Former inspector-general of police (IGP) Mr. Mike Okiro has said that during his days as the number one cop he foresaw terrorism coming to the country, hence he had to establish the Police Anti-Terrorism Squad to prepare the force ahead of the anticipated challenges that are often associated with terrorism.
Speaking exclusively to LEADERSHIP SUNDAY, Okiro noted that terrorism is a negative phenomenon that is ravaging the world, and that most countries over the years have been able to overcome the menace of terrorism. Nigeria, he said, should be optimistic that, just like other countries, she would in no time also overcome the challenges.
“ As the IGP , I analysed terrorism to be an international scourge spreading across the globe. Then I knew that there was no way Nigeria, being one of the rich petroleum producing countries in the world and its vast population, could escape the scourge of terrorism in the future. That was why, in 2007, I had to be proactive and had to be the first among all security agents to form the Police Anti–Terrorism Squad.
“We had to send the team abroad for trainings. Being a new phenomenon in Nigeria, the police and other security agents are still learning the rope on how to contain the scourge. Ideally , the foresight and the training the police received then have helped in parts of the successes the police have recorded. Without that, the situation could have been unimaginable , ” he said.
Mr. Okiro also hinted that aside terrorism , by the nature of every society, there must exist some form of crime or the other , stressing that there is no ideal security situation anywhere in the world.
The former IGP said the government of every country, just like Nigeria, deals with the security challenges as they unveil, adding that Nigerians should be patient with the government.
He said that, as a security and political stakeholder, he knows the enormity of effort and strategic plans the government had put in place, which he said he would not reveal but assured that if those measures work out, Nigeria will be free from the scourge of terrorism.
“Even in Communist countries, there is nothing like zero crime situation. There exist the proletariats and the bourgeois. Those who don’t have their daily bread, no roof over their heads and those lacking basic necessities of life may certainly form security problem to the rich.
To minimize security challenges, government, I think, must first bridge the gap between the poor and the rich and also take advantage of the ICT technology and its global network to deal with issues of terrorism . The Interpol has offered these opportunities, but as it is there is hope for the country, I must say.”