BY CLIFFORD NDUJIHE
Hon. Bimbo Daramola, who represents Ekiti North Federal Constituency, Ekiti State in the House of Representatives on the plank of the Action Congress of (ACN) is disturbed by the flickering flames of insecurity in the country and argues that apart from dialogue, the government can tame the menace if it had the will. In this interview, Daramola, who gave reasons he left the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, also averred that state police would help the anti-insecurity crusade. Excerpts:
HIS take on whether or not the Federal Government should dialogue with the Boko Haram sect: One thing we cannot run away from is the fact that there must always be an opportunity to discuss. However, that is not the sole panacea to this trouble. There is a saying that said “cutting off the head is not a cure for headache.” There may be multi-lateral approaches to dealing with this challenge. Let me give you an example, when the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua decided to come up with the Amnesty Programme, did he hold the militants?
What we have in Niger Delta today is the peace of the graveyard. Did you hear how much the Borno State Government will commit to this? N26 billion! If I have N26 billion, I won’t negotiate with anybody. I will smoke them out. Look at what (Governor Rotimi) Amaechi did, he did not negotiate with criminals in Rivers. Amaechi said the gun you have in your possession makes you a criminal but I control the guys who can legitimately use those weapons and that is the difference which means that whatever I do, I have the backing of the law. So, if you walk the street today with weapons that means you are a criminal and I can fix you.
In the days of Abacha, when the militants were giving them problem, the guy in charge of JTF, said they were taught in the Nigerian Army 101 ways of killing people and they demonstrated it by shooting at trees and those trees started going down and he now said, you can imagine what we can do to human beings. If I become the president of this country it won’t take me more than six months to fix this problem. It takes a will to do it. Abuja/Lokoja road is taking 12 years; you don’t need second term to build it. Some of those characters terrorising the country at the end of the day report to people. They have major stakeholders that are backing them up. It takes will to solve this problem.
On how we can tackle insecurity: That was the very first motion of the Seventh Assembly of the House of Representatives and I moved it. I remembered that people were like ‘is this man a ranking member?’ I believe every structure of the authority should live up to expectation and then there are obligations that are expected from us (parliamentarians). We must not leave the Nigerian people with the challenges that we met when we came in. I have also spoken on how to do an assessment of every office holder. My salary is not paid by Guinness, MTN or Globacom. My salary is paid from the common wealth of the Nigerian people. So I must reasonably be able to give an adequate, commensurate return on investment to Nigerians.
And what is the return on investment they expect from us? That will be security, water, all basic infrastructures. If they get anything short of that, we should be sacked. Unfortunately, they are stuck with us for four years, whether we give enough returns or not. My people want me to talk about things that are affecting them and that was why I moved the motion titled “Emerging Threat to Internal Security and the Need to Set Up Department of Homeland Security” I believe that our challenges are not particularly very novel.
There is no novelty around the challenges that we have. There must be novelty in terms of leadership. Not the kind of leadership that we use to have. We must rise up against it. I’m not a security expert but I have looked at the security architecture of Nigeria and it is very defective. There are holes here and there regardless of the fact that we have the DMI, SSS, police, soldiers and all of that. We still have gaps and as long as those gaps are there, criminals will always infiltrate those gaps because when a criminal is ahead of you, he will perpetrate his criminality. The propensity for crime and criminality will continue to be on the rise if we don’t have adequate matching capacity to deal with crime.
On whether creation of state police would help: Though, I agree that management of security has gone beyond direct policing, you can’t beat the power of native intelligence. That was why America created the department of homeland security with other controls like the police, immigration and all of that. For instance, if you come to Ekiti today, I grew up there; I can tell you where you can find criminals. But if you bring somebody from Cross River, Anambra or Enugu to manage the security of the state, he will need the first year to understand the environment.
And then you come up with the point where you can say that for the fact that I know who the bad guys are I can be a step ahead of them. With that alone you have psychologically dealt with the person. You can also go to the parents and say, your son is running foul of the law and I am going to fix him and that makes the people more comfortable to relate with you. But you are drawing a blank if you transfer somebody like me to Maiduguri where I don’t know the terrain. Every criminal wants to enjoy the proceeds of crime. No criminal wants to go into criminality and be shot dead. So if you know their escape routes, you can plug those routes.