Following the rising spate of insecurity in the country, the National Economic Council ( NEC) has set up a committee to decentralise police operations. The committee is to be chaired by the inspector-general of police, Ibrahim Idris. The national security adviser, Babagana Mungono, who disclosed this yesterday after the NEC meeting presided over by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo at the presidential villa, Abuja, explained that decentralising police operations would aid security agencies in having greater access to information towards easier handling of security challenges.
He noted that security threats were increasingly asymmetric in nature and stressed the need to deal with them in a more collective manner. Monguno admitted that it was the responsibility of the security agencies to deal with these threats, but he however noted that the complexities of insecurity in the 21st Century were such that the whole of government and society approach was needed in dealing with these issues.
He said, “I emphasised to the council the need for the state to collaborate with and support the federal government in dealing with each individual threat —and these threats differ from one zone to another —and find a way of linking with security agencies so that we can find a lasting solution. “These things cannot be overcome within a short period – that is the hard truth. What we have decided to do is to work on certain methods. “For example, the council decided that a committee would be set up with representation from each of the geo-political zones to be chaired the IGP so that we find ways of decentralising police operations so that there will be greater access to information and handling these situations will be easier rather than a centralised and cumbersome approach. “We also reviewed the resolutions and recommendations of the 2017 Security Summit after which the state governors agreed to work with the security agencies on all the issues that were raised and all the recommendations will be revisited.
“The federal government is also looking at other issues in dealing with problems coming from outside the shores of this country. These problems are being collated by the security agencies and a team would be set up under the supervision of the ONSA (Office of the National Security Adviser) to deal with these threats.” When asked about the issue of inter-agency rivalry among security agencies vis-a-vis the invasion of Benue State Assembly by policemen and the invasion of the National Assembly by the Department of State Services (DSS), the NSA stated that it was difficult to coordinate the agencies. “On lack of coordination, it is not easy to coordinate. Yes, all security agencies are supposed to be centrally coordinated but sometimes we have issues, but these issues are being addressed right now and that is probably why we are beginning to see some improvements.
“The truth is that we are dealing with a situation that is asymmetric, that is not normal, not conventional. In dealing with these problems, there will be issues – inter-service issues, inter-agencies issues – that my office has been trying to address in the last couple of weeks. Hopefully, we should be able to see some improvements,” Mungono stated. The NSA also debunked the insinuations that improvement in security situation was linked to the coming elections. “Not really. What happened is that there has been continuous review of the activities of the various security agencies – successes and failures, and so on and so forth. “There has been a deliberate attempt to try and take care of those areas that are the most difficult. The fact that we have started making a breakthrough is just coincidental with the fact that elections are approaching.“Several new operations have been launched. These operations are being reviewed in a more coordinated manner with other agencies that are not directly within the military component but with other MDAs and that has resulted in improvement; and it has nothing to do with elections approaching,” he explained.
On the report by the Red Cross that 19,000 Nigerians are missing, the security chief said, “That report is being looked at by different agencies of government and we are awaiting their report before we can comment on that.” Responding to a question on the recent investigation of security votes of some of the governors by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Jigawa State governor, Abubakar Badaru, said the governors discussed it at their forum and took a decision to refer the matter to their lawyers to ascertain its legality.
“After giving us the report, then we will see the next line of action to take,” he said.
Anti-corruption War Must Follow Due Process – Govs
Governors under the auspices of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) yesterday stressed the need for the anti-corruption war to follow due process. Speaking after a meeting of the forum, Zamfara State governor and NGF chairman, Abdulaziz Yari, expressed support for the federal government’s anti- corruption war but warned that it must be done within the confines of the law. LEADERSHIP Friday recalls that the EFCC recently froze the bank accounts of Akwa Ibom and Benue states government. Governor Yari contended that even President Muhammadu Buhari will not support the illegalities perpetrated by the agencies. He said: “We believe strongly that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari will not sit down and supervise this illegality in the system. “What we are saying is that we all support the government to fight corruption because it is endemic and has afflicted the nation for over six decades. Definitely, it was part of what we discussed.
“What we are saying now is that we are going to support the government in terms of what it is doing to fight corruption, but the due process must be respected in whatever action the agencies are going to take in the name of fighting corruption.” On the new minimum wage ,Yari said the governors wanted the national income to be examined over the last 14 years so that its exact position could be determined. Lamenting that state governments have been limited to only the payment of salaries , Yari noted that governors have been unable to take care of development responsibilities in other sectors such as health, electricity and education, among others. He asserted that the state governments cannot perform any magic to meet the expectations of the people if they do not have the required funds. “We have a committee of six which represented us in discussions in the committee headed by Labour minister. The committee is yet to give us the final report. When they give us the final report, for which they have our mandate to present our position, and the position most likely is to look at the record of up to 14 years.
“For instance, in global practice, in your income, how much are you spending as salary? So we can start from there. They have given us interim report, which says that at the federal government level, over 82 percent of revenue is being spent on overheads, which cannot move the country forward in terms of infrastructure development that we need now.
“So, on our own part, we are saying we are going to look at how our income are traced from 14 years ago so that we can come up and stay in the middle.
“I don’t think you people voted us only to pay salaries. You are looking for good roads, electricity, education and others. So, we can’t do magic; it’s only when we have the funds do all those things,” he stated.
…DSS Appoints Afunanya As Spokesperson
Meanwhile, after years of not having a spokesperson, the Department of State Services (DSS), yesterday, finally announced the appointment of Mr. Nnochirionye Afunanya as its substantive public relations officer. The new spokesman is a member of the Nigerian Institute of Chartered Arbitrators (NiCarb), Nigerian Red Cross (NRC), Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM), Nigerian Institute for Industrial Security (NIIS), Society for Peace Scholars and Practice (SPSP), American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS), and a fellow of the Institute of Corporate Administration (ICA).
A statement by the Public Relations Department of the Service said Afunanya obtained B.A. English (1997), Abia State University, Uturu; M.A. English (2009), University of Uyo, and M.A. Peace and Strategic Studies (2011), University of Ilorin.
He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Security and Strategic Studies at the Nasarawa State University, Keffi.
The statement also explained that the new spokesperson had attended several courses within and outside Nigeria, namely: Innovation and Strategy at Harvard University, Boston, USA; Security Management and Coordination, London, and Investigative Journalism at City University, London.
Other courses he has attended are on Leadership, Arbitration, Conflict Management/Resolution, Negotiation and Public Communication, among others. Afunanya is the editor-in-chief of the DSS’ in-house magazine, The Triple S.
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