How would you describe Nigeria’s current state of insecurity?
Yes, there is insecurity currently bedeviling Nigeria as a country. However, I will first and foremost want you to know that insecurity is a phenomenon, a monster that has been before now and certainly a global problem. It depends on how you see it, but I assure you insecurity is a phenomenon that no country in the whole world is exempted from its scourges.
What differentiates the state of the problem from one country to another is the strength and ability of the country in managing the situation. Most importantly the proactive measures taken to prevent certain activities that lead to being security problems is paramount.
Now, the current state of insecurity in Nigeria can best be described as worrisome, perturbing and indeed a threat to the peace, unity and progress of this country. No country develops amidst insecurity; peace is paramount to any nation’s progress. I think the current insecurity in Nigeria is alarming, demanding necessary changes in the security architecture and possibly changing certain strategies in managing our security problems.
Do you agree with those agitating for the sack Service Chiefs?
Yes. I think some of the service chiefs have lost ideas. They started well but along the way they lack ideas to continue in the fight against terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and other criminalities we are currently faced with as a nation. And also, looking at their tenures expiration, changing them at this time would be a right decision at the right time.
Even thoughMr President reacted to this call that sacking the service chiefs at the moment will not do well to the ongoing fight against insurgents and other insecurities. As a retired general of the Nigerian Army, I am sure Buhari is not ignorance of the nature and strategies necessary for use in combating insecurity.
In the developed countries, when situations like this came up as it is now in Nigeria, the in charge of such agencies or bodies resigns and give way to new hands that would come in to try their skills and abilities. But in developing countries like Nigeria, leaders don’t mind even when things are going out of hand under their watch. This entails of our leadership intoxication even at the detriment of people’s lives and the nations.
When the Service Chiefs came on board newly, they did well, but as it is their efforts are not enough. Maybe as the war goes on and the ‘bad eggs’ changes tactics, the service chiefs lack fresh strategies to combat the activities of the enemies of Nigeria.
What do you have to say on the assertion that President MuhammaduBuhari has failed in terms of Security?
I disagree with such an assertion that President Buhari hasfailed. For me and other Nigerians who knows and are familiar with the security situation before Buhari came on board and now, the difference is clear that security situation has improved immensely compared to the past.Nigerians should be fair enough to see reasons to appreciate.
Let me take you memory lane, President Buhari during his time as a military personnel has shown outstanding qualities and intelligence in managing uprisings just as the now Boko Haram. During the time of Maitasine Crisis, Buhari was GCO in Jos, and later was taken to Kano to curb the crisis. I can assure you that Buhari’s pragmatic and gallantry intervention contributed immensely to the army’s ability to curb Maitasine in Kano.
Now to his current effort in managing insecurity from 2015 when he was elected as a civilian president, we all know the situation Nigeria was in before he took over. On assumption in office, President Buharihas quit reduced the scourges of Boko Haram and other security challenges in Nigeria.
It was obvious before 2015 that Boko Haram attacked almost every part of this country, you remember the United Nations’s office bombing, Force Headquarters’ bombing, and lots of other which you will agree with me that Buhari ends that era.Boko Haram activities have been pushed back to North East, and even the manner at which they operated before is history.
I think more is expected but to say Buhari has failed is to me is wrong. Looking at the nature of our insecurity today, the president is doing his best but some individuals within and outside the security agencies are sabotaging his efforts. You don’t expect a retired general to play with security of the nation that entrusted their mandates to him. The president is indeed trying and I would advise all and sundry to put all hands on deck to compliment the effort of the present government.
Do you support creation of regional or state security outfits?
Yes. I am not against the creation of states or regional security outfits if only that will be done in line with the law and selfish politicians would cease the opportunity to personalize such outfits for their benefits. What is also important there is how if those outfits would work together with the federal security agencies towards securing Nigerians and their properties.
I can assure you, most people that against states or regional police or security structures are doing that having in mind how some people can hide under that umbrella to target those they are not in good terms with to take revenge. And some can use such bodies to pursue their rivals in politics which if that is done it can caused for damage than good.
On this regard, if there must be states of regional policing, the central, Nigerian police must supervise and checkmate the antecedents of such structures. This is aimed at ensuring that no personal or selfish agenda is introduced in the system.
If compare the number of Nigerian Police to the population of Nigeria, you will agree with me that the work is bigger than the labourers. The police need to be assisted; not only the state police, all Nigerians and other private organisations should aid the police and other security agencies in Nigeria with information and every other thing necessary.
What Nigeria do must do to curb the current insecurity in the country?
Our security apparatus must do more on strengthening intelligence gathering. I assure you that one of the factors that edge the developed country’s security architecture above that of the underdeveloped countries is the intelligence gathering. The developed countries are more proactive than reactive.
More to being proactive, our NGO; Almushahid Initiative for Transparency and Accountability (AITA) recently received a complaint from a concerned citizen of Nigeria who unrevealed a serious security threat at Nasarawa Toto, in Nasarawa State. On receiving the complaint from a reliable source which cannot be mentioned for security reason who is a member of the said community, wrote.
The petitioners averred that one Alhaji Muhammad Ardo Hussein, Chairman of Nasarawa State Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, one Alhaji Sale, Chairman Nasarawa Toto LGAMiyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association and seven others (AlhajiNamako, Ardo Alkali, AlhajiBommo, AlhajiBuwayi, ArdoBuji, Fulani Ori and Bahago) connived and formed an illegal vigilante group with Alhaji Muhammad Ardo Hussein as their leader at Arume, Bassa, Garangi, Umma-Aisha and Gego Villages of Nasarawa State.
These persons terrorized and intimidated Fulani Cattle Rearers in those areas, and that they have the authority and the backing of the Nigerian Army on duty post at Uja Village, Nasarawa State, and the DPO Toto Divisional Police Headquarters to arrest and detain any person(s) suspected of cattle rustling.
And so, they invited a notorious kidnappers kingpin from Zamfara State; one AlhajiBuji and Ten (10) Members of his gang who arrived Nasarawa State on the 2nd October, 2019 and camped at Nasarawa, Umma-Aisha Village after haven terrorized KauraNamoda and TalatanMarafa in Zamfara State; Katsina, Kusada, Charachi, Mashi, Gidan-Mutundaya all in KatsinaState and some part of Kano State; Tudun-Wada, Dan-Kade, Dajin- Falgore and Kwana Dan-Gora.
Consequently, Alhaji Muhammad Ardo Hussein, Alhaji Sale, AlhajiBuji and their members in pursuit of their threat, demanded for One Hundred and Seventy (170) cows from members of Fulani Community for them to enjoy peace continually in those areas out of which, Fifty (50) cows have been involuntarily given to them.
The petitioner said they reported to the Police but only Alhaji Sale was arrested by the Team of Policemen on the 5th October, 2019 at Abaji Market and was taken to Federal SARS Office, Abuja in connection with cows extortion and kidnapping activities but unfortunately he was later released on 10th October, 2019 on the directives of a senior Police officer which would be disclosed on invitation by the Police.
And immediately after the release of Alhaji Sale on 12th October, 2019 these “criminals again invaded and kidnapped three (3) children and killed two (2) in Kwali Area Council and Yebu village, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja”. According to the petitioners, the kidnappers were carrying heavy weapons when they invaded the communities.
The petitioner also told us how four (4) members of the kidnappers who invaded Kwali in FCT, Yebu and Uja villages were later arrested by the members of Fulani Community and handed over to the Nigerian Army on check point duty at Uja village at night but to the greatest dismayed of the Petitioners the following morning, when they demanded the where about of the suspects, Army told them that they have escaped and ran away from their hands.
As at the time of writing this letter, these criminals are making life unbearable to those Fulani members that refused to comply with the illegal demand of cows made, this is because they can no longer move freely and carry out their legitimate pursuit, but are living perpetually in apprehension of imminent danger of attack from these criminals.
In an effort to bringing the attention of the security agencies on the matter, we wrote to the Inspector General of Police and copied President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Chief of Army Staff, Minister of Police Affairs and AIG Intelligence in expectance of their urgent and decisive interventions.
Worth of note, we are commending the Nigerian Army who was the only government body that responded to our letter with an interest to intervene in the matter and ensure the lives of people in the area are saved. And also to ensure thorough investigation and prosecution of whomever is involved in this criminal, intimidation, and extortion of the common people.
Add to the above scenario, as an organization we received other complains that have to do with kidnappings that needed prompt actions but you will discover that the process is slow and weak. Most recently, we received a complaint on a kidnapping incident along Kaduna-Abuja Express was‘the hoodlums’ kidnapped travelers from Imo state; a family of a father and two children.
The father was later killed but the children were taken to an unknown destination, and the kidnappers communicated to the family in respect to payment of ransom.On receiving this complaint, we wrote to the police and other related agencies. The police headquarters directed Intelligence Response Team (IRT) under Abba Kyari. Unfortunately, investigation revealed that one Mr Ogbonna who happens to be a link of communication with the kidnappers was the informant sabotaging the effort of the police.
Even among the police at Kaduna, we find out that some were encouraging payment of ransom which possibly may have a connection with the evil doers. In situations like this, proper and prompt investigations and actions are necessary and key.
What I am saying in summary is that another way out to curbing Nigeria’s security challenges, is our security apparatus must not neglect any signal of danger before is matured. The must act at when due to every security situation.
Another way out is that our security personals must be given modern equipment and training. You can agree with me that time to time we will hear some soldiers over the news complaining that the insurgents have more modern and sophisticated weapons than they do. If this is true, I assure you it will take us a longer time to be able to curb the current insecurity in whatever forms in Nigeria.
So, if Nigeria is ready to fight insurgency and other security challenges, our gallant personals must be well armed with modern and sophisticated weapons. As I talk about war equipment, what comes next is the welfare of the officers which will go along was in motivating them to do what they has sworn to do.
We are all witness to the effort of the federal government in that regard, but sometimes those things don’t reach to the target people as planned. But with proper supervision, I believe the welfare and other benefits for our officers will reach to them and that will motivate them immensely.