Call for Holistic Arms Control, Decentralised Policing Structure

Call for Holistic Arms Control, Decentralised Policing Structure

While advocating for the establishment of an Arms Control Agency to regulate the proliferation of small arms, Chiemelie Ezeobi writes that security chieftain and CEO Badison Security, Mr. Mathew Ibadin of Badison while clamouring for the decentralisation of the present policing structure and returning the police as the nucleus for Internal security has also championed for increased welfare of security personnel 

As Nigeria’s security forces continue to engage kidnappers, bandits, terrorists and other violent criminals in a battle of wits, a security specialist, Badison Security Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Matthew Ibadin has called for the urgent establishment of an Arms Control and Licensing Authority to de-escalate the increasing circulation of small arms and light weapons in the country. 

According to the CEO,  kidnapping of citizens in the last nine years has become the order of the day with an increased frequency and intensity of such abductions across the country in the last two months of December 2023 and January 2024, especially in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

Need for an Arms Control and Licensing Authority

According to him, the federal Government through an Act of the National Assembly should establish an Arms Control and Licensing Authority to be in charge of documenting all illegal arms intercepted by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) or those recovered from unauthorised persons, the army, police and other security agencies.

Clarifying he said all arms collected or seized from criminals should be in the custody of the Arms Control Agency and Authority with a view of ascertaining at any point in time the number of illegal arms recovered from various parts of the country. 

“The Arms Control and Licensing Authority would be saddled with the responsibility of also conducting a total audit of all weapons in the custody of the military, the police and all other arms bearing security agencies on behalf of the government, so as to ensure accountability and global best practices on arms management. It should be headed by a civilian security expert who can carry out due diligence without fear or favour,” he added. 

Returning the Police as the Nucleus for Internal Security 

While commending the various security agencies particularly the military and the police for doing their best, he pointed out that a lot more was expected from them.

Going forward, he suggested that the focus should be on evolving a detailed security architecture with the police being at the nucleus of co-coordinating all anti kidnapping operations in the country.

Clamour for Training, Tech Upgrade

The Badison Security boss also emphasised the need for police personnel across all ranks to continuously engage in training and retraining with a view to technologically upgrade themselves. 

He mentioned the need for the acquisition of tracking equipment and training on the tracking of stolen phones should be made available to the Nigerian police, divisional and outpost personnel and private security companies. 

He also extrapolated on the need for the police to be tech savvy. On this, he said the police should collaborate with cyber security experts, private investigators as it is obtainable all over the world. “A situation whereby kidnappers are asking for ransom to be paid in bitcoin makes the situation so complicated that if they are not trained for it, they can not solve the challenges,” he opined.

Need for Decentralised Policing Structure

He stated that as long as we have this single digit security architecture whereby the police are under the exclusive legislative list, we can never solve the security challenges confronting the nation. The present policing system is reactive instead of being proactive. 

He said: “Therefore, we need to dismantle the present inefficient policing architecture, where it would be expunged from the exclusive legislative list, and moved to the concurrent and residual list enabling state governments to create and manage their own local policing architecture. 

“So we can hold the state government and local government chairmen responsible instead of calling out the federal government for local security affairs.”

On the issue of the existing centralised police structure, Ibadin posited that decentralisation of the existing federal policing structure was long overdue and must be holistically pursued with patriotic vigour in contemporary time. Amotekun, Hisbah, Abube Agu and other state self help will not work unless the police architecture is reformed to operate at state and communal levels.

While rooting for a decentralised police structure which in other words is currently a federal police structure,  Ibadin who did his post-graduate studies at the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Kaduna, stated that the poor remuneration, low training and lack of modern digitised training for the Nigerian police personnel has helped to dampen the morale of the average police officer.

 He further stated that he believes that the Nigerian police despite the unfavourable conditions they have to work with are rated in his own words as the best in the world because they are working without the necessary tools.

He urged the National Assembly to urgently take a  proactive legislative step that would remove policing system from the exclusive list to the concurrent and residual list adding that for effective policy implementation, the state government, local government and communities must take the lead at creating and managing a police system that is fit and customised for their peculiar local needs. 

“While the political class delineated voting to the ward level, the government should also apply this same strategy by giving every ward in the country a functioning police station which is closest to the people. 

“This would curb the crime rate to the minimum because the current policing structure does not allow the people to report crime as at when it happens because the current divisional police headquarter and outposts are far from the people,” he added.

Ibadin further noted that due to a lack of trust in the current policing structure, the people are scared to report criminal issues to the police, because it is not community based policing that protects their interests. Citizens in transit need to reach the police easily in any crime situation.

 “Therefore, operational hubs for police should be established at all the former toll gates and create additional ones across the federation, equipped with sophisticated weapons detection systems because we have a lot of concealed weapons in transit across the country, due to porous border and insecurity in the Sahel region. Furthermore, the state should enact a law that makes it easy for the police to secure a warrant to search any house in their states.”

Boost for Welfare 

To assist in solving the current operational logistic challenge that police often encounter, the security chieftain suggested that all vehicles seized by the EFCC, Customs and even the police should officially be given to the police and must be branded and documented at the zonal police headquarters. 

He also recommended that to address the issue of low morale currently pervasive among police personnel,  a minimum wage of N250,000 should be approved for the police, explaining that such gesture would invariably  attract high quality recruits into the Nigerian Police Force.

License for Private Investigators

As a measure towards finding an all embracing solution to insecurity in the country, he also advised the government to license Private Investigators (PI) as it is obtainable in other parts of the world even as he enjoined them to under-study African nations like Kenya.

“It is instructive to note that it is also in the Police Act that Private Investigators should be licensed to operate. Ibadin also advocated that, responsible citizens should be allowed to bear arms as a first line of defense in our national security architecture.

He said,  “Senior Citizens, Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Executive Directors, Managing Directors, Security Consultants, licensed Private Investigators, senior civil servants and lecturers, local government chairmen, Counselors, captains of industries, traditional rulers, clerics and their security personnel should be profiled and allowed to bear arms. Furthermore, traditional institutions should have a legislative security role to protect their subjects in collaboration with the local police.”

The Badison boss noted that private security outfits in the country should be licensed to carry arms to protect VIPs and to help state governments to secure communities.

He advised that they can also be involved in the fight against banditry and kidnappers since they operate at grass root level. “The Nigerian police has been largely persecuted by the citizens and civil society groups, forgetting that they were created by the law to execute it. 

“Therefore, for us to resolve the prevailing situation in the country we must go back and amend the laws that created the Nigerian Police force. I expect the civil society organisations, Nigerian Bar Association (N.B.A.), the Nigerian Labour Congress (N.L.C.) and her affiliates and student union bodies of tertiary institutions to show more sympathy and support for the police asking the government to better care for the Nigerian police.

“All police personnel should be kitted with ballistic vests and other gadgets that would enable them go after kidnappers in the bushes and flush them out.”

Reforming Criminals 

With respect to the correctional intentions of government for all convicted and imprisoned criminals, Ibadin posited that the Nigerian correctional centers need to be reformed to mitigate the current situation of producing hardened criminals instead of reformed citizens after they come out of the system.

The security chieftain also posited that as a matter of urgency,  President Bola Tinubu should look into the idea behind the military’s recruitment of ‘repented’ Boko Haram elements into the Nigerian armed forces “with a view to ensuring that they do not act as conduits of sabotage”.

He noted the exemplary efforts of some Nigerians towards fighting insecurity in the country and said  that the Lagos Trust Fund and notable Nigerian businessmen like  Mr. Femi Otedola and  Mr. Aliko Dangote should be appreciated for their enormous efforts at supporting the police regularly.

He concluded by expressing his sympathy with the current Inspector General of Police and security chiefs, stating that the police is currently a single digit system security architecture which can not solve the insecurity issues it is facing alone as the system is operated at the federal level omitting the state, the local government and communities because crime is local.

Quote 

He urged the National Assembly to urgently take a  proactive legislative step that would remove policing system from the exclusive list to the concurrent and residual list adding that for effective policy implementation, the state government, local government and communities must take the lead at creating and managing a police system that is fit and customised for their peculiar local needs

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