A Professor of Criminal Justice System and Penology, Ussiju Medaner, has insisted that the issue of insecurity in Nigeria is being politicised.
He said this when he made an appearance on Channels TV’s Politics Today, in reaction to comments by a former presidential aide, Akin Osuntokun, who believes that the reverse is the case.
“It’s unfortunate, we politicise everything,” he said.
His comments come on the heels of the murder of Funke Olakunrin, a daughter of Afenifere’s National Leader, Reuben Fasoranti – a situation that has sparked outrage from different groups across the country.
One of those include former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who in an open letter to President Buhari, said the killings (which many say have become one too many), can no longer be ignored or treated with nonchalance.
In the letter, he highlighted major steps he believes can be taken to curb the menace – which include collective thinking and dialogue, as well as avoidance of blame games among key stakeholders.
However, in reaction, Medaner said, “to the best of my knowledge, President Olusegun Obasanjo is a member of the Council of States and if really, there is no politicisation of this issue, he would have discussed this issue in the council”.
According to him, during the regime of the former president, in October 2004, there were reports of communal clashes which resulted in the death of over 50,000 people at the time and nothing was done about it.
“When we talk about security, it is everybody’s business. And I think if we can do that, we can help the country and not just trying to be a disinterested but benefitting party in the security situation in the country.
“This is an issue that the world over is facing.
“Let me just refer you to what is happening in Cape Town, just within a month 3,000 people were killed in gun violence.
“What the country is doing is not to go to the media to politicise it. They came together to proffer solution”.
As part of the solutions, he believes the country needs to review its Criminal Justice System.
“Let us discuss how to solve the problem. We need to review our Criminal Justice System. Some of the deterrent measures we are taking do not mean well for us. Let’s us come together, how do we solve the problem. That is the issue,” he said.
A former presidential aide, Akin Osuntokun, has taken a swipe at President Muhammadu Buhari over his comments on those he says are politicising the issue of insecurity in the country.
President Buhari, while receiving the National Executives of the Buhari Campaign Organisation at the State House on Tuesday, had said he was confident that his administration uses all the resources at its disposal to protect the lives of all Nigerians and not just prominent Nigerians.
He, however, stated that those who politicize the isolated incidents of insecurity are not patriotic Nigerians.
Reacting to the comments, Osuntokun who was a guest on Channels TV’s Politics Today, said, “what do you mean by politicising? who is politicising it?”.
“That is his (President Buhari’s) own interpretation according to his own convenience. In any case, if people are commenting on issues, how does that amount to politicisation?
“What of those people who are victims? This type of casual detachment to people is getting out of hand. When he (President Buhari) was attacked some years ago, did people not talk? Did people not raise issues then? Should people not have talked now? Now you want people to be quiet,” he added.
A Professor of Criminal Justice System and Penology, Ussiju Medaner, who was also a guest on the programme, however, disagreed with his opinion, insisting that the issue of insecurity is indeed being politicised.
His comments come on the heels of the murder of Funke Olakunrin, a daughter of Afenifere’s National Leader, Reuben Fasoranti.
She was shot and killed on Friday by suspected herdsmen while traveling along the Benin-Ore Expressway – a situation that has sparked outrage from different groups across the country.
Many have called for tougher measures to be put in place to secure the nation while also asking that the perpetrators must be brought to justice.
One of those making such calls is former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who in an open letter to President Buhari, said the killings (which many say have become one too many), can no longer be ignored or treated with nonchalance.
The former president, however, admitted that the menace requires a joint effort to be tackled as the president cannot do it alone.
Immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan also called on the government to set up a separate agency that will handle the security challenges facing Nigeria.
“But while doing that, one will wonder that a (former) President that has unflinching access to President Buhari who can enter the Villa whenever he wants, he attends Security Council meeting; you will wonder why he has to go through an open letter.”
“This is where the issue of public perception comes in. What is he trying to paint? And there are a lot of issues in that letter,” he added.
Obasanjo had in his letter dated July 15, expressed worry over incessant killings across Nigeria, warning that issue of killings can no longer be ignored or treated with nonchalance.
According to him, it cannot be swept under the carpet or treated with cuddling glove as the nation is tipping towards a dangerous cliff.
But Folayan disagreed with Obasanjo’s position that the President was handling the nation’s security challenges with a cuddling glove.
He insisted that Nigeria has been experiencing insecurity prior to the inception of President Buhari’s government in 2015.
“If you look at those issues which we have read that this issue is being taken with kids gloves, that is not true. The President has done a lot of things,” the APC member insisted.
He added, “And the issue of insecurity in Nigeria is a monumental issue. It is in the issue of history. We have to go back to the memory lane when Obasanjo was the President.”
Folayan admitted that the military has a challenge of paucity of funds and lack of modern equipment to deal with the numerous security threats.
But he maintained that the numerous challenges cannot be fixed by the President in one day.
A former Assistant Director of the Department of State Services (DSS), Dennis Amachree, says now is the right time for the nation’s security challenges to be fixed.
Amachree, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Monday, regretted that insecurity has claimed ‘somebody of significance,’ and called on the Federal Government to urgently address the incessant killings in various parts of the country.
“We are not facing the security problem headlong and I think we should do it now that it has happened to somebody of significant. And of course, this is not kidnapping, this is an assassination that has just taken place looking at all the aspects that have happened in the crime scene.
“It is an assassination and when people start to assassinate, then we are moving into a different chapter of the whole security problem. I can understand kidnapping because they need money.
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, has condemned the recent killings across the country, saying it’s time for the government to rise up to its responsibilities and bring an end to insecurity.
The monarch who spoke to Channels Television on the sideline of an event in Omuo Ekiti on Sunday also objected to some claims that the security situation in the country is exaggerated.
He stressed the need to halt the ugly trend, insisting that the Yoruba people will strongly protect their territory and flush out “external aggressors”.
“We in Yoruba land, we are prepared to defend our environment and send away all the bad residents. We call them men of the underworld because in the past they like to operate in the night but now they even come out during the day,” he said.
“Enough is enough, we’ll come together, make ourselves one, and protect our territory very well, I repeat, very very well.”
In the same tone, a member of the House of Representatives Femi Bamisile, who hosted some stakeholders at the event said: “For us, we are going to secure our own territory without a doubt. We must start from home before we start going out.
This comes on the heels of the death of the Mrs Funke Olakunrin, a daughter of the National Leader of the Pan Yoruba Socio-political group, Afenifere, Reuben Fasoranti.
She was killed while she was travelling along the Benin-Ore Expressway at about 2:00 pm on Friday.
“The error that happened on the issue of the death of Fasoranti’s daughter will never repeat itself again in the south-west and by extension in Nigeria. Mark what I have said and see what we are taking into action,” Bamisile said in reaction.
Another Federal lawmaker, Shina Abiola-Peller believes vigilante groups will help out in the naughty security situation.
“I believe we need the vigilante as a primary source of information for our security system, and I’ll propose a bill towards that effect. We need a database for vigilante in the 8,692 wards in Nigeria.
“They are locals and they know the terrain more,” he said.
The House of Representatives has summoned the Inspector General of Police, the Director General of Department of State Security Services and all service chiefs to provide a concrete solution to the issue of insecurity in Zamfara State.
The House reached the decision following a motion raised by Rep. Bello Shinkafi as a matter of urgent public importance, over the incessant killings, kidnappings and high number of deaths in the state.
The House also urged the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to provide more camps for internally displaced persons as well as relief materials for them, while it asked all security agencies to increase surveillance in all affected areas in the state.
A retired Army Colonel, Tony Nyiam, has decried the level of insecurity in the nation, stressing that the Nigerians are in a war situation.
He stated this on Monday during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, where he regretted that senior military personnel would prefer travelling to Abuja by rail.
“The road between Ibadan and Ife is already ambushed. If the road between Abuja and Kaduna is so bad that Generals are avoiding that road and heading into the train, we are in a serious problem. We are in a war situation,” he said.
He lamented that state governors considered as the Chief Security Officers of their state can barely salvage the situation in the wake of attacks.
“I think the President himself has work to do. And luckily for us, for the first time, he has reflected. He made a statement two days ago which is very welcoming about federalism.
“There is a direct relationship with the what I will call “not fit for people’s constitution” we have now and the recurring national insecurity we are having.
“And I think the President has a duty to do. As much as he is talking about the service chiefs and the police, he himself has to start the constitutional reforms which will be to introduce things like state police. He needs to go further to introduce what we call Homeland Security,” he stated.
Nyiam also called for the introduction of self-defence mechanisms for the citizens to wade off security threats.
A retired Army Captain, Umar Aliyu has decried the deplorable level of insecurity in the nation, saying funds spent in tackling the menace does not reflect the results obtained so far.
Appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, Aliyu called for an urgent action to curb the attacks in recent parts of the country.
“We cannot say in all sincerity that the amount invested in insecurity, the results we see are commensurate with the amount,” he stated.
Aliyu, therefore, called for a pragmatic approach in tackling the security challenges, noting that even if the Federal Government spends more money but does not change its tactics in addressing the situation, it will still persist.
When asked if the security chiefs are to be blamed for the series of attacks ranging from kidnappings to armed banditry to terrorism or herdsmen/farmers conflicts, the Captain advocated their change.
“A security chief is someone who secures you. If your team loses a match, does it matter whether they use a substandard football boot or they didn’t have the right breakfast? The coach will have to go.
“There is responsibility where there is right. When you call a security chief, it gives you a lot of rights. Command and it comes with a lot of responsibility, to blame or for glory. We will have to let you go and get someone else,” he stated.
According to him, Nigeria isn’t the first country to be faced such a myriad of security challenges.
While recalling that Malaysia, China, Israel Sri Lanka once grappled with insecurity, he noted that the country bore fangs in dealing decisively with the threat of insecurity.
Speaking on the efforts made by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, in addressing insecurity, he commended the police chief for smoothening the working relationship with the National Assembly, unlike his predecessor, Ibrahim Idris.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of incompetence in handling the nation’s security challenges.
PDP’s spokesperson Mr. Kassim Afegbua, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari arrived into the country from his ‘private’ visit to the United Kingdom, said the President lacks the capacity to lead Nigeria out of its security crisis.
“The President has no capacity to manage us because he is busy managing himself,” Afegbua.
He accused the Federal Government of not addressing insecurity, claiming that it will be surprising if tomorrow’s headline does not capture any report of killing.
“I think what we have witnessed in the last four years is a replay of crass incompetence in the way and manner that the security of this country is being handled.
“Don’t forget that the Constitution (1999 as amended) states clearly that the primary responsibility of any government, particularly a government that prides itself as an anti-corruption government is the protection of lives and properties.
“And as we speak today, without sounding immodest, you will agree with me that it will be a surprise if tomorrow’s headline says no killing because almost every day when you read the newspaper it is one killing, too many,” he stated.
But reacting to the allegation, Adesina said the security challenges are as old as Nigeria.
He, however, reiterated the President’s commitment to tackle the security challenges effectively.
“The security challenge is almost as old as Nigeria. But we know that it spikes at some time and reduces at some time. We have challenges on our hands in different parts of the country.
“The President had been tackling that even before he travelled. It’s going to be a continuation of what he has been doing.
“Every week, there is a security meeting where the security chiefs and everybody in the security architecture meet with the President and they look at the problem and the steps being taken to solve them,” he stated.
“The thing started from Boko Haram in the northeast, now it is exchanging. Before they were just shooting people, now they are shooting and also receiving the ransom and asking for N50 million, N100 million.
“This N100 million they are given; they are going to buy arms with it. Maybe they are only taking 10 per cent of the money. But the question is which routes are these weapons coming in from?” he asked.
The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), has lamented the level of insecurity in the country, despite the resources invested through security votes.
Head, Media and Public Affairs, NGF, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, said that the idea of state police would help approach the insecurity situation because after such investments to boost security infrastructure, the state police commissioners aren’t answerable to the governors.
The NGF spokesman, who was a guest on Channels TV Sunrise Daily, on Tuesday, expressed that the state governors are frustrated at the security situation.
“A lot of governors are frustrated with the security situations because they have no control over it, in spite of the huge resources that they invest in it.
“The Governors and the kind of support that they provide to the police force that is posted to their state; I always say that one out of four vehicles you see on the road driven by policemen are bought by governors.
“If you look at the money governors put into providing security, and yet they will call at certain times, and the police commissioner is answerable to only two people; the President and the Inspector General of Police when there is an emergency, of course, governors would be frustrated.”
Bello-Barkindo urged people to reduce the criticisms lashed out at governors over accountability.
“A lot of people criticise governors for spending security votes without accountability.
“We have over time, sort to get the idea of state police so that governors would be able to approach certain emergency problem within their states with immediacy, but that has not been possible.”