Ekiti: Time to silence the guns (2)Byabiodun KOMOLAFE

by Adabanija Kamorudeen

(Published in THE NATION on Saturday, February 17, 2024)

Well, much as causation has been attributed to poverty, religious and ethnic extremism and others, it’s time the Federal Government revisited its security architecture and remodeled countermeasure strategies to yield fruitful results. The faithful choice of a good businessman is to recoil his strategies if output isn’t justified by investments and governments across board must get the message right. That the price is rising and that the cost is becoming incalculable is like trying to find the words, especially in a celebratory culture of violence. Therefore, governments at the national and subnational levels must interrogate assumptions on how to build a fertile environment necessary for a kind of serious rethink to stem the incessant increase in this violent crime typology.

Topmost on this is the dismantling of the over-centralized police management system in favour of state or regional units. Predicated upon direct and reliable intelligence apparatus to detect and deter crimes before commission, this will encourage improved policing in the community. There’s also a need for each state or regional government’s collaboration to fashion a results-driven Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in line with expectations, decide its security needs and priorities and act accordingly without relying on some uncomfortable exchanges with an excessively centralized system in Abuja. State security votes from the Federal Government must be augmented to enhance operational efficiency and budgetary allocations and expenditures must be closely monitored to deter misplacement of priorities, inefficiency and corruption. Standards of recruitment into the Force must also be determined by the state or region, not some counterproductive conditions or considerations hiding behind the rubbles of a flawed and obsolete Federal Character Commission. Above all, continuous on-the-job training must be made mandatory to improve performance in line with modern law enforcement agencies’ practices obtainable elsewhere in the world.

In the opinion of Femi Afolabi-Peters, “practical and committed-to-results steps can contrast political considerations and gains but therein lies the solution if only Tinubu possesses the willpower to bell the cat for the national good.” Afolabi-Peters, a United Kingdom-trained international security and intelligence consultant and specialist in clandestine security operations, suggested “the establishment of a special court to fast track – and conclude promptly – cases of apprehended suspects without the customary delays which embolden other would-be kidnappers to engage in the ‘trade’, safe in the knowledge that, while their trial is protracted, justice can be unduly influenced by money and other considerations.” I also share his views. To this end, the National Assembly owes it a duty to as a matter of necessity introduce and fast-track a bill to create and empower a special court to handle and dispense with kidnapping and banditry trials. The Modus Operandi of the court, including but not limited to financial autonomy, sentencing and other statutory powers must be unambiguously stated in the proposed law.

Take it or leave it, without a strong and purposeful political buy-in of the government, the above suggestions would only end up as a pipe dream; and that’s the danger of the moment. In the national interest therefore, Tinubu must be ready to kick some ass and damn the consequences for the collective good. He must be ready to provide a safe and secure Nigerian environment for the citizens to cohabit without fear or trepidation. Inevitably, a secure society will attract foreign direct investments to stimulate the country’s economy which, presently, is in very dire straits! The government must be sincere in this approach to earn the trust of the populace, which is already battered by the shape and size of the economic downturn on everyday living.

For Ekiti, Oyebanji needs to up his game and beef up Amotekun in terms of funding, training and equipment for optimal performance. To achieve this, funding for Amotekun has to be structured and increased, even if it involves putting together a supplementary budget. It may also be done like a Police Security Trust Fund and crowd-funding among the civil and political structures, cooperative societies, Labour and Student Unions. Even farmers should be encouraged to partake of it because it is now in the interest of everybody. Interestingly, the compelling logic of Amotekun is clearer today than it was yesterday. Even the North which once stood vehemently against the idea has now come to terms with the fact that multilevel policing is the only way out.

As things stand, even the blind can see and applaud Oyebanji’s transformation agenda in Ekiti. Personally, I see him as a fresh and credibly courageous voice who has touched every facet of existence and needs in the state. But then, more still needs to be done! For instance, but for former Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, Amotekun wouldn’t have become a reality in the Southwest. The question therefore is: will this dream die with Aketi’s demise? So, the onus lies on Oyebanji to push the parameters of the regional necessity to save lives and property, especially in the two neighbouring states. His security architecture must be based on result-oriented policies and processes enabled by the collaboration between the state-created neighbourhood security outfit and the primary law enforcement responders.

Now that our fate is no longer in the mouth of the oracle but in our hands, the need to invest heavily in intelligence gathering, Information Technology solutions and other covert operations cannot be overstressed. They are the new, 21st-century oracles, and they have been adjudged to work wonders. Undeniably, a country is as secure as the intelligence at her disposal for no national security can grow beyond the intelligence that drives the process. As long as intelligence is left on the shelf, national security will never be achieved. In this wise, let there be professional threat mitigation strategies that can promptly catch terrorists and bandits cold, flat-footed and mostly unexpected, for it is only when Ekiti is turned into a whole territory of peace that Chibok can be prevented from relocating to the state.

I have argued elsewhere that preparations for the next election would always start the day the last election was won and lost. Who knows? The observed insecurity upsurge in Ekiti could be one of the new games by some stubborn pursuers, secret enemies and mountain demons to take trophy photos. After all, anything is possible in politics! What’s more? In every system, like every home, saboteurs abound. It only depends on how the head of household strives to rise above obstacles. For BAO, he needs to act promptly; and, decisively, too! That he is in control of the state’s political formations is not in doubt. So far, so commendable! He has demystified the office of the governor by bringing it down to the people who voted him into power. He also has good intentions for Ekitis and all eyes can see it. But, as 2026 draws nearer, the governor shouldn’t let the security formations of the state slip off his grip and he shouldn’t develop even the slightest enthusiasm for complacency.

In governments and governance, the dynamics of the street counts and the spiritual symbolism of the reach of the real guys also matters. Beyond the sensationalism in the face, the interests of the inner core, aka core of the core, always go a long way in determining the scope of the responsibilities inherent in governance. So, if Oyebanji can unwaveringly be in love with the street, not just in the local but also in the national and international contexts, the roads will respect him, Ekiti State will dance to his sound and Nigeria will obey him!

By the way, who says that Ekiti cannot happen to Nigeria again? Who says that Nigeria can’t be a fertile ground for some “senseless” and “soulless murderers” to trouble the destiny of our sacred institutions again? In all, how critical are the ingredients of peace in the Sahel to the broth of a perfect and lasting peace in Nigeria?

●To be concluded.

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