Ever since he arrived office, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has been speaking the language of the Federal Government. This way, in regard to security matters, he has managed to avoid making comments that can set him against the current disposition of the government that employs him. His situation has made me to refrain from commenting on him, until his airplane went beyond the runaway a few days ago. Here, I’m helping him to pull his airplane back onto the track. Otherwise, if the state governments to whom he passed the blame for the current state of insecurity get his time and decide to take him on, he’ll have too many hard questions heaped on him than he can answer.
Now there’s a difference between speaking a language, and actually understand the language. For one could hear and speak, and yet miss the nuance. As a non-native speaker one may even fail to understand some words when used as figures of speech. The IGP misses the fundamentals in regard to the current security challenges confronting Nigeria. Nigerians have spoken in their different languages. They see the mess in their localities and they say we cannot continue with the present security arrangement; if we do we dangerously toy with the future of this nation. From his comments, it’s obvious Adamu doesn’t understand what Nigerians say. Maybe he even does, but pretends not to since he mustn’t act contrary to the disposition of his employers. He’s not alone in such playacting. Many state governors behave the same way, even those that belong to the opposition parties, everyone’s eyes being on the political permutations for 2023. Not long ago, some state governors joined the crowd to demand for the sack of the immediate past security chiefs, thereby leaving the substance to chase the shadow. In the event, the perfect condition needed to pressure us to rearrange our security architecture in the face of unprecedented level of acts of criminality was missed.
It’s intriguing that in the months leading to the removal of the immediate past security chiefs, these men were the ones everyone concentrated on. Does removing the claws in the paws of a leopard make it to not be a leopard anymore? How come all of us are missing the point that if the structure isn’t right, those who operate within it can’t do any magic – security chiefs, state governors, as well as the Secretaries to State Governments that Adamu blamed lately for insecurity in their states? These are the same states that don’t have control over the police. I wish the new security chiefs well, but considering the current external factors (inflow of arms from conflict spots in west, central, and north Africa, which the President referred to the other day) combined with internal factors, those who called for the sack of their predecessors will soon start questioning their effectiveness. It’s given, since the operational environment hasn’t changed. Against such a backdrop, Adamu was passing blames, speaking a language many informed Nigerians don’t speak anymore.
We know what we ought to do in this nation, but we like to engage in window dressing. That the FG calls on SSGs to make contribution to the security of the nation is good. But for the IGP to state that the FG has done all it could is untenable. A situation where the FG continues to control the entire policing structure isn’t working, especially with the new challenges that we face. That talk about a community policing that’s presided over by Abuja is field demonstration. In the 1930s, Native Authorities had their security forces, Government had its. The arrangement continued well until 1966 when the men in khaki centralized everything. These days, I hear top Nigerian security officials talking about private security organizations cooperating with the federal police to maintain security. No one talks about allowing the states to maintain their own forces, an arrangement that most federal systems provide for. Meanwhile, state governments are expending billions of naira to provide operational facilities for FG-owned police. Some state governments empower their paramilitary outfits, and when these outfits arrest criminals, Adamu’s men reportedly shot the operatives or even arrested them as has been reported in Oyo State. Will these same paramilitary operatives be encouraged to make their contribution towards curbing insecurity as they might want to? That is the current situation; now Adamu says the FG has strategically done all it should to ensure security.
This cannot be an acceptable submission when the population increases and this isn’t matched by the number of policemen. Majority of them watch over individuals anyway, leaving millions of Nigerians without security. We see them guiding foreigners at road construction sites. We see them guiding politicians, travelling with them everywhere. This is the kind of security architecture we maintain and about which Adamu insists the FG has done all it should. How come security officials don’t consider that, rather than make so many security operatives guard one state official, what we need is a security arrangement which ensures that, within a given radius, no kidnapper, bandit, armed robber, can strike without having the firepower of the state furiously deployed to limit them within that radius and immediately neutralize them. There’s an example in Kaduna State lately. Here, security operatives quickly spread a security blanket, making it impossible for kidnappers to escape with victims. Rapid response on land and in the air which makes it impossible for criminals to escape should work better than making several policemen guard one road construction engineer. Criminals respect nothing but force. In addition to other provisions, the government should by now be deploying so much airpower and firepower such that criminals know they’ll be trapped. It’s what will dissuade them, not the current arrangement that allows kidnappers to travel within our border with more than two hundred kidnapped students. This is an embarrassment to the nation, and we shouldn’t permit it.