Mr. Olumide Wole -Madariola, a geologist, studied security in Israel where he trained as a security expert.Â Today, he is Chairman\Chief Executive Officer of companies employing over 1500 Nigerians. One of his conglomerates is Fortifiers Protection Services Ltd,Â a security outfit where able Nigerians undergo training as security guards and are later deployed to companies and individuals in the country.Â Â
This Vice- President of Nigerian Shooting Federationhas followed the Niger Delta crisis and the subsequent grant of amnesty to the militants.Â In this interview with Saturday Vanguardâ€™s Albert Akpor, he speaks on the post- amnesty and sundry issues, especially as it pertains to security of life and property in Nigeria.Â Excerpts:
How sincere are the federal government in implementing post- amnesty promises and the ex-militants in their claims to have surrendered their arms?
If I had the opportunity to give an advice to Mr. President on the Niger Delta issue, I will not for once mute the idea of amnesty in the first instance.Â The amnesty thing should have been the last resort when every other moves may have failed, which I vehemently doubt.Â The amnesty we talking about has got to a level now and we should not forget that it has its negative aspect.
And, in a very short period, we will begin to witness what I am talking about.Â In the first instance, I do not see absolute sincerity in the militants surrendering their arms.Â We have read in the papers on issues of arms purchase, there is accusation that some of the arms surrendered were bought during the period of the amnesty to create an illusion that those arms surrendered were the ones used in the creek.
To me, that is a minus to the amnesty issue.Â Â Â We have heard of leaders of these militants going to increase the numbers so that the daily or monthly amount paid to them could double.Â That is another nasty thing that should not have arisen.
It is sheer selfishness.Â Â So, for me, I would say that the issue of putting the militants in camps and paying them money withoutÂ recourse to rapid socio-economic development of the affected areas is a clear case of pampering criminality.Â If government says it is granting them amnesty and rehabilitating them, rehabilitation is not about paying allowances.
Number one,Â there was a reason for the restiveness; that is,Â they were fighting for the people.Â If they were fighting for the people, no doubt, they need to be pacified. But if the real approach was to be made, the actual people that are supposed to be pacified are the people they were fighting for.
If they were genuinely fighting for those people and the government rose up to the challenge and started addressing some of their grievances and the impact is felt at the various communities hitherto neglected,Â that will automatically make them down their arms.Â What I am saying in effect is that there was not supposed to be anything like amnesty.
So, I think the committee set up by government has not finished its duty yet.Â If I were Mr. President, after the amnesty, I will first and foremost carry out an in-depth and discrete investigation on the real source of the arms and ammunition.
We need to know the source (s) of the arms and ascertain whether they were sincere in what they have surrendered; whetherÂ what they surrendered were all they have got.Â Â And if that is correct, now let me ask you a question:Â what are the militants or the ex-militants relying on each time they threaten to renew their offensive?Â Is it that the avenue through which those arms comes into the country has not been blocked yet,Â or is it that they have just surrendered 10 per cent of what they have in the creeks?Â Â Those are the issues that should bother any rational mind.
So, if I were Mr. President, I would do all to ensure that the arms sources are blocked.
Having done that, I would move into the various camps in the creeks and certify that leaders of these ex-militants are actually sincere with their arms surrendering issue.Â Â Then the next immediate thing is to commence rapid development.Â It should not be a question of setting up a committee or relying on a blue print.
However, one commendable thing that needs to be mentioned is the fact that Mr. President,Â either by pressure or wisdom, thought of amnesty.Â It was the best thing to do at the time, even though amnesty was supposed to come last if he had done what he ought to have done in the first instance.
Development was meant to come first.Â We do not need to keep emphasising the fact that these communities have been impoverished by oil exploration and exploitation.Â Why were the boys fighting?Â Neglect!Â After that, it was derivation issue.
All that the government needed to do was to call the leaders of the militants as it were, commence development of the areas. You need not give anybody money.Â Tell JTF to temporarily withdraw and give a time lag within which to prove your developmental efforts. If that does not come to manifestation, then the boys can continue with their madness.Â And if government lives up to its bidding and the boys o not down their arms, then you know that they are up to something else.
Again, there is this element of selfishness on the part of some of the ex-militants because there were those who fought for a just cause.Â And I tell you, some of our South- South governors are already fighting to take control of these ex-militants because of the 2011 elections.Â Now, how do you reconcile this?
What do you say about the general security situation in the country?
To talk about the security situation in the country, we haveÂ to use states like Lagos, Rivers, Delta and even the FCT itself as parameter. From the national point of view, it may not be appropriate to say that we are in an unsecured state. Kidnapping and the rising spate of assassination are not unconnected with the forthcoming 2011 elections.
What we expect is that the security agencies should brace up to the task.Â So, when you want to begin to talk of issues like that,Â you expect a rise on kidnapping and assassination, especially as the 2011 elections draw nearer and nearer.
I wonâ€™t say the internal security arrangement has not failed but I expect a rise in all aspects of criminality, just as I also expect the security agencies to be up to the task.Â Â It isÂ very imperativeÂ for the agencies to put themselves together in preparation for the election.
I would also want to say that the Presidency needs to giveÂ a matching order to all its service chiefs that nothing must happen before 2011. Presently, I would say that the security situation is not as bad as it was before,Â but we should definitely expect a rise in kidnapping and assassination.