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Politics

It’s time for state police to curb rising insecurity –Sagay

What is your take on the renewed call for state police, which its advocates, say will curb rising insecurity in the country?

To be honest, I am puzzled over this because President Bola Tinubu I used to know would have on the first day of his inauguration. Rather than talking about removal of fuel subsidy, he should have said that state police is introduced. The removal of fuel subsidy as he pronounced would have come later after we would have started refining crude oil to get fuel. You see, security is the number one in anything we are doing because without security we cannot be said to be productive. Nobody can go to the farm these days; you cannot go to the factory and you cannot even travel on the road. That is why air travel now is very costly. Imagine N200,000 for a flight to Benin now, whereas if there is security, all the roads would be busy and more people will take to roads to travel. People are afraid of traveling by road these days and it is quite understandable because it is not safe. It is almost suicidal to venture to travel by road now and that has made the cost of flight to be so high. Honestly, I don’t know what the government is doing but what I can see for now is inadequate. Whatever measures they are taking to tackle the situation right now is inadequate and Nigerians seem not to have any iota of trust in the government to protect them. That is too bad right now.

Do you think state police is the answer to the security challenges right now?

We should have had state police long ago and that would be possible if the various federating units are allowed to do what is safer for them. You can see what Amotekun which is not state police and which is not well-equipped is already doing in the SouthWest, particularly in Ondo State. , state police is part of the solution but not the whole solution. There are so many other things. We need to deploy technology in our security. We need to map out a technological approach on how to identify various places where these criminals are through their phone calls, so that we can pin them down and monitor them effectively. We can have some strategic places, where security units would be based, so that there will be no place that is far away from security personnel. Such units may be smaller in groups but they should be spread all over the country and there should be electronic connections among them to schools and households. We should make more use of drones, use of satellites and more use of tracking of movements of people as these are done abroad. These will help in the location of possible settlement of criminals and their movements. Unfortunately, we are not using all these things. We are still relying on the old, primitive and crude methods of security and it is not going to get us anywhere when we have very severe and vicious criminalities on our hand. The criminals are getting sophisticated by the day and they have informants at times. So, the best way to go about tracking them is to deploy technology which will help the state police to achieve results. If we fail to toe this line, it would be a bit hard to arrest the current situation in the country.

Given that the situation looks helpless at the moment; would you say that former President Goodluck Jonathan was right, when he said that Boko Haram terrorists had infiltrated his government?

Honestly, I am not a security person per say, and I cannot say he was right but remember Nigeria is a very complex place. A lot of people have their own private agenda against this country even though they all pretend to be Nigerian citizens. So, you cannot rule out Boko Haram supporters and also the sympathisers of other criminal groups in one government agency or the other. What they intend to achieve by causing confusion, death and misery to their fellow citizens, to be sincere, I don’t know. What they fail to realise is that no one person is safe in their activities, so what they want to achieve through their activities in government, I don’t know. Whether such people are financing the criminals, I don’t know and whatever is their intention as I have said earlier, I don’t know. It is very pathetic to see or even hear of a citizen contributing towards destabilizing the country. If it is true that anyone in government is an accomplice to the criminals, I want President Tinubu to extend his dragnet and ensure thorough intelligence gathering is carried out. But in all these, this is the time for state police because it would go a long way. We should also have a huge electronic introduction in our security architecture. That is very important. Every spot in this country can be monitored by satellite for quick response and that will also mean creating so many security posts within short distances. Such security posts should not be in the barracks alone. It can even be inside bushes and should be manned by well-motivated personnel with sound knowledge of technology as tools for security. Such will be scattered all over the country and they will be connected through prompt signals. As the personnel are moving once there are issues, they are contacting other units and posts within their areas of operations, and who will then respond to give them support. Through this, you won’t give criminals breathing space to even assemble or plan anything.

Would you in support calls for more recruitment into the Nigerian Police given that there is not enough personnel in the force?

I think we need a minimum of about 500,000 policemen given our population and size. Also, we should have more military men. It costs more money but if we don’t make that sacrifice now, we won’t be safe to be more productive and the security situation will affect virtually every other thing in the country. Look at the cost of basic things in the country; look at the cost of food. All these are because people no longer go to their farms. Consequently, very little is being harvested and the little being harvested is shared by over 200 million people. Prices have shot up over three 300 per cent and everything boils down to security. Let me say it that government should not only face security and tackle it, it should do it in such a way that we will know that it is actually deep into it, so that it would not be criticised unfairly. If they are doing it and keeping quiet, they may come under criticisms because we must know that they are doing it. If you look at Nigeria now, everyone is afraid.

What is your take on the claim that even in the face of insufficient police personnel, so many of them are guarding VIPs, leaving the majority of masses vulnerable?

I am a little bit more cautious about this and I will tell you why. As you call them, they are VIPs and they are in the eyes of the people. They are the first to be targeted by the criminals. They are the ones in control of the government and thereby will be the target of those with criminal intentions. You can imagine the impact it would have if a minister or a governor is kidnapped or seized. First, it won’t send the right signal on the country’s abilities to fight crimes. The bulk stops on their table and they bear the blames for any security breach. So, they themselves must be protected for them to even think of ways to enhance security. I think we should not overdue this VIP issues and security but we should continue to look for ways to enhance security. It will be in the interest of the country that those who provide the administrative work to move the country forward are also protected. We should not politicize this. We shouldn’t be too hard on the government on this issue because even with their security, they are still being targeted.

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