Sunday, November 19, 2017 10:43 pm
A roundtable on the menace and security challenge posed by Badoo, a cult gang fingered for indiscriminate killings and terror operations in Ikorodu, has called for increase funding and better training of the Nigerian Police if they are to effectively perform the task of protecting the citizenry. It also wants healthier and more congenial living conditions for the officers and other security forces.
Moderated by Prof Nosa Owens-Ibie, dean, College of Social and Management Sciences, Caleb University, Imota in Ikorodu, the roundtable also asked the government to urgently turn around the economy to provide jobs to the millions of unemployed youths to prevent them from being ready recruits for unscrupulous groups angling to cause mayhem, noting that “an idle hand is the devil’s workshop”.
Organised by the Department of Criminology, Security, Peace and Conflict Studies of the university, participants comprising scholars, community leaders, security officials, students and the media, say the decrepit nature of Police barracks across the country can only breed “animals, despondent and an ill motivated security outfit”.
“The funding of the Police is abysmal. If you go to Police College, Ikeja, the conditions is terrible. We need to improve the conditions in which the Police men and women are trained”, says Mr Laja Martins, community development chairman, Ikorodu North LCDA.
“We seem to blame the Police for any security lapses but we cannot have another Police from heaven taking care of our security. What we have is a reflection of the Nigerian society”, he says.
Also arguing in this vein, Mr Tony Iyare, a communications and development consultant says, “We cannot treat our Police men and women as animals and expect them to properly protect us. The living conditions in Police barracks, is appalling. Their training conditions, is equally pitiable”.
“Each time I walk through Queen’s Barracks, Apapa, the stench oozing from the surroundings is very repulsive and makes me throw up. That place has not seen any meaningful renovation for several years. We can only breed animals in such decrepit conditions”.
“The living conditions in other barracks across the country, is equally awful. It is important we begin a massive campaign to clean up the Police barracks. Even animals live in better and more congenial environment”, says Iyare, a former media adviser to former Edo State Governor, Mr Adams Oshiomhole.
He was however of the view that much of the funds voted for the Police are not filtering down to the rank and file officers but getting stuck at the Inspector General’s office.
This is clearly revealed by the jailing of former IG, Tafa Balogun over the cornering of N5.7 billion and the accusation by Senator Hamman Misau against IG Ibrahim Idris, that he has not accounted for more than N120 billion paid annually to the Police for special security services by corporate entities and banks and some private individuals nor pay this huge sum to the federation account.
Says Iyare, “We need to ensure that what is given to the Police filters down”.
Police Area Commander for Ikorodu, Mr Garuba Ahmed, an assistant commissioner of Police (ACP) who also expresses the view that “funding is extremely very poor”, says, “Poor funding of the Police is hampering its effectiveness. This poor support affects training, logistics, welfare and many other areas”.
Contending that the peculiar terrain of Ikorodu makes it vulnerable to the activities of groups like Badoo, he says, “People just go to virgin lands to put up structures without proper planning. Proper planning will enhance security in this place”.
“The terrain in Ikorodu is very peculiar. It is laden with different water ways and forests which provides easy outlets and hideouts to gangs like Badoo and other undesirable elements”. This according to him also makes it possible for crimes like illegal bunkering, armed robbery (especially bank robbery), kidnapping and land grabbing to fester.
Area Commander for Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Ikorodu, Mrs Olabisi Sowemimo counsels that, “We should stop paying lip service to the funding of security agencies if we want a safe society”. “We may imperil our society and our citizenry if this poor funding continues”, she says.
Brigadier General Charles Adisa Bossman, director, Nigerian Army Archives was also of the view that “Government needs to look critically at the conditions of the security agencies to guarantee their effectiveness”, positing that intelligence gathering is key to checking groups like Badoo. “We all need to contribute to intelligence gathering”, he says.
But Mr Martins Ayankaa Ihembe, a PhD student of the Political Science Department, University of Ibadan who presented the lead paper titled “Security Challenges in Ikorodu”, prefers to put the blame on attendant security lapses that gave way to the wanton killings by the Badoo group on the hierarchy of the Nigerian Police which according to him “is a cesspool of corruption”. “Our Police officers are always cutting deals with undesirable elements”, he alleges.
“I’m a son of a policeman and my father retired as an ACP but I can never join the Police because of the high rate of corruption which is responsible for its poor image and lack of effectiveness”, he says, arguing that “It is important we find a way of improving our economy so that it can provide jobs for the teeming number of unemployed youths roaming around the streets without anything to do”. “If Badoo was offering N250,000 to anyone to join them, why will jobless youths not fall prey to this highly juicy bait?”, he queries.
While responding to recent report that scored the Police very low, ACP Ahmed says, “At one point, the Nigerian Police was scored very high and now very low. Is that different from other sectors of our national life? Out health institutions like the University College Hospital, Ibadan was one of the best in Africa, today, it’s not the same anymore. So we are dealing with a socio malaise which seems to have affected the operations of different sectors of our national life”.
He however thanked the Lagos state government for standing by security agencies. “If you lose your life in an operation, your family will not receive less than N10 million which is appreciable”, he says.
Dr Joshua Kayode Okunade, head of department of Mass Communication says we need to revisit our cultural upbringing and see how our youths can be properly nurtured. “Before the entire society contributed to nurturing our children but now things seem to have departed from that. May be we need to go back to those societal values that ensured that our youths were well brought up”.
While appreciating the participants for their contribution, Vice Chancellor of Caleb University, Prof Ayandiji Daniel Aina explains that the university was trying to create a strategic platform for intelligence and information sharing on security issues in its environment. “What we are doing is strategic communications. We should be seen as the rallying point for security management here. It is important we play that role”, he says.
Dr Joan Ugo Mbagwu, head of department of Criminology, Security, Peace and Conflict Studies who was particularly delighted at the outcome of the roundtable, says “We cannot allow Badoo to hold us to ransom. We need to keep sharing ideas amongst each other on how to check their affront”.