Abuja — The common thread from stakeholders in the security services, including former Inspector-General of Police, Gambo Jimeta, at the opening of the Vanguard/Police National Security Summit in Abuja, yesterday, was that the state of insecurity in the country was self-inflicted.
They spoke at the national summit on Security Challenges in Nigeria jointly organised by Vanguard and the Nigeria Police, which commenced in Abuja yesterday.
The self-examination of the state of insecurity in the country, according to several dignitaries, is the culmination of the lack of concern shown the sector by past administrations.
The Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, on his part, asserted that the spate of insecurity could no longer be tolerated as he warned that it posed serious danger to the nation's democracy.
The men and women of the Nigeria Police were, nevertheless hailed for their stellar performance in the face of logistic and bureaucratic challenges with former Inspector General of Police Gambo Jimeta drawing wild applause for his observation that many policemen in the frontline in the battle against terrorism have died unsung.
SECURITY SUMMIT--Representative of the President and Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Capt. Caleb Olubolade, rtd, (3rdl)flanked by the Chairman of the event, Alhaji Gambo Jimeta (2ndl) and the Inspector Genral of Police, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar, while the Interior Minister, Comrade Abba Moro (2ndr); Publisher Vanguard, Mr. Sam Amuka (l) and other dignitaries watch in a group photograph after the official opening of the National Summit on Security Challenges in Nigeria held at the African Hall, International Conference Centre, Abuja, yesterday. Photo: Abayomi Adeshida.
"Some people say that the police is not doing enough, but what can you do more than giving your life?" Gambo asked yesterday.
The summit drew attendance from several sectors of the society including traditional rulers, governors, serving and retired security agents among many others.
The Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade, who represented President Jonathan at the opening ceremony, reiterated that political will being demonstrated by the administration in the fight against terrorism and other forms of criminality will soon start yielding the desired result.
"With sustained fight against terrorism, improved crime investigation and enhanced public order policing which will guarantee the ultimate protection of lives and property and law enforcement in our society its a matter of time for these security challenges to be mitigated".
He continued: "Only recently, the Federal Government did set up a Presidential Committee to re-organize the Nigeria Police force having observed some deficiencies in both capacity building and professionalism.
"A lot of emphasis is now placed on training and re-training, improvement of the sophistication of weaponry and equipment, improved welfare for officers and improvement of the image of the police as perceived by the populace".
Police Academy Kano to award degrees
Among the new emphasis in boosting the capacity of the police, he said, is the adoption of higher standards in both recruitment and promotion of personnel. Besides, the Police Academy in Kano (POLAC), he said, would be converted to a degree awarding institution.
"Our administration is very committed to transforming the Nigeria Police through the reform programme by hinging on training and capacity building, modernization of police institutions, such as converting the POLAC, Wudil Kano to a degree awarding institution similar to the Nigeria Defence Academy as well as entrenchment of discipline in the force.
Commending the Police management team for the renewed commitment and vigour in the discharge of their duties and ensuring internal security which is an essential ingredient for sustainable development, he said: "The Federal Government will continue to support every effort that is being made to professionalize the force and in the provision of welfare".
Lauds role of media
In a pattern that was to follow later in the day, he acknowledged Vanguard's leading role on security issues saying, "the role of the media in overcoming our security challenges is pivotal as various elements of the media are directly responsible for much of the information disseminated to the public".
Former IGP of Police , Jimeta, who chaired the opening ceremony, traced the insecurity situation presently in the land to varied acts of neglect of the issue by administrations after the military government of General Olusegun Obasanjo.
He described the spate of insecurity as self-inflicted, even as he lambasted those he said should know better but had turned demagogues for selfish considerations.
"People who should know, politicians and other leaders open their mouths and talk irresponsibly on this worrying development thereby worsening the situation".
On Boko Haram, kidnapping, militancy
On Boko Haram, kidnapping, resurgence of militancy in some parts of the country, the former IGP said: "Boko Haram and kidnapping emergence is the consequence of bad administration that has permeated our national life for a long time. During the tenure of General Yakubu Gowon, there was peace, when General Obasanjo was military head of state, there was peace but after then things have turned for the worse.
Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar welcoming delegates to the official opening of the National Summit on Security Challenges in Nigeria . Photo : Abayomi Adeshida
"If there is no justice, no respect for lives, if people have no sympathy for their fellow citizens, then things like the insecurity we are facing today are bound to happen. Any incident of murder or crime against our criminal justice system must be punished. We all want a Nigeria that is based on justice. If a man commits murder, people should not bring sentiments of religion or ethnicity as excuses to prevent such person from facing appropriate punishment'
His words: "Our current security situation is self-inflicted. You cannot have a state and fail to provide for the institutions of the state. Security of lives and property is supposed to be the primary function of government. In the past when the nation was calm and all was going well, government was solely responsible for security of lives and property. Other matters of transportation, education, medical responsibilities, sports etc, were left to the local authorities and individuals.
"Then, the military, the Police, Prisons, other security agencies were well equipped and catered for. There was no problem of money. Funding was the key and it was adequate. There were stringent laws and checks that ensured money was utilized for its sole purposes.
"But today, the security agencies are suffering. Neglect brought us where we are today. Priorities are given to wrong projects. Billions and billions are spent on areas that don't benefit or help to put the nation in check. Internally, we are rotten. We cannot boast of an impregnable defence system. Let us put our priorities right".
Emphasizing that there is need to build "an internally robust security system that will stand the test of time and armed forces that is impregnable both within and outside the country", Gambo Jimeta said, 'things are really not right. Things are going wrong. A situation whereby you travel from Lagos to Maiduguri or other parts of the country by road and all you see is a populace encapsulated in poverty, deprivation, hunger written in their faces is trouble waiting to happen'.
Consequently he warned, "Strangulation of aspiration of people by certain organs and functions is such that if nothing is done, there is going to be a big implosion where about 130million Nigerians will go berserk".
Insecurity is fault of the past -- Moro
Minister of Interior, Abba Moro agreed with Jimeta, saying that the present insecurity in the land is a reflection of the failures of the past.
"I do not think it is time for lamentation of the past, I believe that the unfortunate situation we find ourselves is a reflection of the right thing that was left undone.
"This is the right place to begin. We will not go the old way of sound and fury but be practical to bring out views and ideas that will bring great solutions. The state of insecurity we are in today is alarming, the character do not wear religious and ethnic colours and so, those charged with the responsibility of providing security must ensure that they stamp out this menace," he added.
IGP Abubakar in his address, warned that the current security challenges confronting the nation posed threats to the nation's democracy as he observed that they were barriers to the effective delivery of democratic dividends in some parts of the country.
Insecurity, threat to democracy -- IGP
"Security is undoubtedly the foundation on which any society's socio-economic cum political development are built. Insecurity, therefore, is a venomous threat to the wellbeing of the citizens of any nation and a cankerworm that destroys the root that holds the existence of any nation".
Continuing the IG said: "The import of this summit is to harness ideas and strategies on how to combat the current security impasse in the country. I strongly believe that the Nigerian Police is not alone in the dire quest for solutions to the country's security problems which tend to retard democratic dividends in some parts of the country.
"Convening this forum is an avenue for stakeholders to chart the course to the safety and wellbeing of our country and its citizens. Having taken this noble and courageous step, we must all endeavour to put our differences aside and focus on the voyage of championing the protection of the legacies bequeathed by our founding fathers. We have no other country to call our own, beside Nigeria. If the security problems are adequately contained, every other thing will naturally fall into its proper shape".
While pledging that the Police under his leadership shall continue to do its best in providing safe and secured environment to the peoples of the nation, the IG added: "Providing a free society where all those living in the country can conduct their lawful businesses without let or hindrance is the present Police management's dream for the country.
"The driving force of this summit is therefore my strong belief that security is everybody's responsibility. Coming together under the auspices of this national summit will provide the opportunity of working together to fight this security threat. Nigerians across the country will be listening with rapt attention, having high hopes and great expectations of seeing the end of these nightmares.
"They will expect this summit to furnish their government with the much awaited solutions that will end this threat to their peaceful co-existence. At the end of this all important national summit, all stakeholders should hold their heads high for providing posterity, a safe and secure country where peace and justice reign", the IG said.
Cross section of participants at the summit. Photo: Abayomi Adeshida
The Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Arc. Yomi Awoniyi, who represented Governor Idris Wada paid special commendations to the men and women of the Nigeria Police who he claimed had performed well against several constraints.
"Before the unique opportunity of becoming deputy governor, I would regularly bellyache about the ineptitude of the Nigeria Police Force, but now having had the opportunity of attending several security meetings and conferences, I have nothing but the highest regard and respect for the men and women of the Nigeria Police Force."
Dignitaries at the event include: President Goodluck Jonathan, represented by Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade (rtd) Police Affairs Minister; Inspector-General of Police Abubakar Mohammed; Mr. Sam Amuka, Publisher, Vanguard Newspapers; Senator Bala Mohammed, FCTA Minister, represented by Dr. Bashir Mohammed, Director Security Services, FCTA; Comrade Abba Moro, Interior Minister; former IGP Gambo Jimeta; former IGP Mike Okiro; Mr Gbenga Adefaye, General Manager/Editor-in-chief, Vanguard; Arc. Yomi Awoniyi, Deputy Governor Kogi State.
Others are: Ignatius Longjam, Deputy Governor, Plateau State; Navy Cdr Effedua, Provost Marshall, Nigerian Navy; Olusegun Abolarin, representative of Oyo State Governor; Major Tunde Pinos, rtd, Special Adviser, Security to Lagos Governor Babatunde Fashola; CP Olayinka Balogun representative of Ogun State Governor; Aderenle Shinaba, Commissioner of Police, FCT; Professor Itse Sagay, SAN; Prof. W.C. Nwofia, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, Femi Falana, SAN and Air Cdre M.O. Abdullahi.
Air Cdre D.E Abdullahi Rtd.
Barrister Mike Ejiofor
Barrister Okechukwu Okorocha
Comrade Ali Abacha
Dr. Otive Igbuzor
HRH. Alhaji Aliyu Damesi, Royal Palace, South Ibie
DIG Kachi Udeorji
DIG Peter Gana
Dep. H.H Karma
SP Ademola Oguwanojo
CP C. Amajor Onu
AIG S. Arase
AIG Felix Ogbaudu, Rtd
AIG Mike Zuokuna
AIG Hashimu S.
AIG J. Johnson
AIG Aliyu Musa
AIG B.A. Hassan
AIG Ibrahim Abdu
AIG Suleiman A.
AIG M.J. Abubakar
CP S. A Disu-Olajoku
CP Adams Audu
CP M.J. Gana
CP Titi Busa
CP Nasiru Oki
CP Yerima Irimiya F. CSP Emmanuel Asufi
CP Usman Tilli
CP Lawal Tanko
CP Frank Odeta rtd.
CP J. Arebiye
CP S.A. Ogbonna
CP Sylvester A.
CP A.S. Fana
CP Femi Ogunbayode
CP Y.G Ardo
CP M.F Sule
DCP. Makama B.D.
DCP Emmanuel Ojukwu
DCP Yusuf A.
DCP Edet Peter
DCP Ahmed Ibrahim
DCP Alkali B. Usman.
DCP Titus Lamorde
DCP Olusola Amore
DCP Gabriel Achong
DCP Tunde Sobulo
DCP Sani Isyaku
DCP Zakum Ahmed
DCP Habila Joshua
ACP Suleiman Buhari
ACP Sanusi Buba
ACP Chris R.
ACP Joel Aje
ACP A.S. Jajeri
ACP Olumide Kayode
ACP Musa Adze
ACP Abdulkadir Jimoh
ACP Garba M.D
ACP Mohammed Jimoh
ACP Celestine Okoye
ACP Isaac Akinmoyede
ACP Ahmed Azare
ACP Alhassan Mohammed
ACP Shehu Ikara
ACP Alkasim Sanusi
Bishop Israel Odezi
Dr. Clarke Anthony
Elder Mathias Aluya
Rev. Prince Amaga
Mrs Oluremi Mohammed
Mrs Maran Anomuoglowo
Mrs Juliet Rycwewski
Rev. Lucky Manuwa
Salihu Aliyu Gusau
Chief(Mrs) Dans Odet Oviri
Prince Emmanuel Oyibo
Chief Solomon Ogomugo
Chief Potoke Victoria
Dr. Theo Onyuku
Chief P.O. Omololu
Chief Fola Iwataru
Torty Njoku Kalu
Hon. Donjegha Ben
C.E. Ezeilo, National Planning Commission
Dr. Ben Udeze
Amb. Muhammed N.A.
Hon. Douglas Ojobo
Apostle Showewimo Kehinde