By Dapo Akinrefon
A pro-democracy activist, Mr Razaq Olokoba is the National President, Campaign for Dignity in Governance, CDG. In this interview, he disagreed with Governor Nasir el-Rufai, who was reported to have suggested engagement of foreign mercenary to assist the country to tackle the menace.
Olokoba opined that with correct composition of the security architecture in the country, the activities of criminals would become a thing of the past. Excerpts:
What do you think could be done to effectively tackle the lingering security challenges in the country?
First, without mincing words, I want to make it clear that, weak security institutions are responsible not only for our Security challenges but also for our economic woes and political setback. All what we need do as a serious country is just to create a base for our security institutions and rework the security layers to accommodate a federal layer, State layer and Local layer.
This is the only panacea because there is no way a single layer of security architecture could secure about 250 million Nigerians no matter the training they might have received or the volume bullets and number of guns in their possession.
Do you agree with Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State on his suggestion of hiring mercenaries to assist the country curb the menace?
I am not in support of his suggestion because we have a home based solution to our problem only if we are prepared to utilise it. We don’t need foreign body to intervene in our domestic affairs that are not beyond our capacity to handle.
I have said it severally that, restructuring of our polity that would accommodate State and Local Police is imperative if we are serious about seeing the end to our security problem in this country
I insist that social crisis and political instability would not cease to be recurring decimals in Nigeria unless the agitation for restructuring of the nation’s polity is addressed.
I expressed the conviction that, with the situation of things presently in Nigeria vis a vis the composition of the security apparatus, there is no way disturbing and embarrassing clashes like what happened in Lagos could have occurred if the governors have been constitutionally placed properly in charge of the whole state. It is unthinkable that a police man in Lagos would have to call his boss in faraway Abuja before listening to the man given the mandate by his people to administer on their affairs!
What exactly do you want the authorities to do on the issue under discussion?
It is crystal clear from various developments that there is the need for the authorities to decentralise police structure. I would suggest to all the 36 state governors and other relevant stakeholders across the country to further analyse the gains in various levels of security to President Muhammadu Buhari, a listening leader and father of the nation that imposition of the military structure on the police would not work in a country like Nigeria with her peculiar terrains and ethnic diversities.
This discourse has been long overdue. But doing the right thing now would attest to the saying ‘better late than never’ because the state governors would always be held responsible for funny occurrences that are always their fault.
Against the forgoing, the Nigeria’s Governors’ Forum, as I had said somewhere else, should reach out to Mr President to examine the suggestion about another layer of the country’s security architecture and let him realise the one way police arrangement cannot effectively address the country’s security challenges.
Are you suggesting restructuring of the polity in the country?
Yes of course. I believe that harkening to the voice of wisdom over restructuring of the polity as regards to decentralization of the security institutions in the country would go a long way in addressing the security challenges in the country. And the earlier we do that the better because a stich in time saves nine.
Also there is the fear that, engaging mercenaries could lead to another form of colonization because the mercenaries may refuse to leave after their assignment that may take long to complete. And they may have hatched a plan to take control of our security structure and start to dictate to us what to do and what not to do.