Former Liaison Officer to President Shehu Shagari, Alhaji Salihu Abubakar Tanko Yakasai has warned advocates of State Police to be weary of plunging the country into a more dangerous security problem in an attempt to solve the present one.
This was contained in his memorandum to the Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 constitution
He said, Nigeria is suffering from security challenges not because it needs an additional layer of policing but because the country is badly governed.
According to him, the major issue is because as a nation, we are not interested in the right priorities and not investing in the right policies.
“We must understand that insecurity in Nigeria is a manifestation of our failure as a nation to prioritize our expenditure and make the required investment in education, agriculture, power, social safety net and other areas that will impact employment, family income and increase opportunities for young people.
“No amount of policing will stop a hungry and jobless population from engaging in criminality. In a country where more than half of able bodied young people and over 30% of the total population is jobless, rising rates of crime is inevitable.
“No country can effectively police 70 million jobless people.”
He said rather than expend energy and resources on creating an additional layer of policing, we must revisit the way we order our policy priorities and options.
“We must stop spending 70% of our resources on how we run our government, invest the resources in the right policy areas and stop diverting public funds from their intended use.
“Unless we do these, we are going to continue to produce an army of jobless young people who will continue to resort to crime as their only survival option.
He said, Nigeria must stop paying lip service to reforming the federal police by paying adequate attention to their welfare, training, discipline, equipment and then increase their number.
“A nation of 200 million people cannot be adequately covered by a police force of 300,000 people that is ill-trained, ill-equipped, ill-motivated and mainly deployed to protect political office holders and other important people, not citizens.”
He said while toying with the idea of a return to the State Policing System it is worthy to remember that it is a hreat To National Unity
“The political stability of Nigeria will be further threatened because, not only will all the 36 State Governors will be at liberty to use this security outfit to molest and oppress their perceived opponents, both within and outside their respective political parties, they will also use their state police against non-indigenes as is already happening in many jurisdictions.
“In many States, non indigenes are considered second class citizens. Who will ensure they are treated fairly and justly by the various state police forces?
“Discrimination in law enforcement in various jurisdictions will lead to mass political unrest and social disorder.”
Another area of concern he said is that State Police will suppress the Nigeria Police Force.
“Believing that the Nigeria Police is directly under the Federal Government, all the 36 State Governments will become hostile to it in preference to their own local police forces.
“Without the cooperation of the State Governments, the federal police will become less and less effective.”
He also pointed at the conflict of interest that might arise saying as long as there are multiple commands in any formation, loyalty becomes divided.
“This is very dangerous to security management, especially in a very complex country, like Nigeria. There will also be conflict over jurisdictions.
“For example, which of the two forces will have the power of arrest, investigation and prosecution? If they both do, what happens when the Governor or his party are implicated in unlawful activities? “Will they allow the federal police to arrest, investigate and prosecute the suspects or will they use their state police to shield the suspects? Will that not lead to constant conflict between the two police forces?”
On proliferation of firearms which is already a serious issue as the country has become a haven for arms traffickers, with too many weapons in the hands of the wrong persons he asked rhetorically who will stop some state governments from recruiting the wrong persons in their various state police forces? “Already we know some states recruit thugs as teachers, traffic wardens, etc. For example, the local security outfit in the South West, Amotekun, is populated by members of Odua Peoples Congress which has been declared by the Obasanjo administration as an outlaw organization after it was implicated in the unlawful killing of rival factions and non indigenes.”
He said funding of the State Police will further compound the financial challenges, presently being faced by all the 36 states of the federation, including Lagos.
“It is a well know fact, that most of the states are still finding it difficult to pay the national minimum wage, despite benefitting from bailouts by the Federal Government.
“All the states are heavily indebted. Recently, Kaduna State Government had to take the drastic decision to retrench workers in order to be able to pay salaries, leading to a face-off with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
“We all know the potential consequences of arming law enforcement agents and then owing them months in backlog of wages.”
He warned against the temptation of trial and error, “Some may be tempted to say, ‘Let us try the system first. We can scrap it if it does not serve our purpose.’
“This is easier said than done. After training and arming people, it is not going to be possible to decommission them without consequences.
“Nigerians are fond of making policy by trial and error. That is why the nation keeps going back and forth and not making progress like other peer nations.
“Nigerians should learn some lessons from the creation of State Electoral Commissions which has turned out to be a colossal waste of resources. In spite of their claim to independence, all the State Electoral Commissions are under the firm control of State Governors and the party in power.
“None of them has so far delivered a single credible election. I fear, the same fate will befall the various State Police Forces, if created.”
According to him, Majority of those advocating this idea believe that Nigeria’s security challenges can only be effectively tackled at the grassroots, through the creation of an additional layer of policing at the State level.
However, he said there seems to be a lack of critical thinking and deeper understanding of this critical and highly consequential subject matter. Historical records show the idea of a “State Police” is not new.
“Nigeria had experimented with this idea in the past and jettisoned it due to its negative consequences on universal human rights, the safety and security of the poor and powerless and the right of expression of opposition political parties, groups and individuals.
“Most of those canvassing the idea of a return to state policing, including State Governors, Federal and State Legislators, have no experience with the Native Authority policing system.
“The few elderly Nigerians who had the experience seem to have lost memory of that dark and inglorious system. This is understandable because old age sometimes comes with amnesia.
“For those of us who still remember, it would be unpardonable not to warn Nigerians who see a solution in State policing that they are dangerously advocating a jump from frying pan to fire.
“I am, therefore, making this submission to remind Nigerians, both the young who have no experience and the old who forgot their experience, of the dangers of what they are canvassing, and to share with them my personal experience and bitter encounters with “State Police” in the pre-independence era, during the NEPU/NPC political rivalries.
“The security outfit, then known as the Native Authority Police, was similar to the proposed ‘State Police.’ The NA police was directly managed and controlled by each Regional Government in much the same way today’s State Governors want to control State Police.
“Those in power in the First Republic used the NA police to victimize their political opponents, mostly on framed-up and fictitious charges.
“Thus, many of us, who were in the opposition, particularly in the defunct Northern Region, were constantly harassed, molested, arrested, jailed and dehumanized while in prison.”
“At this juncture, I would like to emphasize the fact that the most widely reported cases of protests in Nigeria’s pre-independence era were protests triggered by the high-handedness of the Native Authority Police.
“Those protests were more justified than the recent EndSARS protest as the Native Authority police, then in the hands of political office-holders and traditional rulers, particularly in the defunct Northern Region, was far more oppressive, violent and brutal.
“The current federal police, in comparison with the Native Authority Police, is humane, compassionate and civil. Nigerians must be careful what they pray for because they may well get.”
Prominent among the protests triggered by Native Authority Police high-handedness during the First Republic include:
The Aba Women’s Riots of 1929 (Eastern Region)
The Opobo/Ikot-Abasi Women’s Riots of 1929 (Eastern Region)
Egba Women’s Tax Riot of 1948 (Western Region)
The Kano Political Riots of 1953 (May 16-19, 1953) – Northern Region.
Cannabis legislation: NDLEA boss talks tough, disagrees with Gov Akeredolu, lawmakers
**threatens to burn down any farm found with cannabis
The chairman and chief executive officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Brag. Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd) has disagreed in strong terms with Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and some house of Representatives members that have been pushing for legalisation of cannabis.
Recall that Akeredolu had urged the Nigerian Government to jettison traditional orientation and “archaic” sentiment that said that cannabis is a ‘devil’s plant’.
The Governor at Stakeholders’ Roundtable on the “Benefits and Opportunities of Cannabis Plant in Nigeria” recently urged the Nigerian government to give legal backing to cannabis to enable its use in Nigeria, saying “cannabis is a multi-billion naira industry that can help diversify the Nigerian Economy if judiciously utilised”
The National Assembly also has been making moves for the legalisation of the illicit substance under the guise of its economic value.
However, Marwa who spoke at a press briefing to unveil the week-long program ofactivities in commemoration of the UN Internatiknal Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking in Abuja on Monday said it is a matter of life and money, adding that it is like seeing fire and plunging in to the flame, he said the agency would rather choose life.
“I had the honour to address the Governors forum virtually sometime ago and most definitely the Governor of Ondo brought this matter.
“I can only speak facts. When you plant cannabis yes you sell it and get Billions of Naira but the issue is between life and Money. Life and money which one will you chose? We will choose life.
“Ondo State is the greatest grower of this illicit substance and the NDLEA will continue to burn any farm that we find and arrest the perpetrators.
“It is dangerous it is bad for our health and we will not agree as far as we are concerned.
“I am aware that in the House of Representatives a movement is on by a particular committee to legalise cannabis. That is absolutely within their rights but I doubt if it will be passed.
“Now there is no confrontation or would there ever be between the NDLEA and the Governors forum. To the best of my knowledge it is only one Governor that is pushing for this cannabis matter.
“If you do your arithmetic one divided by 36. He has his absolute right as a Governor to fend for his State. But the law in Nigeria has cannabis as one of the illicit substances and as I mentioned earlier it is between money and life. I think we will chose life.”
He said a global drug survey which is one of the evidence based document that the Agency uses, has it that 10.6m Nigerians use cannabis.
“And if you look at the world’s Cannabis report 2019 it is not 10.6m it is actually 20 million Nigerians. Nigeria is the country with the highest population of people using this drug.
“Always know that it has mind altering substances. Even the Schedule one 1961 convention, schedule 4 of the United Nations said Natikns must continue to exercise strict control over cannabis because of the negative consequences.
“The WHO itself made the Statement that Cannabis still has health issues and we all know that, why will you see fire and go into it. Yes the issue of the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes is approved in some countries not in all.
“Now we have to look at our own circumstances here.
It is possible a time will come for us to have a rethink but this is not the time. “This is definitely not the time for Nigerians with the highest prevalence of the use. Go to Lagos State the drug use prevalence is 33% from that survey. Most of that is from cannabis and the Southwest itself.”
On the insinuations that the Staff of the Agency engage in selling of exhibit to the users, he said, “NDLEA Staff don’t sell our exhibits, when we seize they are properly documented in each State command under the direct control of the State commander.
“We have exhibited keepers who are trusted, carefully selected officials and the exhibit rooms are well secured. “The exhibits are documented because of evidence in courts where we take them to, so be rest assured if you got such information it is false.”
On another allegation that some traditional rulers harbor traffickers of drugs, he said, traditional rulers are not exempted from the law.
“It is on record, at least once or twice drugs were seized from the palace and we have also arrested some of them.
“In the business of the drug war nobody is above the law here. Whoever you are in this country.
However, he said the agency is partnering with many traditional rulers in various Nigerian Kingdoms, communities, emirates.
“There are just a few bad eggs and those few ones when we discover, we go after them. We welcome information from the public anywhere you feel some of the traditional rulers are involved infirm us
The week-long activity he said started with the press conference after which he will launch the Standard Policy and Practice Guidelines (SPPG) for NDLEA counsellors.
He said on Tuesday will be a live program on NTA ‘Tuesday Live at 10PM, Wednesday will be NGO day, Thursday is a program on Radio Nigeria by 8am followed by a youth awareness program.
“On Friday, June 25th will be a special Jumaat service in commemoration of the UN day at the National Mosque Abuja.
“Saturday will feature the grand Finale, with the former launch of the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) by President Muhammadu Buhari .
“The day will also feature a guest lecture and the unveilingnof the National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP) 2021-2025. On Sunday, 27th, of June the week’s activity would be rounded off with a church thanksgiving service.
Ooni of Ife urges Bello to pioneer a legacy that will stand him out
The Oni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ojaja II, has urged Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State to think deeply on what he would pioneer, and what he would stand up and known for.
The traditional ruler spoke at the GYB @ 46 Birthday Symposium, with the theme: ”Insecurity In Nigeria And Role Of The Youth”, organised to mark the 46th birthday celebration of the governor on Friday at Government House, Lokoja.
”The truth must be told as we all know the situation of insecurity currently facing our country. What are you going to pioneer?
”Let us continue to talk to our people by engaging them. We must continue to deliberate on our peaceful coexistence,” he said.
He commended the governor for his achievements in security and for his commitment, focused and energetic efforts to the course of uniting the country.
The Oba promised to always be there for the governor anytime, anyday.
Ogunwusi stressed the need to bring governance to the youths, saying they constituted over 70 per cent of the country’s population, and should be carried along in the scheme of things.
”I feel your spirit, I see your passion, I see your love for the unity of this great nation.
Also speaking, a Resource Person and one of the Panelists, Chief George Moghalu, lauded the governor for his achievements in the state, and urged him to be a role model that the youths of this country would like to emulate.
Moghalu commended the governor for involving a great percentage of women in his government.
He stressed the important roles that families play in ensuring the peace and security of any nation.
”We are in a country where criminals are being celebrated; family moral ethics eroded. There is the need to go back to the basis which is the family and our fundamental problems as a country.
”We have also continued to emphasis on Certificates instead of celebrating quality skills; there is need to diverse the economy of this country.
”Government must create and provide the enabling environment for the private sector to thrive, because the government cannot do it alone or give jobs to everyone,” he said.
In her comment, Dr Bilkisu Magoro, a panelist, stressed the need for women inclusiveness in governance, saying women knew what the problems were and know how to handle them.
According to her, among all the States in Nigeria, it is only Kogi that has the highest number of women affirmative even more than the required 35 per cent.
”That is why Kogi State is enjoying peace more than any other State. Women should be more involved in governance; more inclusiveness of women in governance is the way to go,” Magoro said.
Also speaking, Prof Chris Nwaokobia, noted that the country had lost that which should hold us effectively together, saying, ”every ethnicity has offended each other at one point or the other.”
According to him, what we should do is to look at things that unite us, and strengthened them and build on them.
”The time has come for us to bury those things that divide us. The time to stop the killing and unite Nigeria is now.
”I believe that the youth of Nigeria can take our country out of the present situation.
”I believe in the capacity of GYB to take our country to greater heights,” he said.
In his response, the Governor noted that his administration is sincere, transparent and decisive, inclusive and opened to all irrespective of tribe, ethnic or religious differences.
”Our government is inclusive. We sort for the best hands for those who are ready to serve; my cabinet includes all the major tribes in Nigeria.
”We are raising young leaders that will take over from us because there is time for everything.
”I will implore our leaders and fathers to pay attention to what we have done in Kogi State. Whether anybody believes it or not, Kogi is the most peaceful State in Nigeria,” Bello said.
The highlight of the occasion was the unveiling and launching of a book, titled: ”GYB Through The Cases: A Compendium Of Historic Electoral Challenges And Victory”, authored by Shadrach Emmanuel.
Other dignitaries at the event were the Deputy Senate President, Ovi Omo-Agege; the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; and the Governor of Kwara State, Abdulrahman Abdulrasak; among others.
Confluence Online Media Network applauds Gov Bello for resolving critical national issues
A body, Confluence online Media Network, (CON), has appauded Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state for his intervention in resolving critical national issues which would have caused serious loss to the country.
In a statement issued on Monday and signed by its Chairman, Augustine Aminu (KSM), he recalled that Bello recently intervene in the a planned June 12 protest by the National Association of Nigeria Students, (NANS) by prevailing on them to shelve the protest for national interest.
Aminu noted that the protest if it was allowed to hold would have thrown the country into another state of confusion with serious negative consequences on the already fragile economy of the country.
He said the Governor had earlier provided similar intervention in April this year when cattle traders from the northern part of the country cut supplies to the southern part of the country, a situation he said would have hampered the peaceful co-existence of the different ethnic groups in Nigeria.
According to the group, the role and disposition of Governor Bello stood him out as a nationalist figure, whose major concern was the peace, unity and indivisible one united Nigeria that would be the pride of all.
The group called on other leaders to begin to play similar roles to douse tension in the country to build on the lofty ideals of the founding fathers of Nigeria.
They maintained that until leaders begin to see themselves as one, the challenges facing the country would remain unsolved.l
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