Ekiti: Time to silence the guns (3) By Abiodun KOMOLAFE

(Published in THE NATION on Saturday, February 24, 2024)

As an avowed Federalist, Nigerians expected Tinubu to have sent a Constitution Amendment Bill to the National Assembly with a view to tinkering with dozens of items on the Exclusive List in favour of the devolution of powers, state policing and the like. But it is too early in the day to say that it is too late! Since Ekiti is an APC-controlled state, Oyebanji can lead the process of putting the national government on its toes. The neutrality and/or objectivity of the various arms of the security services and interfaith community will also help tremendously in determining the distance of Nigeria’s road back to Egypt or threshold of informed choices that have in them the capacity to take dear fatherland to the Next Level of her development.

To overcome the distressing curves of insecurity in Nigeria, the government at the centre must embark on ‘the actualization of the eight important priorities in the 2024 budget: security, job creation, poverty reduction, infrastructure development’, etc. Besides, the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) must be alive to its responsibilities. Lest we forget, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) also has important roles to play in selling the Nigeria project to the people, for it’s the belief in her as a nation that can make her work.

For Nigeria to make it intelligencewise, she must be prepared to undo what former President Ibrahim Babangida did to the Nigerian intelligence apparatus immediately he seized power from Buhari in 1985. Granted that Nigeria’s security situation had become a victim of compromise by a bunch of corrupt public officers, the aftereffects of that deliberately devious and particularly unpatriotic act by the ‘evil genius’ did contribute to the intelligence flip-flop in which Nigeria has been conveniently immersed.

A Yoruba adage says: ‘Bí ikú ilé ò pani, t’òde ò leè pani!’ (If the death at home does not kill, the death outside will not). If truth be told, the decline in Nigeria’s security situation also demands internal checks on her security hierarchies and systems. Theories of conspiracy and culpability amongst some of our security officials demand concrete efforts if confidence must be rebuilt in the system. What do I mean? Well, there was a time in Nigeria when getting Lawrence Anini’s criminal syndicate busted could be likened to a camel passing through the eye of a needle, until Etim Inyang, the then Inspector General of Police (IGP) brought a special intelligence to bear on the security architecture of the old Bendel State. Of course, that was the only charm Nigerians needed to demystify Anini’s purported voodoo powers – that they were fake, all fake; and that the notorious Judas in the Force was one officer called George Iyamu.

Some quarters allege corrupt practices along our borders. Well, it is not enough to say that our borders are porous and that arms and ammunition get into the country illegally without taking proactive steps to mitigate the menace. Talking seriously, it’s not in the place of successive governments to transfer their inability to man up and own up to their constitutional responsibility of securing our borders to the hapless citizens. In the spirit of regional security therefore, let the Southwest governors stand together and spearhead the arrest of this madness. For now, let politics be suspended for serious, collective actions. Let them put machineries in place to provide water-tight security at our borders. In close collaboration with the DAWN Commission, let them adopt appropriate operational strategy that’ll put a stop to arms proliferation and bring culprits to justice to serve as a deterrent to others.

Again, this is where determination comes in. This is where sincerity of purpose plays an important role. The Police, Army, Customs, Immigration Service, the Department of State Services (DSS), Banks and other paramilitary organizations must be thoroughly investigated, if we truly want to heal our land of the senseless killings and abductions. Specifically, financial institutions in Nigeria must subscribe to the national salvation machine. For example, if criminals do not have easy ways of lodging and spending their ransom and loot, kidnapping-for-ransom will drastically reduce. But, if one may ask, why can’t our security agencies trace telephone calls and/or movement of money? Well, the simple interpretation is that Nigeria is not yet a state!

On their part, the traditional rulers have been trying in their respective domains but they need to do more. In any case, in a country where a secondary school certificate-wounded Local Government Chairman is more powerful than a first class traditional ruler, there is little room for integrity.

A cross-section of Nigerians held the notion that Buhari gave Boko Haram terrorists an opportunity to officially infiltrate the military through the amnesty or rehabilitation programme. A school of thought also opined that the recruitment of the Civilian Joint Security Task Force, aka Civilian JTF, into the army also looked somehow untidy. For instance, who knows if the so-called repentant terrorists are currently in the army, most probably studying its weaknesses and pivoting its strengths so that when next they strike, it’s gonna be devastating? Besides, while the Civilian JTF is fighting for the same cause as the Federal Army, does it have an ideology similar to that of the military? Isn’t it an ideology which supports decimation based, merely, on differences? If prevention is the best form of protection, the onus is on Tinubu to correct these avoidable anomalies to avert damaging consequences in the future. Recent events in Plateau State have demonstrated that there is no political correctness in an atmosphere of national turmoil.

At a time like this, the collapse of the Civilian JTF into the Hunters Association of Nigeria cannot but be a welcome development. If we truly mean business going forward, all issues relating to night guards and vigilante groups should be handled by this newly-reformed security architecture more so as it will enhance crime detection, crime prevention and prompt response in case of occurrence.

Yours sincerely join other Nigerians in commiserating with the families of Herbert Wigwe and others who lost their lives in a chopper accident recently. May God rest their souls and comfort their families! Nigerians owe Tinubu a debt of gratitude for not only personally signing a condolence message on their behalf but also calling the grieving Wigwe’s parents to “provide them with comforting words.” By so doing, the president has again demonstrated the commendable empathy expected of a statesman and the leader of a nation in trying times. Of course, that’s the Bola Tinubu we knew as Lagos State Governor; and in subsequent years. Indeed, that’s one good reason Nigerians were prepared to die for the ‘Emilokan’ cause during activities leading to February 25, 2023. It can only get better! Although, nobody prays for tragedies, they can’t but play their assigned roles in the life of a nation even as death is a necessary end which must strike in its own time and on its own accord.

To conclude, Sàngó Oba Kòso, Ògèdèʼngbé Agbògungbórò, Fábùnmi Òkè-Ìmèsí, Kúrunmí Ìjàyè, Morèmi Àjàsorò and other ancient Yoruba warriors, the precious land you fought for, and died for is under siege. Yorubaland has become a beautiful metaphor for terrorism and banditry and your people are looking up to those who are providing leadership for succor reassuringly! But isn’t it time we consulted Àràbà Ifayemí Elebuibon to lead the process of invoking your spirits, our forebears? At least, ‘bí iwájú ò bá seé lo, èyìn a seé padà sí (if we can make progress as a people, it is better for us to go back to the drawing board).

May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!

_*Concluded._ 

●ijebujesa@yahoo.co.uk;
●08098614418 – SMS only

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