Proffering Solution to COVID-19 Induced Security Challenges

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The Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria recently held the 29th edition of their annual lecture/award ceremony and it was targeted at proffering solutions to COVID-19 induced security challenges, Chiemelie Ezeobi reports

Recently at Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Ikeja, Lagos, top security practitioners, politicians, business executives, traditional rulers and many others from different walks of life graced the 29th edition of the annual lecture/award ceremony of the Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria (CRAN), which held on Thursday, December 10, 2020.

Prior to the event, the Chairman, CRAN Lecture/Award Organising Committee, Mr. Emmanuel Edom, while stating that the theme “MANAGING COVID-19 INDUCED SECURITY CHALLENGES” was germane, added that over the years, CRAN through its annual lecture has provided the platform for issues of national importance to be discussed and solutions proffered, which has invariably assisted the authorities in taking some policy decisions. This year, he opined the objectives would not be different and it certainly wasn’t.

The lecture was delivered by Mr. Dennis Amachree, a former chieftain of the Department of State Service (DSS) and currently a private security consultant, while the Chairman of the Day was Mr. Bone Chinye Efoziem, the MD of Strict Guards Security.

Like in previous events, this year’s event also featured the recognition and honouring of personalities who distinguished themselves in various sectors of the economy. Among them were personnel of the nation’s security agencies, private security companies, banks, agencies and business organisations.

The Special Guests of Honour were the Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Mohammed Dankyadi;
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; and Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, while the Guests of Honour included Chairman NDLEA, Colonel Mohammed Abdallahi (Rtd); and AIG Zone 2 Command, AIG Ahmed Iliyasu. The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu was the host while the Royal Father of the Day was Oluwo of Iwo Land, Osun State, HRM Oba Abdul-Rasheed Adewale Akanbi, Telu 1.

Presidential Address

In his speech, the National President, Mr. Odita Sunday-Udemaguna said “the association as you may know, has existed for about three decades now and it is expected to outlast its founders. May I now recognise an exceptional retired officer, CP Frank Odita, who urged journalists on crime beat to come together and form the body called CRAN today.

“CRAN is a group of journalists from various print, electronic and online media mandated by their organisation to cover crime, security, safety and allied events within the public and private security space. The crime beat which covers activities in the Police, Immigration Service, Customs, Civil Defence Corp, NDLEA, NAPTIP, Correctional Services, EFCC, DSS and other related agencies of government and the private security sector is a branch of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ).

“CRAN annual lecture/award is the only private sector initiated event where top security chiefs in all the law enforcement agencies are brought under one roof to share ideas. Over the years, our lectures have focused on relevant issues that called for expert discussion and recommendations arising from such, have gone a long way in helping security community in finding solutions to the perceived challenges.

“Besides the annual lecture, the event also is set aside by CRAN to honour dozens of Nigerians’ who have contributed in their modest ways to keep our lives and property safe and secure. Some of them in spite of their selfless commitment to a crime free society may never have had the opportunity of being celebrated by any group if not for the diligent effort of CRAN.

Among those we are to honour today are gallant policemen and women who have distinguished themselves in character and service.”

Lecture
In each series of the award, the lecture series have always stood out and this year was not different. In his lecture, former Assistant Director, Department of State Services (DSS) Mr Dennis Amachree said food scarcity looms if the continuous attacks by Boko Haram members are left unchecked.

Noting that the advent of COVID-19 had heightened insecurity across the land with an escalation in kidnapping, terrorism, highway robbery, banditry, militancy and piracy which had become common place in the country, he said; “The Zabamari massacre in Borno State underlines the state of insecurity in the country which has further disillusioned the citizenry about the safety of their lives and property. This particular massacre has the implications of an impending scarcity of food in the country. This is the plot of the terrorists and it is coming into fruition”.

Amachree further stated that Boko Haram sent out a propaganda, informing villagers that the lockdown was a ploy by government to stop them from following their faith, adding that “this narrative gave Boko Haram leverage to recruit more adherents from the poor and unemployed lot, that are readily available.

“Nigeria has been classified as the third most terrorised country in the world, according to the World Terrorism Index, which is not good as the most populous black nation in the world. This shows that our security and law enforcement agencies are overstretched in their bid to provide security to the citizenry”.

Amachree said the protracted conflict in the North-eastern part of the country continues to devastate the lives of civilians, resulting in a humanitarian crises affecting 7.7 million women, men and children.
He also noted that the separatist movement agitation against the Cameroonian government had also driven more than 300,000 refugees into Nigeria.

“The pandemic has exposed a range of new security challenges in the country. The notable aspect is the level of preparedness that government has made to square off the pandemic. The individual and family unit has been worst hit in trying to understand what COVID-19 is and how to handle it,” he added.

He further stated that the resultant effect of the lockdown caused by the pandemic traumatised citizens which made it easy for them to come to a break point.

“Especially when the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unleashed mayhem on the youth population in the country which led to the EndSars movement.
“Bottled up anger and frustrations generated from the lockdown started the spontaneous protest across parts of the country. The government also quickly reacted by acceding to the foremost demands by scrapping the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS),” he said.

The director, however said that the lessons to note by the government was the need to change the parameters of profiling for criminals and the need for a people oriented policing.

“The need for a better trained anti-terrorist police unit like the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams can not be overemphasised,” he said.

Also, AIG Ahmed Iliyasu, Zone 2 Police Command, Onikan, commended CRAN for hosting such an event that brought together security agencies across cadre to brainstorm to solving security issues posed by the pandemic.

He said: “This is a very serious and challenging issue because it is not only affecting Nigeria but it is affecting the whole world. This is the first type of gathering and it is unprecedented bringing together various security agencies to proceed solutions to tackling insecurity resulting from the pandemic. It has caused a lot of global economic problem with resulting negative fallouts across the globe such as recession, poverty among others.”

Iliyasu, however assured citizens of the country that the police is well committed to ensure protection of lives and properties during the Yuletide in spite of the challenges bedeviling the country, just as he
urged everyone to play their role as a component of the security architecture of the country in ensuring that the security of lives and property is brought to the closest person in the community.

Meanwhile, Mr Sunday Odita, President, CRAN said who described Amachree as an icon in the security corridor whose pedigree as a former top brass in the nation’s secret service is second to none, he noted that “there is no doubt he has done justice to the topic. We hope the communique released at the end of our deliberation will certainly assist securities agencies in their roles as we continue to expect an end to the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Awardees
Some of the awardees include SP Julian Wealth Igbudu who won the Police Award for Gallantry;
SP Bala Elkana, former Lagos State Police Command Public Relations Officer, who won Police Image Maker of the Year 2020; Onadeko Taiwo Olanrewaju of LASTMA who won Dedication to Service Award; Inspector Ibrahim Bawa, Ojo Police Division, who won Police Award For Gallantry and Mrs Funke Adesoji, CEO, REMAX REALTORS, who won Best Realtor in Police Housing.

Others include SP Abdulfatai AbolarinAdigun who won Police Excellence Award in Crime Fighting;
Mr. Festus Amuji Okechukwu who won Award for Philanthropic& Security Conscious Industry; SP Joel Ugowe Igbinazaka for Police Award for Gallantry;

Banks like Zenith Bank won the Most Anti-Fraud Compliant Bank of The Year; Access Bank as
Customer Friendly Bank of the Year, which was received by Head, Media Relations, Mr. Abdul Imoyo and UBA as Most Security Conscious Bank of the Year which was picked up by the Group Head, Media and External Relations, Mr. Ramon Nasir.

CP Hakeem Odumosu, Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Police Command won the Most Committed Crime Fighter 2020; DCP Frank Mba, for
Lifetime Achievement Award in Police Public Relations; Alhaji Hamisu Lawan, Commander, NDLEA FCT Abuja for Most Vibrant Anti-Drug Law Enforcement Commander; Comptroller Olugboyega Peters for Outstanding performance in Anti- smuggling Operations; Baba Taiye Hassan, a Chief Supt. Of Customs (CSC), who won Excellence Award in Public Service.

Dr. Dolapo Fasawe, DG LASEPA won an Excellence Award in Revitalising LASEPA; Bola Ajao of
LASEPA as Proactive Public Affairs Officer of the Year; Tangwa Emmanuel, Deputy Superintendent of Customs (DSC), who won the Excellence Award in Customs Public Relations; ASC11 Okauru Maris Eneyeme who won the Excellence Award in Gallantry and Anti-smuggling; ASC1, Isah Sulaiman who won Excellence Award in Gallantry and Anti-smuggling; and DSC Tolulope Desmond Ogundipe who won Excellence Award in Gallantry and Anti-smuggling.

Other awardees were Mr. Ernest Tomori Akinpelu, who won Excellence Award in Promoting Electronic Security in Nigeria; E And C Logistics who won Most Security Conscious Company of the Year; Mr. Eugene Agha who won Crime Reporter of the Year;
CSP Chike Oti, DPO Satellite who won DPO of the Year; Chief Shamsondeen OlowuBello, Baale Idirogbo, Ibeju-Lekki 1 who won Excellence Award in Humanity/ Community Development; Mr. Achike Bosah who won Award for Loyalty and Service to CRAN; and AIG Ahmed Iliyasu who won Lifetime Award For Excellent Police Service.

DCP Tunji Disu won Best Metropolitan Cop in Nigeria 2020; SP Sunday Ikhayere, won a Merit Award in Effective Policing; Olabinjo Olanrewaju Jamiu won Gallantry Award; ACP Bode Ojajuni won Most Outstanding Area Commander in Nigeria; Chief Patrick Ilo, CEO PETROCAM, Lifetime Achievement Award in Business and Philanthropy; ACP Akinbayo Olasoji, who won Crime Fighter of the Year; Mrs. Adeseye Margaret Abimbola, Head Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service who won Excellence Award in Public Service; Mr. Ogabi Olajide, Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service who won Dedication to Rescue Operations; and Princess Aderonke Ogabi, Neighbourhood Corps, Badagry, who won Dedication to Rescue Operations.

Others are Dr. Jimoh Abiola of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, who won Excellence Award in Public Service; Barr. Awodun Adedayo esq of
Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps who won
Excellence Award in Public Service; High Chief Solomon Ogbonna Augene, President Ohaneze Ndigbo, Lagos State branch who won Security Consciousness and Philanthropy; CSP Oyinpreyebofa Francess who won Merit Award on Humanitarian and Community Service;
Superintendent Route Commander, Mr Michael Jideofor Osuagwu of FRSC who won Outstanding Performance in Traffic and Road Safety;
Route Commander Olabisi Sonusi, Sector public Education Officer of FRSC, who won Merit Award In Road Safety Public Relations; Mr. Ben Okezie, who won Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism;
CP Frank Odita (Retired), who won Lifetime Achievement For Service to Country and CSP Oluwaseyi Olabisi Okuwobi.