Vanguard (Lagos)

10 December 2012

Nigeria: Newest Security Concerns

WHEN Nigerian security operatives talk, Nigeria's security challenges become more terrifying. We have security agents who do not understand the implications of what they say. The matter is getting out of hand particularly as the highest echelons of the agencies indulge in the practice.

From the army, which easily admits the firing power of terrorists is beyond its arsenals, to the conflicting statements the police make after each bomb blast, Nigerians are befuddled by the utterances of their security agents who continue to spread more fears than the attacks.

Some recent instances illustrate bungling that could be indication of security agencies' poor appreciation of their roles or outright negation of efforts of Nigeria to escape from conspiracies against it, possibly from those who are meant to protect it.

In July, a combined team of the Department of Security Services, DSS, and the police regaled the public with details of its sting operation, in which it claimed Hon. Farouk Lawan, chairman of a House of Representatives committee that investigated malfeasance in fuel subsidies, had received $620,000, the first tranche of $3 million bribe. Lawan, and others, the agencies alleged, collected the money to delist companies the report indicted.

More shocks awaited Nigerians who knew it was the death of a report many hoped would stop the brazen theft of national resources under the watch of officials who are paid to catch thieves. The security agencies did not secure evidence required to prosecute Lawan. They had a successful sting operation, where the suspect was not arrested nor the marked notes, the main evidence, found on him.

The police are still asking Lawan to produce the marked notes they would use in prosecuting him. They are not ashamed of giving sting operation a new meaning.

Only last week, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, stated it was sending its operatives to the ports, in a "covert operation" to stop smuggling. EFCC Chairman Ibrahim Lamorde told the media of the "covert operation."

Why would EFCC be required to crowd the ports which already have Immigrations, Customs, Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, National Food and Drug Administration Control, NAFDAC, SON, Navy, marine police? If EFCC must be at the ports, was Lamorde scaring smugglers away or gleefully putting EFCC operatives at risk?

Two years ago, a senior police officer in the South East, in a statement, advised criminals to leave the zone, or the police would deal with them. Where should they go? Why should the police be in the business of serving criminals notice instead of arresting them?

A good point to commence the war against crimes could be more training for security agents about their utterances.

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