By Patrick Andrew, Benjamin Umuteme, Tope Sunday, Kehinde Osasona and Abdulrahaman Zakariyau There was an overwhelming call by Nigerians for an improved security in all the nooks and crannies of the country, just as the Emir of Birnin Gwari in Kaduna state, Malam Zubair Jibril, posited that the creation of the State Police remains the best way out of the country’s security challenges.
Similarly, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), has called for the redeployment of the 10, 000 policemen keeping watch over banks across the country and those attached to VIPs, to trouble spots for adequate protection of lives and property of the citizens. These were the positions expressed by various speakers at the maiden edition of the Blueprint Annual Impact Series/Awards, held yesterday in Abuja, the nation’s capital city.
The event, themed; “Tolerance, Unity and Security: Building A Legacy for National Development,” drew a sizeable number of prominent Nigerians, including the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo of Gombe state, representatives of both the Kano and Yobe state governors, Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, elder statesman and patron, Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria, Alhaji, Isa Funtua and the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar among others.
The event provided a veritable platform for Nigerians to brainstorm on the security challenges, advancing divergent views on the way out.
However, insisting on the essence of team work, the Gombe state Governor, Alhaji Dankwambo, one of the 12 recipients of the awards, said no single individual or institution can provide adequate security for the country, adding that securing the nation would require the collaboration of all and sundry.
Accordingly, the governor declared that there can’t be improved security in the country without inclusive governance, where all agencies of government work harmoniously to secure the nation.
‘Why Nigeria needs State Police’ But the key note speaker, Emir of Birnin Gwari, identified weak judicial system, culture of impunity and the confused system of governance among others, as being responsible for the present state of insecurity in the country.
All of these, the monarch said, have undermined the country’s internal cohesion and co-existence among the citizens.
According to him, injustice, nepotism, bribery and corruption, religious intolerance, political instability, as well as unemployment, have cost the nation a great deal overtime.
He said: “Insecurity with all its attendant allies has ravaged the country considerably.
Armed robbery, armed banditry, Boko Haram terrorism, Niger Delta militancy, cattle rustling, ethnoreligious crises, and others have for a long time thwarted an optimal development in Nigeria.” Citing the spate of killings in the North-east, North-west and the North-central region of the country, the Emir, whose domain has suffered armed banditry in recent times, said the listed factors were indicators that insecurity has eaten deep into the fabrics of the Nigerian society.
Citing the situation in his domain, the monarch said, “our story in Birnin Gwari of Kaduna state is that of agony and sympathy.
The armed bandits have made hell out of people’s lives in the area.
They have completely been ravaged by armed robbery, armed banditry, cattle rustling and abductions.” While acknowledging efforts of the security agencies at tackling the menace, he said the issue of security would be better handled internally, and therefore lent his voice to the call for the establishment of State Police across the country as it would address “this contemporary necessity.” While acknowledging that many had hitherto opposed the establishment of State Police because of likely abuse by politicians, the royal father said it’s high time Nigeria identified with realities of the time and take proactive steps to address the growing security challenges.
He said Nigeria must borrow a leaf from both the advanced democracies and many developing countries that deployed the services of state and community police to their advantage.
“We must not continue to manipulate issues of national importance in favour of our political inclination.
I therefore see this as a timely necessity.
It is the only hope left for us to curb rising cases of insecurity in our localities,” he further said.
Jibril, therefore, appealed to the federal, state and local governments to show more commitment in fighting the scourge of insecurity ravaging parts of the country, saying “politicians must fear Allah and avoid imposing their personal and jaundiced wills over a collective mission that can better our societies.” CAN calls for withdrawal of policemen from banks Similarly, in his presentation, the northern chapter of CAN, called on the police authority to withdraw its more than 10,000 personnel currently attached to banks and Very Important Personalities, and deploy them in the service of the people.
Represented by its Public Relations Officer, Rev.
Joseph John Hayab, the body recommended that such officers should be deployed to states where there are security challenges for the protection of lives and property of Nigerians.
He said: “Why are the Nigeria police protecting the banks, why should the banks not improve their own security, draft them to the Nigeria police, equip and project them to secure their banks? “But the policemen are in banks and some of them lobby to be there.
They are also being sent to highly-placed Nigerians.
Instead, they should be sent to where there are security challenges to protect Nigerians.
“Can the bank managers tell me between man and God that after every month, they don’t send some money to some Commissioners of Police and the Inspector General of Police to protect some powerful Nigerians? Or are they just guarding them for free? “If they are guarding them for free and there is nothing paid to them, why don’t they employ the services of security men, get them trained by the police and let them guard you? “I think, the police should guard the Nigerian citizens and the time to ask question is now, or else, insecurity would continue to be our problems until we address those issues.” Haruna, NIPR fellow speaks Speaking in similar vein, a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Malam Muhammed Awwal Haruna, expressed deep concern over the abuse of the social media by unscrupulous elements and called for urgent measures to tame the ugly trend.
He cautioned that the country may run into anarchy if the menace is not promptly tackled.
“The time has come for this nation, not to just sit down and allow what is going on, on the social media to continue.
As a people, we must all look at what can be done to address some of the interactions on social media platform, particularly Facebook, because information passed on Facebook and other social media platforms bring about unnecessary tension in our country.
“So, I believe something needs to be done for us to make meaningful progress on security.
If you read what people post on social media, all of us do that, you will think Nigeria is on fire.
We cannot allow that to continue, our leaders and all of us have the responsibility to do something about that so that we will prevent this country from going into anarchy,” he warned.
Presidency gives hope And amidst all the concerns raised, the Presidency has assured that it has upped its game in efforts at tackling the myriad of security challenges in the country, claiming that such efforts were yielding fruitful results.
The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Malam Garba Shehu, who spoke at the sideline of the event, said President Muhammadu Buhari had taken up the security challenges “competently and comprehensively.” Garba added: “President Buhari’s administration has taken up the challenge as competently as anybody can do.
He is training, he is hiring, he is buying and equipping our armed forces and now they are up to the task.
“The Boko Haram terrorism in the North-east of the country has been dismantled and what is left is just to clean up whatever are the fallouts.
So, therefore, we are doing well.
At some point; Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba and Plateau were the hot spots of banditry, and you will admit that calm has gradually returned to these places and Zamfara is in focus now.
“A lot is going on, more police; army and air force establishments are being set up.
And the place is being swamped by infusion of addition security men, weaponised people and all of that, this too will also be defeated.” He observed that efforts were on to bring stakeholders in the business of securing the nation as pre-condition for an economically stable and peaceful nation.
Earlier in his opening address, Alhaji Funtua, enjoined media owners on professionalism, saying that it’s the only way any newspaper, whether online or print can survive.
Also in his welcome remark, Chief Executive Officer, Blueprint Newspapers, Alhaji Mohammed Idris, called on the media to continue to champion national discourse and provide platforms for exchange of views among all stakeholders.
“It is imperative that the media also recognises its role, not just in reporting but in objective criticism and celebration of achievements,” Idris added.
The awardees A major highlight of the event was the conferment of awards on some notable individuals.
Governor Dankwambo received the award of the most Outstanding Governor, his Kano state counterpart, represented by the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Ibrahim Mukhtar, bagged the Distinguished Fiscal Policy Champion Award, while the Minister of Transport, Mr.
Rotimi Amaechi, was conferred with the Most Distinguished Achiever in Transport Infrastructure.
Also recognised were Senator Shehu Sani, who was bestowed with Distinguished Public Advocacy Champion, while the Chief of Army Staff; Lt.-General Tukur Buratai got the Distinguished Security Champion Award, Chairman, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, Barrister Abdullahi Mukhtar, who was conferred with Public Service Champion Award, and the CBN governor, among several others.