The embarrassing state of the nation’s security formed the kernel of engagement last week between members of the National Assembly, the Service Chiefs and Inspector-General of Police, report
Deji Elumoye and Adedayo Akinwale
Both chambers of the National Assembly, again, last week, devoted a whole day to address the state of insecurity across the length and breadth of the nation. The Assembly had during plenary penultimate Wednesday descended heavily on the security architecture of the country leading to the call by the federal legislators on the service chiefs to resign forthwith due to their inability to solve the security challenges facing the country.
Therefore, last week, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, was at the Red Chamber to honour the invitation extended to him by the Senate and held a four-hour closed-door session with the upper legislative chamber presided over by Senate President and Chairman of the National Assembly, Dr Ahmad Lawan.
At the end of the technical session, the Senate, last Wednesday, resolved to support through legislative action, efforts of Adamu towards tackling rising security challenges facing the country.
Lawan, who summarised the outcome of the session with the Police boss, said the upper chamber listened to the submission of Adamu as regards proliferation of arms and pledged to assist in this regard.
His words: “The IG answered questions bordering on national security and requested for the support of the Senate towards solving the myriad of security problems including the proliferation of arms and we have given him our assurances, which we hope to do through legislative action”.
On his part, the Inspector-General of Police Adamu, told the media after the meeting that he had fruitful discussions with the upper legislative chamber over several security issues including the concept of community policing.
“I appeared before the Senate and briefed them on the concept of community policing. If you can remember, last year, we sensitised the country on the need to adapt community policing in the country and the concept is to give policing back to the community.
“Let the community take the initiative in identifying the problems that are there that can lead to the commission of crime and then we will work with the community to solve the crime. We believe that everybody comes from a community and the community is a community you know who and who is there.
“Taking policing back to the community will help in reducing crime to the barest minimum. So, I have explained the concept of community policing to the Senate, which involves partnership with communities and there are various communities. You can have traditional institutions as a community.
“You can have the National Union of Road Transport Workers as a community. You can have the media as a community and various communities that you can have partnership with. If you are talking about partnership, we are talking about problem solving. We need to solve problems that evolve in the community.
“What we mean here is that we scan the community to find out what are the indices that can lead to the commission of crime or a crime that has been committed already. We analyze the problems and then we look for solutions and the responses that are available then we deploy resources to deal with the problems.
“And then, subsequently, we re-evaluate all our responses to see how we can adjust to solve the problem. And in doing this, we need to capacitate our officers so as to key into the process. This is essentially what I explained to the Senate”.
The Police boss further stressed that, “Security issues are fluid or dynamic. At a stage, where you have a rise in crimes we re-strategise and deal with them and everywhere will be stabilised. And for a period of time, you will see stability in crime situation.
“But at another stage, you will see the criminals re-strategising and coming out to commit crime. What we are saying especially, with the concept of community policing is that fighting crime should not be left to law enforcement agencies alone. It should not be left to security personnel alone.
“Everybody should be involved. What are the things that lead to the commission of crime? Are all issues to be dealt with by security agencies alone? No. There are other arms of government that need to deal with.
“State Governors, Local Government Chairmen should take up their responsibilities. People that are committing these crimes, there are reasons that make them to commit these crimes. If it is lack of employment, if it is lack of education or those issues that will require intervention by the government, the state governor should take responsibility. Local government chairmen should take responsibility. Not that everything will be left to security agencies alone”.
On its part, the House of Representatives which had earlier canvassed the sack of all the service chiefs via a resolution also last week granted audience to the service chiefs and Police IG leading to extensive deliberations on how to address the nation’s mounting security problems.
The House had penultimate week berated the service chiefs for adopting the same strategies that has not yielded any positive result, hence, their inability to end the war against the Boko Haram insurgents and other criminal elements in the country.
The House had made the call following the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance on the “Need to Curb the Incessant Attacks of the Boko Haram Insurgents in the North-East Zone”, moved by the Chief Whip of the House, Hon. Mohammed Mongunu and 14 others.
However, after a closed-door meeting with the Service Chiefs and Adamu, the House beat a retreat, when it said it could only suggest the sacking of the Chiefs, it was left to President Muhammadu Buhari to relief them of their duties.
Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, said at the meeting of the joint House Committees on Defence, Army, Navy and Air Force with the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff and the Chief of Air Staff that Nigerians were on the necks of their representatives over the security situation in the country.
According to him, while the service chiefs might be doing a lot to address the security challenges, the anxiety among Nigerians was enough reason for the military commanders to redouble their efforts, challenging them to take the battle to the criminals.
He stated: “I thought I should be here to encourage everybody that we’re all on the same page. We all know the situation in Nigeria today, we can’t hide from it, we can’t shy away from it; we cannot pretend that it doesn’t exist. We spent practically the whole day on Wednesday, January 29, discussing the security situation in Nigeria as expected. Simultaneously, the Senate was doing the same thing without us comparing notes.
“So, it was a natural reaction to what was going on in the country today. Back home, our constituents are on our necks. People are dying everyday; they are dying callously in ways that you can only find in countries without security forces. But we know that you guys are doing a lot.
“We must think outside the box; we must take the battle to these criminals whatever they are. Like I said at the State House the other day, Nigerians are anxious, but I do understand the limitations of the Armed Forces.
The Speaker, who commended the service chiefs, as well as men and women of the Armed Forces for doing their best and sacrificing their lives for the country, said the House would continue to engage the armed forces to find a lasting solution to the security challenges.
“This is another one of those meetings, engagements, which we said would be continuous. We said it the last time. It’s going to be continuous to find out exactly what’s going on, what the issues are, what the problems are, and hopefully get some commitments from you,” he said.
The Speaker, however, expressed hope that moving forward, things are going to get better, stressing that the the basic issues confronting the armed forces were funding, equipment, and recruitment of personnel.
After the closed-door meeting, Chairman of the House Committee on Defence, Hon. Babajimi Benson, said the lawmakers were able to get firsthand information on what was going on and what the issues are.
“We were to a large extent satisfied with what they said. We are also going to table what they said before parliament. We are going to discuss; we are going to have a very robust discussion on how to assist, to end this war. It is Nigeria that is at work…how to end this at the shortest possible time.
“Military issues are not things we should discuss in public, but they raised a lot of issues that we must all sit down as Nigerians and discuss. One of them is that there is probably an international dimension to what we see. There is ISIS; there is ISWAP. These are things that we need to discuss in a very classified manner. But what we want Nigerians to know is that we are committed to them 100 per cent, to see that we assist the military and the Armed Forced and ensuring that this matter is put to an end within the shortest possible time,” he stated.
With the meetings held with the security goons by the legislative arm last week and assurances given to speed up action on tackling the issue, it is now left to be seen whether there will be marked improvement in the security situation in the country.