Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Nigerian security agencies still crawling@57

If there is anything that is rapidly increasing and improving in Nigeria, it’s the number of personnel rushing to enlist into different security agencies.
Before most security agencies and agents are often cursed, insulted and maligned by Nigerians, as they shied away from such jobs. But today, due to scarce job opportunities, many people have pushed aside their ire against such organizations and enlisted.
Since the creation of the Nigerian Police in 1820, a lot of changes have occurred; the changes came with attendant changes in modus operandi of criminals and emergence of modern crimes. But the most important changes are yet to be achieved.
Almost all the security agencies in Nigeria were carved out from the Nigerian Police. Each of these agencies would later carve out niche for itself, mapping out its own unique intricate and novelty way of investigations.
It was actually the European powers that initiated the creation of the Nigerian Police. After the white men left, the Nigerian society gradually evolved. With the advent of technology, socio-economic and political advancements increased, leading to myriad of sophisticated crimes and criminals.
Counting from the 1960  till date, the insecurity challenges facing the country continued to assume hydra-headed proportion, defying solution.
Even as Nigeria marks its 56th years, there’s no doubt that it citizens are grappling with a lot of security challenges.
Violent crimes, kidnapping, insurgency, murder, armed robbery, cyber fraud, political assassinations, ritual killings are the new security issues confronting the Nigerian society in this 21st century.
These attendant issues need to be tackled with new approaches to crime. Most of the equipment needed to tackle these emerging crimes, are far from the reach of the Nigerian security agencies. This dismal failure or blind refusal of the Federal Government of Nigeria to equip the security agents and agencies with modern day instruments, make them to appear like wobbling, fumbling and bungling fools.
Yet, these security agents, when they leave the Nigerian soil for training in other climes, where all the necessary tools for their jobs are provided, always top their classes.
So many politicians have been assassinated in Nigeria with their killers still roaming the streets free. No clue or investigation linked anyone to the assassinations.  
It’s shocking that in this 21st century, Nigeria as a country is yet to embrace forensic policing. Forensic entails collecting, preserving, and analyzing items or evidences during the course of investigation.
Forensic experts believe that it’s impossible for criminals to escape a crime scene without leaving behind evidences that can be used to identify them. It means that hair, tissues, saliva and blood can be used to solve crimes.
While countries are embracing forensic science in solving crimes, Nigeria continues to lag behind.
It’s basically due to lack of forensic science in Nigeria, that security agents continue to torture suspects in order to force them to make confessions. Most times, these suspects, scared they might be tortured to death, confess to crimes they didn’t commit. It’s also because of lack of forensic, that real criminals, able to hire smart lawyers, always escape justice.
In most countries, database, especially for criminals and first offenders are available and help security agents in profiling. According to experts, database is a collection of information that is organised so that it can be easily accessed, managed and updated. Database can pop up a criminal’s record at the click of a mouse. The record shows a person’s criminal history and helps even citizens in knowing the trustworthiness of a potential employee.
This sort of records or database helps in knowing serial pedophiles and kidnappers.
In Nigeria, counting from 1960, the only significant improvement in the investigating system is the provision of tracking machine devices.
These machines were brought into Nigeria following the reckless and incessant activities of daring kidnappers. The tracking devices help in tracing and narrowing down the location of suspected criminals.
The Close Circuit Televisions (CCTVs), which most countries take for granted in catching and identifying criminals are luxuries in Nigeria.
Most security officers are poorly trained and ill equipped. Rather than work with latest gadgets in solving crimes, they are left to flounder in the dark like blind folks, while the powers that be scream and demand for results on investigations.
Many operatives are often instructed to confront criminals with obsolete rifles, without enough ammunition, while their foes are armed with bullet chains and sophisticated pump action rifles and machine guns. In the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency, many security agents were slain and many women widowed because of inadequate weapons.  

Unless something drastic is done by the Nigerian lawmakers about security agencies and their personnel, insecurity will continue to be the country’s greatest challenge.

This challenge will very likely cripple socio-economic life of the country. No foreign investor would want to dare the shores of a country, which cannot guarantee his or her safety.  But then, it’s has not been all gloom and doom. Security agents have been able to make inroads into some investigations, leading to arrests of high profile criminals, kidnappers, armed robbers, fraudsters, among others. Some security experts and analysts have something to say about the security in Nigeria @ 57.         

Retired Deputy-Inspector General of Police (DIG), Mr Azubuko Joel Udah, said: “The Nigerian Police is in charge of internal security. They are doing their best despite all the constraints of not having enough capital. They are performing excellently well in different states. When you access the police performance state by state, you will know give kudos to the Nigerian Police. The Nigerian Police have their duties well covered. Our security agents are doing very and they also tackle all sorts of criminals like kidnappers and armed robbers.  There are only few lapses, and the only reason the lapses are there, is because of the federal government. The federal government should make sure that the Police Trust Fund gets to the police on time. The security of the country is not what the federal government can do alone. It is a thing that everybody and stakeholders should get involved. They have really tried in the aspect of checking kidnapping.”
The founder and publisher of Chief Detective Magazine, Mr Kehinde Dipo, said: “Security situations keep changing and we just have to change with the times. The nature of crimes that we have today is not the same we had years past. We have recorded many deaths resulting from terrorism. We have lost so many people to violent crimes, so the problem is really bad. But I think with this government in power, we have been able to see some improvement. The natures of these crimes have changed again.”

Dipo further said: “There was a reduction in the activities of terrorists, who were before taking over some areas in the part of the country. Now, they only come out once a while to attack. We also had the challenge of kidnapping; kidnappers used to be everywhere and used to come through the waterways. They kidnap people and escape. The job of security is not only for the police; we thank God that the Nigerian Air Force and Army are available. Today, security agencies can now count on supports of local vigilante groups. They enhance the security system.  Recently, seven victims were rescued, not by the police or the army. They handed over the victims to the police. The crime rates are still high, the criminals are still there, they are devising new methods, but things are comparatively fair today, compared to 10 years back. Since President Muhammadu Buhari came into power, Nigeria has been able to take the bull by the horn. Although more work still needs to be done because Nigerians still cannot sleep with their two eyes close, but it’s clear that things are better today in some areas, than some years back.
“Looking at 15 years back, we had challenges of the Shina Rambo; this criminal with his gang members, would come into the Lagos, snatch cars and start shooting. Security agencies couldn’t handle, but today, we have more security problems, than back then.  There was also a time bank robberies were rampant. Nobody could confront or tackled these bank robbers until the then commissioner of police came up with the Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC).
“Our security agencies should work harder. There are always challenges facing different countries. In the history of this nation, we always had some kind of very tough security challenges. In the 60s, we had the case of Ishola Oyenusi, who caused a lot of havocs. It was tough back then. We also had the case of Mighty Joe and Lawrence Anini eras. Most people even believed then that these armed robbers had spiritual powers. 
“The fear that people had that time is more than the one they had today, because then people were really scared of Oyenusi, Anini and Shina Rambo. Today, we have case of Evans, but the thing is that technology has also done a lot for the security.  We really have to give that to the former Inspector-General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase. He set up the Intelligence Response Team, which has really helped the country. All the arrest police are making today are results of the intelligence response of Arase. Not minding the improvement of electronic gadgets, criminals are also upping their games, and trying to move ahead of the police. We can just say that crime rate is always relative and always going up and down like a yoyo.”

The National Coordinator of Network for Police Reforms in Nigeria (NOPRIN), Mr. Okechukwu Nwanguma, said: “Nigeria has made some tremendous progress with regards to tackling insurgency in the north although other violent crimes like kidnapping, armed robbery, herdsmen’s atrocities remain substantially unaddressed. Military's involvement in tackling insurgency and in responding to ethnic agitations, rather than allowing the police to deal with these internal security challenges  has come with enormous and unacceptable   collateral damage because  military are not trained and oriented to discharge  such  policing duties.
“The resort to deploying the military at the slightest excuse has resulted to egregious human rights abuses without the actual security issues being effectively resolved. Government should adequately resource, train, equip and motivate the police to discharge their constitutional responsibilities to reduce insecurity and the unnecessary and avoidable casualties’ concomitant to military's involvement in law enforcement. Above all, government needs to address the root cause of crime and agitations, which are mainly socioeconomic and political. Social justice is key to reducing crime and uprisings.”

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