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Governors can do more about security

PENDING when leaders of this country will summon the political will to empower the lower tiers of government with the constitutional right to operate their police and security outfits, there is a need for state governors to rise up with greater resolve against insecurity in their various jurisdictions.

While some states may be seen as being more peaceful than the others, there is no state in Nigeria that is not suffering crimes perpetrated by kidnappers, cultists, pirates (in the coastal states), oil bunkerers and pipeline vandals.

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Security personnel apprehend a member of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (a.k.a Shiites), whom they chased from the Federal Secretariat to Olusegun Obasanjo Way, Central Area, during a protest which turned violent in Abuja on Monday (22/7/19). The Shiites are demanding the release of their leader, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, who has been in detention for alleged murder since Dec. 2015.

But the menace of armed herdsmen remains the nation’s greatest threat after the Boko Haram/Islamic State in West Africa Province, ISWAP, Islamist terrorism which still holds the North by the jugular. The herdsmen militias remain the most nationally-widespread agents of terror and criminality.

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In the North West, the “foreign bandits” allegedly brought into the country by evil-minded politicians to fight their enemies but which have turned on the people of Zamfara, Kebbi, Niger and parts of Kaduna and Katsina, have reportedly been offered “amnesty” and huge sums of money in exchange for their cessation of wanton killings, kidnappings and other forms of violent criminality.

We are strongly convinced that the governors can do more to minimise security threats in their states. It is absolutely wrong and dangerous to leave all matters of security at the doorsteps of the Federal Government. The failure of the current security architecture centrally and exclusively anchored by the Federal Government has repeatedly failed to secure Nigerians.

It was for this reason that most state governors, since the days of military rule, started dipping hands in their humongous security votes to purchase a wide array of security equipment for the Police, Army and in some instances, Navy to help in efforts to checkmate activities of criminals within their states.

These include patrol vans, communication gadgets, arms and ammunition, gunboats, bullet-proof vests and special welfare packages for the various special anti-crime squads.

It is difficult to imagine the state our security would have fallen to if the governors had completely allowed the Federal Government to fight insecurity nationwide from Federal budgetary allocations alone.

The logic of the central command of our security architecture can no longer hold water in a modern Nigerian society beset by poverty-related crimes and prowling foreign agents of terror and destabilisation. If it worked during the military era (especially in the 1970s) when life was better and the society had not lost its innocence, it can never work in today’s globalised arena.

Every stakeholder in the system must be allowed to play their respective roles to promote the security of lives and property of everyone irrespective of their stations in life.

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