A Deputy Inspector General (DIG), Police Research and Planning, Leye Oyebade, has assured the people of Edo State that the Force has put in place appropriate logistics to ensure that the upcoming governorship election is free and fair.
He said this on Tuesday, during an interview on Channels TV’s Politics Today.
“The police as an organisation, we have put our house in order, we have done training and retraining of our personnel, we have enough and adequate personnel and appropriate logistics to make this election free, fair, credible and safe,” he said.
After weeks of controversial campaigns and events, the election is set to hold on Saturday with both Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), widely believed to be leading candidates.
This is the first major election organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the COVID-19 era and it is also the first time that a peace accord is being signed ahead of a governorship election.
The National Peace Committee (NPC) headed by former Head of State, General Abdulsalmi Abubakar (rtd), on Tuesday made the contesting political parties to sign the pact in which they were charged to ensure they work for peace and also accept the outcome of the elections.
Both parties beamed with smiles and hugged each other warmly, as they signed the pact, dousing fears of possible violence.
“I think it is a noble gesture,” the DIG said when asked why the signing of a pact had become necessary for a governorship election.
“The content was well-read out to everybody even before the signing and the content is very explicit; talking about the need for peace, the need for maturity and the need for everybody to know that their voices can make or mar the election. So, it’s a lot of innovation, if I would put it that way.”
According to Oyebade, it became necessary because “a lot of people are just getting too agitated and there is no need for that”.
The Nigerian Working Group on Peacebuilding and Governance is asking President Muhammadu Buhari and state governors to commence a dialogue process to address the rising security challenges in the country.
The group said in a statement that Nigerians are suffering from the double menace of insecurity, as well as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their standards of living.
Signees of the statement include a former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, the former Catholic Archbishop of Abuja; John Onaiyekan, and a former Chief of Army Staff, retired general Martin Luther Agwai.
According to the group, “Nigeria, like the rest of the world is battling the coronavirus pandemic. However, citizens in Nigeria are facing double the suffering because they also have to contend with rising insecurity and violence across the country.
“The Nigerian government must immediately address the rising insecurity if it is to succeed in the fight against the pandemic.”
Their position comes on the heels of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s accusation suggesting that the Buhari administration is driving Nigeria into becoming a failed and divided state.
“Today, Nigeria is fast drifting to a failed and badly divided state; economically our country is becoming a basket case and poverty capital of the world, and socially, we are firming up as an unwholesome and insecure country.
“And these manifestations are the products of recent mismanagement of diversity and socio-economic development of our country. Old fault lines that were disappearing have opened up in greater fissures and with drums of hatred, disintegration, and separation and accompanying choruses being heard loud and clear almost everywhere,” Obasanjo stated in a speech titled ‘Moving Nigeria Away from Tipping Over’ at a consultative dialogue attended by various socio-cultural groups in Abuja.
The former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega; and a former Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, have told President Muhammadu Buhari that Nigerians are facing “double suffering” due to insecurity and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The duo also asked President Buhari to urgently tackle the security challenges facing parts of the country even if it means sacking service chiefs.
This was contained in a statement titled, ‘Mr. President, Governors: The Time for Dialogue is NOW’ issued on Sunday.
It was signed by Jega, Onaiyekan, Gen. Martin Agwai, Amb. Fatima Balla, Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim, Mrs. Aisha Muhammed-Oyebode, Dr. Nguyan Feese, Dr. Usman Bugaje and Dr. Chris Kwaja who are all members of the Nigeria Working Group on Peace-building and Governance.
“Nigeria, like the rest of the world is battling the coronavirus pandemic. However, citizens in Nigeria are facing double the suffering because they also have to contend with rising insecurity and violence across the country.
“The Nigerian government must immediately address the rising insecurity, if it is to succeed in the fight against the pandemic. A recent USIP-commissioned survey in Nigeria found new linkages between COVID19, instability, and conflict.
“In particular, the survey found that victims of recent violence are less likely to trust the government’s coronavirus response measures compared to those who have not experienced violence,” the statement partly read.
They also made some recommendations on how the Federal Government could strengthen its efforts to manage the pandemic by addressing the rising insecurity across the country.
The Federal Government will continue to monitor the activities of terrorists online to control radicalisation of Nigerians by terrorist groups and other violent cells, the President has said.
President Muhammadu Buhari explained that this was important following the huge traffic online and growing constraints on physical contacts and movements due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He made the remarks on Wednesday in Abuja, while participating at the AQABA Process virtual meeting in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
“It is important to state that the spread of COVID-19 has led to the movement of activities to cyberspace,” the President was quoted as saying in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.
He added, “Furthermore, lockdown policies and restrictions of movement in affected areas means that people would move their day to day social and business activities to cyberspace.
“This, however, comes with an increase in the risk of individuals being radicalised online.”
Sustaining Human Security
President Buhari said the Federal Government would sustain efforts to make adjustments to new lifestyles and be sensitive to the security underpinnings, as experts try to find vaccines for COVID-19 and a possible acceptable cure.
He noted that Nigeria developed a robust framework led by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to coordinate and oversee the country’s multi-sectoral inter-governmental efforts at containing the spread and mitigating the impact of the pandemic.
“This was done while currently monitoring the effects of the measures and taking steps to mitigate these effects as quickly as possible. This was in a bid to ensure sustained human security across the population.
“Earlier, we had established the National Humanitarian Coordination Committee with the responsibility of providing among others, a national vision for humanitarian actors and settling disputes that may arise from interactions between security services and the humanitarian community.
“This committee was timely as a stop-gap measure in coping with the effects of COVID-19,” the President told the meeting.
An Economic Crisis
He disclosed that the government had also taken measures to tackle the devastation of social and economic dimensions of the pandemic, with a focus on the most vulnerable citizens in the society through the provision of palliatives and other economic stimulus packages.
President Buhari explained that the measures came at a cost, but would be sustained while citing Mali as an example where social and economic challenges took a toll on the government and pushed democracy to a “breaking point.”
“Such a situation could create a vacuum that can be exploited by terrorists and violent extremists,” he said.
The President also informed the gathering of Heads of Governments at the meeting that the security landscape in Nigeria and across West Africa has continued to evolve with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that various systems in society came grinding to a halt as a result of the urgent measures taken to slow down the spread of the disease.
According to him, the measures were taken while being mindful of the toll that the virus has had in the various epicentres across the world where medical structures were strained up to breaking point while dealing with mass casualties as a result of infections from the disease.
“These measures are not without their challenges as livelihood were drastically affected and civic lifestyle is being tested to its limits.
“The whole instruments of government are now mobilised to confront what has now turned both a health emergency and an economic crisis,” President Buhari said.
The Presidency has reacted to the increasing demand for the creation of state police to tackle the several security challenges in the country.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, the Senior Special Assistant to the President of Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, says President Muhammadu Buhari is concerned about the misuse of weapons.
He argued that many states clamouring for the creation of state police in the country are unable to pay workers’ salaries.
“For President Muhammadu Buhari, his concern had always been the spread and the misuse of weapons in the hands of police.
“He said repeatedly that a lot of states that had clamoured for state police have been unable to cope with the salary payments.
“If you hire a community policeman and give him a gun and keep him for five, six months without salary, what do you expect?” the presidential spokesman said.
Shehu explained that the Federal Government had worked to create a framework in order to guide states with effective policing of communities.
The presidential aide noted that the history of community policing goes back to the First Republic, adding that the native authority police was an instrument by the ruling powers.
Speaking further, Shehu maintained that he was not surprised that the regional police was abolished for the creation of national police.
“The history of the state or community police in the country has been well-documented going back to the First Republic.
“It is clear that the native authority police that we had then was merely an instrument for the operation of people that opposed the powers that behold at the native authority or regional level.
“The country’s experience was a hurried one indeed and it is not surprising therefore that regional police were abolished for national police to ensure proper management and control which the police had become subjected to,” he said.
Shehu’s remarks come five days after President Buhari approved N13.3billion for the take-off of Community Policing initiative across the country amid the myriads of security challenges.
In a virtual meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) on August 20, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo disclosed this.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed says the nation needs more weapons and platforms to win the insurgency war.
He disclosed this in Abuja, the nation’s capital during a New Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum on Thursday.
“To fight terrorists we need platforms and weapons,” he said.
Mohammed also asked the international community to support the Federal Government to tackle the numerous security challenges facing the country.
While noting that foreign countries can do better in assisting Nigeria, the Minister pleaded with western powers not to deny the current administration support due to what he describes as unsubstantiated arguments.
“I want to use this opportunity to say that the international community can help us better than they are doing right now.
“When the international community is weighed by unsubstantiated arguments to deny the country of vital platforms and weapons to fight insecurity, you cannot turn round to accuse the country of not fighting terrorism,” he said.
The Minister stood his ground by claiming that “certain world powers have refused to even sell to us certain vital weapons.”
He regretted that the Federal Government is yet to receive some weapons despite paying for them for more than two years.
According to the Minister, “they have not released to us and they even refused to give us spare parts.”
Although he did not name any country, the minister, however, appealed to some advanced nations saying, “They should please help Nigeria to provide us with these sensitive platforms so that we can fight insecurity more effectively.”
“They should not forget that we are fighting a non-conventional war and at the same time, these people have contacts everywhere,” he said.
Mohammed said besides kinetic deployment, the government is equally using a non-kinetic approach to tackle insecurity like the economic and social intervention programmes meant to empower and engage the youths.
The governor, who noted that policing involved carrying the local along, stressed that a situation whereby key decisions are taken from Abuja does not tackle the several security challenges.
When asked for an approach to tackling the threats in the country, he said “the time has come. We cannot continue in the manner at which we are doing and expect to have effective policing of lives and properties.
“You have said I am the Chief Security Officer. But Chief Security Officer that I am subjected to what the Inspector General of Police will direct?” he asked.
Akeredolu’s remarks come hours after he inaugurated the pioneer officers of Ondo State Security network Agency, Amotekun Corps.
The governor who officially set up the corps in Akure, the state capital expressed delight with the performance of the pioneer Amotekun Corps officers who just completed their training.
He, however, asked for more funding from the Federal Government to equip the police, adding that the Amotekun Corps is designed to support the existing security framework in the state.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday met with members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) Security Council and others over the security challenges in the country.
The meeting ended with calls for a joint strategy to bring various conflicts to an end within time limits.
It also agreed that field commanders should take measures to protect civilian communities, as a confidence-building mechanism between the military and those communities.
According to a statement by the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, it is hoped that when the trust that has been lost between both parties is re-established, there will be improved cooperation in intelligence-gathering and sharing.
The meeting also agreed that poverty and youth unemployment are at the root of the security challenges in the country, and need to be addressed with greater vigour by all tiers of government.
It also focused on Nigeria’s security policies and approaches in tackling the internal security challenges with a charge that intelligence-gathering and sharing must be optimised for the nation to secure itself.
Security, Intelligence Chiefs Queried
President Buhari presided over the three-hour meeting attended by the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, as well as the heads of defence, security, and intelligence agencies.
Members of the Security Committee of the NGF, represented by a governor from each of the six geo-political zones, joined the meeting virtually.
In his remarks, the President used the opportunity to dismiss the assumptions that the terrorists in the North East had far more weapons and money than the government.
He stressed that what was left of them were “mere scavengers desperate for food, raiding shops and markets, and killing innocent persons in the process.”
President Buhari was also worried that in spite of the fact that borders with neighbouring countries had been shut, bandits and terrorists continued to have access to small weapons.
“These terrorists are in the localities. How is it that they are not short of small arms?” he was quoted as querying the security and intelligence chiefs.
The President stated, “We have said enough on the need for them to rejig their operations. I am glad that there are better synergy and cooperation which are very important.
“I have directed the service chiefs to meet among themselves in-between the National Security Council meetings. The services have resources; yes, they need more, and mobility, and are doing their best, but there is a need for better gathering and interpretation of intelligence. Our intelligence-gathering must be improved.”
He also informed the governors of the imminent shipment of military weapons and aircraft from Jordan, China, and the United States.
Bailout For Security
President Buhari, however, called for patience on the part of the people, saying it was important that trained fighters and pilots who must first receive appropriate training man the new weapons and aircraft.
He commended the level of support from neighbouring countries in the war against terrorism in the troubled North East.
“They are cooperating with us. On Boko Haram, we are making progress with Benin, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon,” he said while restating that intelligence-gathering must improve to be able to track small arms in the Northwest, North Central and Northeast States.
The President was also satisfied with the level of naval activity in the Gulf of Guinea, using newly-acquired equipment.
But he demanded that hard-to-reach areas of Lake Chad, where Boko Haram terrorists have found new havens, as well as the forests now inhabited by bandits, must be accessed and rid of nefarious elements.
“The Chief of Defence Staff has spoken about their study of the forests and their potential danger to security.
“We must make sure we follow the bandits and terrorists, but there must not be deforestation in view of the climate situation,” President Buhari said.
In their submissions anchored by the NGF Chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, and Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State, the governors highlighted the problems of poverty, unemployment, trust deficit between the military and civilian populations, and the inflow of small arms into the country.
They also noted the problem of coordination among military and security chiefs and played up their own security roles which included the $1 billion they allowed the President to withdraw from the Excess Crude Account for weapons procurement two years ago.
The governors, therefore, urged the President to consider a “bailout” for security for the states in view of the enormity of the resources they now expend in support of the military and the police.
The former Commissioner of Police in Kaduna State, Abbey Agyole, has blamed some of the security challenges on what he describes as poor welfare and inadequate training of security operatives.
Agyole disclosed this on Tuesday during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
He said this has resulted in the poor capacity of the Nigeria Police Force to maintain law and order in the country.
The ex-police boss also called on the Federal Government and state governors to commit resources to equip the military, police, and other security agencies.
“Security is a very expensive project. The state must commit resources to equip the Police Force. For now, our capacity to effectively maintain law and order is diminishing gradually because the training is not there, the welfare is not there,” he said.
When asked if intelligence is being shared among security agencies, the ex-police boss said the agencies work in isolation.
He explained that the military does not share its gathered information with other sister security agencies.
Agyole however called for synergy among the agencies, noting that if there is a harmonious relationship, the security challenges facing the country will be better tackled.
His comments come a day after a criminologist, Professor Etannibi Alemikha disagreed with the governors of the North-East over the deployment of more heavy artillery to the region.
The governors had during a meeting on Sunday at the Borno Government House called on the Federal Government to provide the region with more weapons to tackle terrorism decisively.
But the criminologist explained that for the war against insurgency to be won in the region, security operatives need to have information beforehand on the activities of the Boko Haram terrorists.
The criminologist explained that for the war against insurgency to be won in the region, security operatives need to have information beforehand on the activities of the Boko Haram terrorists.
“From the military or security point of view, what is required is actually not weapons. It is intelligence. At that point, they need to know when insurgents are planning to attack, where they are supposed to be attacking and what is the capacity or force that will be deployed there,” he said.
The former Director of the Department of State Services (DSS), Mr Mike Ejiofor, has reacted to the security challenges in several parts of the country.
Ejiofor who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise said the replacement of the nation’s service chiefs will not address the security concerns.
According to him, the only person authorised to change the service chiefs is President Muhammadu Buhari who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
While admitting that the heads of security and intelligence agencies have done enough in tackling the issues, their best is not yet enough.
“Even if you change the service chiefs now, under the present operating circumstance and environment, there is not going to be any change.
“Our military and security services are ill-equipped; they are understaffed just like any other sector of our polity. With this pandemic coming in, it becomes a problem. But we have to move forward,” he said.
Speaking further, the DSS former boss called for collaboration for the nation to win the war against terrorism, adding that Nigeria alone cannot curb the menace.
He noted that the United States had provided technical support for Nigeria through the delivery of a Tucano plane and military asset, adding that the aircraft will take time before arriving in the country.
Ejiofor called for a complete restructuring not just of the country, but also the nation’s security architecture if the battle against insecurity is to be won.
His remarks come amid calls in some quarters for the resignation or replacement of the service chiefs.
Just recently, the National Assembly passed a vote of no confidence on the heads of security agencies for failing to address the spate of attacks and killings in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the reengineering of the nation’s entire security apparatus.
This is according to the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno.
Mr. Monguno briefed journalists on Tuesday after the third National Security Council meeting in 2020 chaired by President Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The nation’s security adviser called for calm, promising that the President along with the Service Chiefs is doing a lot to handle the insecurity in the northwest and north-central states.
He said that apart from the security situation in the country, the issue of drug addiction and trafficking was addressed at the meeting.
According to him, Nigeria has moved from a transit hub to a drug production centre.
He noted that 17 meth labs were recently shut down in the country and called for a wholesome national approach to stopping the drug menace.
Also during the meeting, the heads of various intelligence briefed on their plans towards ending insecurity in the country.
The NSA further addressed the recent attack on the Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum and his convoy, and the accusations of sabotage in the war on terror by the governor.
Mr. Monguno, expressing his displeasure with the situation, said that governor Zulum will be attending the virtual NGF meeting in a few minutes, and only then can a concise statement on the matter be given.
On the Southern Kaduna Killings, the NSA said it is a political matter and the state governor is doing his best to tackle the situation.
The meeting was attended by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha, and the National Security Adviser, NSA, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd).
Others are the Service Chiefs led by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
Also present were the Inspector General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu, the Director-General of National, Department of State Services, DSS, Yusuf Bichi, the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, NIA, Ahmed Rufa’i, and the Directorate of Military Intelligence.
The Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, was in attendance alongside some ministers, they are the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, the Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammad Dingyadi and the Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada.
Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule has vowed to tackle the security challenges facing the state.
He made this known on Monday while receiving traditional rulers from across the state who came to pay him the traditional Sallah homage, at the Government House in Lafia, the state capital.
Governor Sule explained that already, the state is beginning to enjoy goodwill from across the country as exemplified by the recent listings of Nasarawa State as being among the top four states in the federation to attract investments.