By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN—FORMER Provost Marshal of the Nigerian Army, Brig General Idada Ikponmwen, has faulted the call by some Nigerians for the use of the military to curb the excesses of kidnappers, saying that such a move would not only be unconstitutional but capable of rubbishing the integrity of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
He admonished that rather than pulling out the military for such assignment, the Federal Government should adequately equip the police, National Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, State Security Services, SSS, and indeed all para-military organisations, in order to meet the growing security challenges in the country.
Idada, who spoke to newsmen in Benin City, yesterday, said “I want to sound a warning that in as much as every hand needs to be on deck in fighting insecurity, in improving the level of insecurity in our country, we must not loose sight of our laws, our constitution and what these laws and constitution say. It is very well known even in the military that the military cannot be the first leg in addressing law and order problems under our law.
“The military exist as an extra ordinary organisation to restore law and order in the event of a total break down. Against this back ground, particularly as entrenched in section 217 and section 305, care must be taken not to involve the military in routine law and order maintenance without meeting the expectation of the constitution, because to do so will be an abuse for the military. To do so will promote greater insecurity,” he said.
He added that, “It will be dangerous to rely on the premise that our civil law enforcement agencies have been overwhelmed and they are incapable of providing security for Nigerians. That is a dangerous premise. If only government and other civil security agencies will do their jobs we will not have problems. Are you saying that government cannot provide communication gadgets, weapons, vehicles that security agencies will use to do their job.
“If we have a government that cannot ensure that there is security in this country then we don’t need a government. That is the primary responsibility of government. We do not need to distract the military form their own traditional role because by so doing you are making those civil organizations irrelevant” he stressed.