Benin City — Besides a swarm of heavily armed operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS), the Nigerian Army and Police Force, President Muhammadu Buhari's visit to Jigawa State today will be secured by an additional 2,000 personnel drafted from the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
The large retinue of guards, coming at a time of worrying insecurity in the country, may suggest apprehension in the corridors of power. Personnel from three states of the federation were mustered to arrive at the 2,000-strong force to further beef up the security of the visiting president, leaving those states exposed in the short term.The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has been quoted as saying: "Currently, the Nigeria Police Force is operating at a ratio of one to 600, which is far below the approved United Nations ratio."
According to him, the country would need an additional 155,000 police officers within the next couple of years to meet the UN ratio of 1:400 persons.Putting the shortfall in perspective, Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode once regretted: "We have only just 33,000 policemen in Lagos for a population of over 20 million. And we don't (even) have control over these police officers."
"The Jigawa State command has fully prepared towards the two-day visit of the President. It is deploying about 2,000 special tactical operational squad and intelligence officers drawn from the state command and neighbouring formations in Kano and Bauchi States to assist in the provision of security," said NSCDC spokesman in the state, Adamu Shehu.
He explained that the personnel would be stationed strategically in the places Buhari would visit. Officers would be deployed all over the state for intelligence gathering and reporting, to complement other security agencies, he said.
Urging members of the public to report any suspicious activity to the nearest security formation, Shehu added: "This will give the command an edge in understanding and converting threats where possible. It is on this note that the command enjoins the general public to cooperate with the officers to ensure a smooth and safe stay of the president."
Meanwhile, President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Rev. Felix Omobude, has called on government to end the spate of killings in the country, saying: "It appears the situation is overwhelming to our security forces."He told The Guardian in Benin City at the weekend: "PFN holds the current administration to its campaign promises of change for the better. We call on the president and his government and the ruling party to take a look at the promises made to Nigerians and make every effort to fulfill them."
Omobude said the security challenges in the nation require urgent and proactive solutions. According to him, restructuring is not out of place, "if it will give us a safer, equitable and just society."He also blamed the insurgency in the northeast on lack of formal education. "Education is the easiest way of developing the mind and the society. The insurgency is as a result of the neglect of education, especially in that region over a long time. I believe government should pay more attention to the education of the Nigerian child, no matter where they are. Government has made some efforts, but it should improve on the security situation and encourage parents to send their children to school," he said.
In a related development, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), yesterday, deployed 150 special forces personnel to its newly established 23 Quick Response Wing (QRW) in Nguroje, Sarduana Local Government Council, Taraba State.
The troops are part of an ongoing NAF policy to build a robust military capable of responding effectively to Nigeria's security needs.Other Quick Response Wings in the North Central region are located in Doma, Nasarawa State and Agatu in Benue.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar (represented by the Director of Operations, NAF Headquarters, Napoleon Bali), told the troops in Jalingo before their departure to partner related agencies to support Taraba in containing insecurity.
"Let me use this opportunity to reiterate the need for you to be professional in discharging your duties. You must always abide by the Nigerian Air Force Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement, as well as the Laws of Armed Conflict. I, therefore, urge you to consider it as a rare privilege to be part of the pioneer troops to establish the unit," he added.