Daily Champion (Lagos)

27 July 2011

Nigeria: Security - Dambazau, Oni, Others Chat Way Forward

Abuja — President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday reiterated that intelligence-based security remains the fulcrum of tackling our national security challenges, even as he explained that the federal government was ready to do whatever needs to be done, within the scope of the rule law to bring about lasting peace in all parts of the country.

Jonathan equally reiterated that his administration remained irrevocably committed to its constitutional role of securing the lives and property of all Nigerians and residents.

Buttressing these points at the two-day National Stakeholders Summit on Security and Public Awareness organized by the Presidential Committee on Public Awareness on Security and Civic Responsibilities (PCPASCR) in Abuja, the President who was represented by the Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Patrick Moro said his administration is committed to the fulfillment of its promises of growing the economy through job creation for the greater benefit of the teeming unemployed youths.

He said: "I however wish to remind Nigerians that security is a shared responsibility. This underscores the importance of identifying and reporting suspicious activity. I therefore urge Nigerians to be vigilant and report suspicious characters to security agencies.

"To facilitate this, the office of the National Security Adviser is working with the Ministry of Communication to make telephone service operators provide toll free emergency lines that are going to be very easy to remember and to be used by the public in case of emergencies".

Jonathan urged the committee to come up with "simple and effective strategies" for raising public awareness on indicators of security threats and "to emphasis the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the appropriate law enforcement agencies," even as he hoped that "the summit will be able to come up with ways of strengthening instructions in civic education by promoting the establishment of curricular requirements".

In his keynote address, Former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Abdurrahman Dambazau called for urgent security sector reform which addresses security problems, stressing that it remained the only way to improving the situation.

He said: "The responsibilities to gather, process, analyze and use relevant information in the form of intelligence is entirely the business of the security and intelligence community.

"This responsibility forms the basis of the government's response to policy matters bordering on security; and where security agencies do not get it right then the government's security policies cannot be right".

He however regretted that intelligence gathering analysis appears to have fallen below expectation, noting that there is "no synergy of efforts within the intelligence community due to unnecessary rivalry to hoard information".

The former army boss said Nigeria cannot discuss security sector reform without mentioning the weakness of criminal justice system made up of police, courts and prison services.

He said: "Presently, our police do not have the required expertise to effectively and timely investigate crimes, while discipline in the force is very low. They lack training; suffer from poor logistics; and their welfare is in jeopardy".

All these deficiencies and negative tendencies of the police force he said, have led to widespread apathy of Nigerian public towards the heavy toll on the daily security of the citizenry.

He said the Nigerian police remained the most critical arm of the criminal justice system, and the public must not lose trust and confidence in them.

Earlier, chairman of PCPASCR, Dr. Abdullateef Adegbite said his committee has developed a road map and action plan which would guide it in the effective discharge of its responsibilities.

The committee chairman said the theme of the summit: "Transformation: The Place of Security and Civic Responsibilities", is part of the activities lined-up by the committee in the discharge of its mandates.

The main objective of the summit Dr. Adegbite said was mainly to raise policy awareness on the need for national security and civic responsibilities for attaining the transformation agenda, identify effective structures and strategies for raising public awareness on national security and civic responsibilities and to also create enabling environment of developing security education and civic responsibilities at all school levels.

The committee was established on March 30 and has the mandate to re-appraise the existing strategies on raising awareness on potential security threats in the country amongst others.

He assured that the committee is determined to carryout its national assignment and called on Nigerians to join hands with the committee in securing the peace and unity of the country.

Other speakers at the opening ceremony include Sultan of Sokoto, Shehu of Borno; Obi of Onitsha, Tor Tiv, Oni of Ife who unanimously called on federal government create enabling environment for the teeming youths as well as creating jobs for them

The traditional rulers all called for peace and unity saying that where there is no peace and unity, development will far from the people.

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