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May 29 democracy day: Security of the nation!

Jonathan should avoid square pegs in round holes — Dr. Ekhomu

By Emma Nnadozie, Crime Editor
Dr. Onah Ehkomu is the President of Trans-World Security company based in Lagos.  He is also the President of Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operations of Nigeria (ISSON).  His appraisal of the security situation in Nigeria is not only shocking but disturbing.  His analysis is a sad reminder that we have grossly failed to address a very important aspect of our growth as a nation.  Excerpts;

Tomorrow,Nigeria will celebrate another democracy day, how have we faired in terms of security of the nation?
The security score-card is a mixed one.  We have been able to hold the nation together from independence till date.

We have been able to weather the storms, the character of the nation was tested during the western parliamentary crisis, the civil war and then, the various military regimes that came about in the country and now finally, transition to democracy and being able to sustain democracy in this country for about 12 years now.

While there have been success, there have been a lot of failure. On the strategic plain, we have  been able to succeed in terms of keeping the country united, in terms of resolving a lot of problems relating to crime and criminality like the immediate post war period that one saw a lot of armed banditry, that went away, then we had so many cases, we had the case of militancy in the Niger-Delta, and President Yar’Adua in his wisdom was able to resolve that, now we are challenged by the Boko-Haram in the North East.

And in Jos, civil disturbances, so we hope that also will pass, but these various incidents have been a threat to maximum security and personal security to citizens within the catchment areas of these events.

Threats by several ethnic societies in this country.  The security agencies have, over the time, been able to stay on top and contain these acts of criminality.  Where their score-card is bad is with assassination, you know the crimes that requires intelligence to resolve.

There is a third party involved and then perpetrators will usually disguise their crimes and try to make it appear as something else.   The job of the Federal Government of Nigeria is to give everyone his human right.  If any one is killed by a third party or what ever, it is the job of the Federal Government to unravel the authorship of the crime and bring the killer and all his conspirators to book. And ensure that it will not happen again.   That is why that crime has endured so much in this country..

Now lets look at corruption cases, bribery and corruption, we know that the regular security agencies couldn’t deal with bribery and corruption.

So, government changed the presidential task force on financial crime into EFCC in 1999, ok, we find that now what EFCC is doing is kind of putting bandage on a cancerous stuff and to me, that’s another way of accelerating corruption issues and then you know when there is a cancer, you are not able to resolve it, then you put a bandage, you plea- bargain with people and say ok, just agree that you will pay one million or one billion and go.

Look at even here where people have been properly jailed and served their good term in Kirikiri, later they are celebrated as heroes talk more of expunging that record. You know civil disturbance is something that can erupt anywhere in the world, and you must have intelligence accessed out in every community and the government does have it.

Now, I’m hoping that the 2011 general elections that have been adjudged to be free and fair, that these people who were elected, were properly elected to come and do a job here and that in fact, they will do a job. They will come out and give us credible leadership including necessary directives and that’s my hope that with President Goodluck Jonathan glued to his two million votes out there, he will come and exercise the sovereignty that was given to him, exercise the proper authority and sovereignly that was given to him.

People outside this shores, they ponder at what Nigerians could be when Nigeria has reached it’s full potential, but you know some how, we don’t value ourselves and that’s really a shame, that’s why you hear of a lot of young people going to die in the desert where they are trying to get to Libya, where is Libya?, Libya is a bloody desert, and then they are trying to get to Spain, Spain is a poor European country, this is eldorado right here, people who are coming into this country they don’t want to leave.

When diplomats are sent to this country, they resign and stay back and work in Nigeria, they set up businesses here in Nigeria because this is an eldorado. But the security provided by government is for the least among us, it’s not for the generality of the public.

The security agencies, why do you think they have always failed to do what they are supposed to do?

Well, there are several factors, number one, we have the issue of touts politicizing governance in Nigeria, you see there is a realm of politics and there is a realm of governance.

Politics is when you are trying to win political power and that ends when campaign ends and when voting ends, results are declared and all the issues are trashed out. Then governance starts.

But governance is when you deliver on the job that they put you there to do, deliver on your campaign promises and beyond, governance is when you serve people.

Now what has happened is that governance is supposed to ride on the back of competent management, competent executives because it is the executives who will now hire their own people. But what happens in Nigeria is that governance is always seen as a political calculus in the past. I hope it is going to be different come May 29th,because in the past, the people really gave out their mandate, they know how they got their mandate the wuru-wuru way, they just look for the guys who would help them secure that wuru-wuru mandate and repay them by way of appointment which they are not competent to hold.


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