Akinrinade: Buhari Must Change Nigeria’s Security Architecture

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  • Expresses worry over rising violence, despite huge security spending Canvasses state police

Bayo Akinloye

Worried about the incessant killings and rising level of insecurity in Nigeria, a former Chief of Army Staff and member of the defunct National Democratic Coalition, General Alani Akinrinade (retd.), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to change the country’s security architecture to save it from becoming a failed state. Akinrinade made the call in an exclusive interview with THISDAY during the week.

The former army chief’s concerns came on the heels of another outcry by Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State on Friday that he was no longer the chief security officer of his state because he had no control over the security apparatus in the state, where hundreds of people have been killed in recent times by bandits.

Akinrinade said, “There are so many things that bother me even about security. First of all, we are spending so much that our countrymen are not thinking. How much of our resources –human, material and capital – have gone into security and yet, nobody is sure that we have beheaded Boko Haram or that there are no other terror groups springing up. We have all that and then you’re thinking in terms of the lives, money and other things we are losing every day.

“Some of these issues have not been addressed properly. I will like to hear my president say there is no room for anybody – whether you’re herdsmen or farmers – killing one another and that he is going to do something very serious about the issue. He should change the architecture of the security forces – creating state police that will be strong and responsive to the needs and welfare of the people along with laws that will ensure that the state police are not used by some governments to harass their opponents.”

According to him, the establishment of state police will help in resolving the spate of violence in Nigeria. On the fears by some individuals and groups about the possible abuse of the state police, Akinrinade stated, “That is the fear a lot of people are expressing about state police. Community and state policing are key. You can’t take a man from Kebbi, send him to Kaduna for police training and post him to Mushin in Lagos. How effective will he be in that environment considering language and other factors? The security architecture has to change; otherwise, violence will continue to rise with death tolls rising in Zamfara, Kaduna and other states across the country. Are we not ashamed? We can’t continue to stick to a system that has failed us.”

He expressed reservations about the second term ambition of Buhari.

“We are going to elect the same kinds of people and they are going to act exactly the same way as we have been watching for years. We are not going to get anywhere with that reality. We will be faced with one step forward and plenty of reverses. We can’t sustain whatever success we might make. We don’t have a system for sustained development of minds, people, our environment, and values,” Akinrinade said.

The former army chief added, “I cannot see on the horizon anyone that is trusted enough, who has the tenacity, the experience, the strategy, to create a Nigeria of our dream. We don’t need strong men but we need individuals, who can bring people together and think out of the box to create a Nigeria that is cohesive and dynamic. Buhari himself has to be careful, because he had once spoken about the country being ungovernable if he lost the election. Now he won the election and he’s ruling but the country is still ungovernable.”

Akinrinade stated further that he was more concerned about the restructuring of the country than Buhari winning a second term. He explained, “I really don’t care who governs this country as long the country is restructured based on federalism, allowing each state to grow and taking good care of its people. I don’t care if Buhari wants to sleep there (Aso Villa), elected for 12 or 15 years. I don’t know why people have to declare loyalty just like that – he has not finished one term.”