Tuesday, September 3, 2019 1:29 pm
It was a call of dignitaries at the International Conference Centre, ICC, University of Ibadan, UI, venue of the South West Geopolitical Zone Security Summit convened by Inspector General of Police, IGP Mohammed A. Adamu, on Monday September 2, 2019, as governors in the South West led the members of their cabinets to discuss myriad of security challenges including kidnapping, armed robbery, cultists’ attacks and generally acts of terrorism facing the region. Also in attendance to proffer practical solution to insecurity in the region were other ethnic nationals, security experts, royal fathers, concerned individuals and major stakeholders.
In his address, IGP Adamu set the tone for the summit when he noted that the meeting was organised to further the force’s community policing agenda, which emphasizes citizens’ engagement in the process of identifying, dissenting and priorizing threats to communal values, partnering to develop strategies to address the threats, and building trust to undertake actions directed at mitigating them. He pointed out that the summit was the second in the series of the geopolitical security being facilitated by the Nigeria police, adding that the first was held in Katsina with the governors and strategic stakeholders in the North West geopolitical zone on Thursday August 1, 2019
Promising that similar engagement would be held in the remaining geopolitical zones, Adamu said that during the first security summit, issues touching on banditry, kidnapping and sundry violent crimes were discussed, opinions aggregated, and new anti-crime pathways jointly evolved. “I am delighted to note that the strategies jointly developed between the strategic community actors and the police, which are currently being implemented, have been effective in addressing the identified security threats in the geopolitical zone. This is evidenced by the fact that since the meeting, the rate of these crimes has not only dropped drastically, several bandits have voluntary renounced crime, submitted their weapons and released several victims that had hitherto been kidnapped and held in their camps across the zone. A more significant outcome of the initiative is the enhanced trust between the communities and the police and a renewed determination to embrace the police as ‘their police’ who are committed to serving them. In consequence, there has been a remarkable increase in the volume and quality of pieces of information shared by the citizens across the North West geopolitical zone with the local police and these are being optimally utilized to take the anti-crime war to the door steps of the criminals with resounding success”.
The police chief noted that from the first summit, the police force has found out that the nation could not proceed on an anti-crime war against criminal elements that are united in their determination to threaten the nation’s common values with a divided front. “Hence, we must as a strategy, strengthen partnership among ourselves as a community on the one hand, and between the communities and the police on the other hand. The strength of this partnership and the commitment of all actors within the process will undoubtedly, influence the extent of success we can record against the criminals. Secondly, it underscores the strategic importance of community policing as the most potent strategy for internal security governance”, he explained.
Adamu further explained that as attractive as the concepts of intelligence-led policing or technology-driven policing could be, the reality remains that no police agency either in the advanced or developing climes could succeed in its mandate without the consent, support and trust of the citizens they are engaged to serve and protect regardless of how well equipped, trained or motivated they may be. “The point being emphasise is that police legitimacy draws from public consent and trust, and lack of effective partnership between the police and the public can only sustain ineffective policing and engender insecurity within the community”, he added.
He highlighted the aim of the summit to include advancing the principles of community policing in engaging the citizens towards x-raying the dynamics of crime in the South West geopolitical zone, drawing on the rich experiences and wisdom of traditional rulers and all citizens across the zone, and galvanizing the communities to march hand-in-hand with the police in reviewing their strategies and jointly evolving new pathways and actions towards restoring security order across the communities.
Admitting that cases of kidnapping and armed robbery in the South West, particularly, along Benin-Ore-Lagos Highway and across Ondo State calls for concern, he pointed out, “The reality is that the current concerted operations of the police and other security agencies across the country, particularly, along the Niger-Kogi-FCT-Kaduna-Kastina and Zamfara areas have engendered a dispersal and relocation of some of the criminals to new localities including the South West.
He stated that efforts were geared towards addressing the insecurity challenges in the nation revealing, “Between January–August 2019, a total of 552 murder suspects were arrested with 66 such arrests effected in the South West. Similarly, 2,015 armed robbery suspects were arrested with 363 of the figure arrested in the South West, while 1,154 kidnapping suspects were also apprehended in various operations. 147 of these were arrested in the South West. Furthermore, 1,183 suspected cultists have also been arrested with 425 of this figure apprehended in the South Western States. In relation to recoveries, 1,356 firearms of various caliber and descriptions were recovered in various intelligence-led operations by the police with 277 of such recoveries made in the South Western part of the country. Similarly, 21,300 ammunition of various descriptions and caliber were recovered in various intelligence-led operations with the highest number of 5,270 ammunition recovered from criminal syndicates in the South West including about 2,700 ammunition recovered in June, 2019 from a cross-border arms smuggling syndicate in Oyo State. Furthermore, 1,541 stolen vehicles were recovered with 482 of such recoveries achieved in the South West while a total of 837 kidnapping victim were rescued with 106 of such rescues achieved in the South West”.
He said the reason behind rolling out the statistical data is to show that the Nigeria police, in recent months, have developed capacity and demonstrated the requisite professional zeal to prevent crime as well as responding effectively to any crime situation or threat with a view to locating and apprehending the criminal elements and disrupting their criminal enterprises across the country.
Adamu said that with the success recorded in using ‘Operation Puff Adder’ as an operational vehicle to stabilize the public security space and the intention to expand and strengthening it, the next phase is to launch community policing strategy. “Within this perspective and in relation to the South West Geopolitical Zone, we shall soon relaunch the ‘Safer Highway’ Motorised Patrol Scheme as well as the ‘Safer City’ Scheme. We have since purchased new fleet of patrol vans to be deployed across our highways and cities. This will also involve the deployment of cutting-edge CCTV technology for surveillance functions across the highways and vulnerable locations in our communities in the zone and other parts of the country. In addition, a special operation is underway across the South West geopolitical zones. The operation will specifically address the threat of kidnapping and armed robbery on the highways and other locations. I am in this summit with the commissioner of police who will command the special operation to complement the efforts of the police commissioners in the states within the zone”, he disclosed.
He stated, “Furthermore, in order to give full effect to our community policing vision as a pathway towards bridging security gaps, we shall soon commence the implementation of the strategy in the South West and other parts of the country. Hopefully, the breakdown of the community policing deployment plan will cover the recruitment of a total 40,000 community police officers, CPOs, across the country. The CPOs will be recruited from within the communities where the prospective applicants reside and an average of 50 CPOs are to be engaged in each of the 774 local government areas. In addition, 1, 300 CPOs will be drawn from professional bodies like the academics, Road Transport Unions, artisans, traders’ associations, religious bodies, women unions, and youth organisations among others in order to ensure diverse representation”.
He said that the CPOs would be deployed to complement the police in law enforcement functions within their localities by performing low-risk and non-sensitive policing functions as well as acting as liaisons between the police and their communities. “This policing architecture will free-up conventional police personnel that hitherto perform such functions and enhance our manpower profile in relation to deployment to frontline, operational duties in the South West and across the country. When fully implemented, the community policing strategy will bridge the gap between the police and the citizens in a manner that will enhance optimal, cost-effective and sustainable law enforcement service delivery by the police”, he added.
He, however, appealed that the situation should not be analysed from a pedantic, narrow and sentimental perspective saying, “We should avoid ethnic profiling and colouration of the situation as crime is not defined by ethnic background but by individual’s disposition and intents. Hence, we should appreciate that a crime is a threat to all groups and could be perpetrated by any individual or group. The key factor is that we should, as a people, be determined to build a consensus and partner in condemning any act of criminality and resolving to work with the police towards identifying, isolating and bringing the criminal elements within our communities to deserved justice regardless of their status, background, creed or gender. Doing otherwise will present a faulty and prejudiced foundation for us in correctly dissecting the trend and in evolving appropriate mitigating strategy”.
Speaking earlier, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State in his welcome address pointed out that as a result of the deteriorating state of security in the South West, and the country, on June 25, 2019, the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria, DAWN Commission, held a similar summit, with the representative of the IGP in attendance.
He said, “It was a consensus that measures to be put in place to address insecurity in the geopolitical zone should be based on a regional approach. In furtherance of this noble and lofty ideal, a holistic framework for security of the South West is being put up by the DAWN Commission”.
Makinde stated that in the next few days, the state would unveil a security roadmap, focused on improvement on security infrastructure, awakening the security consciousness of the people, encouraging robust partnership of non-state actors, such as the traditional institutions, volunteers, and other well-meaning residents of the state, application of technology in fighting crimes and criminalities, collaboration with Development Partners, especially in the areas of capacity building for the Security personnel and others, promotion of effective synergy amongst Security Agencies deployed to the state, ensuring effective oversight of the Security Agencies to curb excesses, especially in the areas of corruption and trampling on the fundamental rights of the people, ensuring the judicious use of assets of the State assigned to the Security Agencies, and ensuring the sustenance of the afore-mentioned measures, as well as periodic review of the measures to meet the dynamic nature of the society.
According to him, the overall objective of the state’s intervention is to ensure safety and security of the people, reduce the fear of crimes, as well as ensure that all residents of the state, and investors could go about their lawful endeavour without fear or hindrance.
He said, “We are not oblivious of our obligations under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”. We consider this sacrosanct. Let me, therefore, state categorically, that we will do whatever is necessary to protect the lives and properties of our people in Oyo State within the ambits of the law”.
Pointing out that the region would support the federal government in securing the nation, Makinde concluded, “We are committed to a safe and secured South West, and Nigeria at large”.
Speaking one after the other, the other governors in the South West, though they pledged their support to the federal government, stated that they stand by the security arrangements of the region being spearheaded by DAWN.
The Chairman of Governors Forum, South West, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, who was represented by his Deputy, Agboola Ajayi, said, “We key into the IGP mission and on the same page on security, we stand on security agenda by DAWN”. He demanded that the IGP and his team should fish out the killers of Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, the daughter of Pa Reuben Fasoranti.
Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, who was represented by his Deputy, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, commended IGP Adamu for his efforts to stem criminal activities in the South West adding, “The leaders of the South West have met and agreed on what to do. Security is very important. Without good security, we are not safe and foreign investors cannot come and invest in our country. Our children abroad are scared to come home. We must come together to solve this problem. All the governors in the South West have bought vehicles for security. We are awaiting the commissioning of the vehicles”.
Stressing that vagabonds and criminals should be driven out of the South West, he urged the government to involve the traditional rulers in the security of the region, urging the police authority to ensure that policemen deployed to the roads are made to patrol the highways effectively, condemning policemen for extortion on the roads.
Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, commended the police authority for its prompt response when necessary, which has helped to prevent the nation from being dragged into the state of anarchy. “We have met in the South West and we will adopt the resolution agreed on. We will adopt the regional security architecture that we have agreed to”.
Lamenting that banditry from Zamfara State and neighbouring countries like Niger Republic and Cameroon have found their way into the South West, Oyetola enjoined the police authority to recruit indigenes for community policing.
Also, Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, who was represented by his Deputy Governor, Mrs. Noimot Salako-Oyedele, stressed the importance of regional security saying, “Regional security is very good because we are responsible for our citizens and this is why all governors came together under DAWN to agree on a way to tackle security challenges in the region. Our security challenge is peculiar because we bordered with Lagos and international boundaries. We have internal problem. Criminals run away to Lagos and they also take international route to escape. We want to develop sophisticated communication to be able to relate with the police. Kidnappers will begin to face death penalty in Ogun State. We will also seize houses where we find criminals. With the introduction of community policing, South West will be safer”.
Lagos State Governor, Jide Sanwo-Olu represented by his Deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat advocated for the use of technology in detecting crime as well as apprehending criminals, pointing out that Lagos State has 900 surveillance cameras. He added, “Lagos is in full support of security architecture of DAWN. It is the only way we can serve our people right”.
Some of the traditional rulers present also shared their views on the security of the region. The Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, who spoke through Otun Olubadan of Ibadan land, Lekan Balogun, said that if not the summit that change his mind, he is of a strong opinion that the nation should break up. “I thought federal government and police are not concerned about us. I have always believed in Pan Africa but in the last six months, my mind has changed. I believe in the unity of Nigeria but after the killing of the daughter of the leader of Afenifere, I feel that everybody should go his or her ways. This summit has changed me. May God keep Nigeria as one. The traditional rulers will do everything to assist you”.
Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, who spoke in Yoruba Language, lauded the region’s governors for steps taken so far to secure the region, stressing that security is very important. He added, “Buhari is trying but I appeal that he should do more. Security brings development. The South West should be well manned by the police. Our people are now scared. Our people abroad are scared to come home. The police should protect us from killers and kidnappers. People are now living in fear and investors do not want to come to Nigeria any longer because the nation is not safe”.
Oba Ogunwusi, who commended Governor Makinde for his efforts to make the region great, appealed to all governors and politicians in the region not to mix governance and security with politics saying, “when it comes to the development of our region, come together and do your best without bringing in political affiliation. The interest of our region should supersede other interest”.
Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, urged that a security committee be set up for the region adding that the committee should include Yinka Odumakin, Iba Gani Adams adding, “All of you should come to my palace, I will tell you what to do. Please, IGP, tell President Muhammed Buhari what it is required to run community policing. Those that you will use for the community policing are hungry, therefore create jobs for them. All the forest must be cleared. On the expressways, clear both side by 10 metres. I appeal to the IGP to ensure that those that killed three policemen recently should be apprehended and brought to book. Send your men to the prison and tell them that if they extort, they will spend five years there. Buhari should vote huge amount of money to the security. There is no patriotism on empty stomach”.
Olugbo of Ugbo Kingdom in Ondo State, Oba Fredrick Obateru Akinruntan, while commending Governor Makinde for governing Oyo State well, he condemned the former governors of the region for been lackadaisical about good governance. He said, “I suggest that if you cannot hold this kind of a meeting thrice a year, make it twice. I align with the position of Lagos State on the deployment of technology in fighting crime. Please, involve monarch in security matter. We should be consulted in the recruitment of the officers of the community policing. We know good people and we will give you good people”.
Alake of Egbaland, His Royal Majesty, Oba Michael Aremu Adedotun felt bad about the image of Nigeria internationally saying, “When you go abroad, they look at us as if we are all kidnappers. It is poverty that makes us to kidnap ourselves. Let us join hands to make our country better”.
Alawe of Ilawe Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Ajibade Alabi, Afuntade 1, aligned with the governors of the region to get rid of criminals, urging that technology and human intelligence should be used to solve the insecurity in the region.
Leader of Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, who spoke through Yinka Odumakin, also called for the prosecution of those who recently killed three policemen, stressing that the nation’s challenges have to be confronted with political will.
He said that state police is a must, if security of the region is to be guarantee adding, “Ultimately, we must address the issue of federalism. There should not be a single police system. We need federal and state police for proper policing of our nation. We also need social security. We cannot be the poverty capital of the world and think that we will have good security”.
Aare Ona Kakanfo, Iba Gani Adams said, “Britain with seven structures of police still deem it fit to partner with community policing. Community policing will metamorphose into state police. There is no way armless community police can be effective. I am ready to work with Oba Akinolu to solve the security problem. After recruiting for the community policing, experts must be brought to train them”.
Retired AIG Femi Adenaike said, “Community policing is a solution to the myriad of security problems. We have a lot of retired policemen in the South West. They can be used for training and intelligence gathering. I plead with the IGP to increase the salary of the police”.
For the representatives of Ndigbo, Engineer Ndubuisi Okorie, community policing is not enough to secure the region, house to house policing should be included stressing that police should be empowered to effectively do their work. “Let there be monitoring team to follow those that are on the road. If South West is not conducive for us, we cannot stay here. Let there be enough patrol vehicles patrolling our roads and police should stop being tax collectors”.
The representative of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Muhammed Kabir, exonerated his members from various criminal activities in the country, saying that they are working with the police to ensure that criminals are flushed out of Nigeria.
Speaker of Oyo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Adebo Ogundoyin also aligned with the security arrangement of DAWN.
Others who were in attendance include legislators at federal and state levels, states’ commissioners, top government functionaries, heads of government agencies, top security operatives from the Nigeria police, immigration, Directorate of State Security, DSS, Military personnel, Civil Defence Corps, Vigilante Group and Christian leaders.
Among the royal fathers in attendance were Deji of Akure Kingdom, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi, Owa Obokun Adimula of Ijesaland, HRM Oba Gabriel Adekunle, Aromolaran II, Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe Aladesanmi III, Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun Oyetunji, Osemawe of Ondo Kingdom, His Royal Majesty, Oba Victor Kiladejo, Oluwo of Iwo, Oba AbdulRasheed Akanbi, Alare of Are Ekiti, Oba Boluwaji Adeniyi, Chairman, Council of Obas, Ekiti State, Oba Adebanji Alabi and Akala of Ikaram, Oba (Cmdr.) A.O. Momodu.
Also, Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Rauf Olaniyan, Senator Mohammed Kola Balogun, Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Alhaji Dawud Akinola, Chairman, League of Imams and Alfas in Ondo State, Alhaji Ahmad Aladesawe, Ogun State Council of Islamic Affairs, Sheikh Abdur Rasheed Mayaleeke and Chairman, South West Ndigbo, Chief Mathew Nwankwo were in attendance.