the open. So even if we are doing anything, we wouldn’t want to say it.
“We don’t want to disclose anything yet, but be rest assured we are not folding our hands.” But beyond all these, the serving police officer wants the Federal and state governments as well as other stakeholders to join hands in tackling the insecurity challenge by deploying modern tenology.
“What we have on our hands is not a government issue. We should call on stake holders, the government, state governments and the local governments. They should talk on the deplorable state of logistics for the police and other security agencies.
They should deploy technology by installing CCTV on the highways, other equipment used by the police. “You can record them while on patrol and have pictures of what is going on. You can install them on trees. There is CCTV powered by solar energy where these things are prevalent. You can record pictures and they will be able to get the criminals.”