President Tinubu Position on State Police:
While campaigning for the office of President in 2022, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) said ” If you give me the mandate, my administration will give it all the attention necessary to consolidate the recent investment in our security by the government of the country . Security is the foundation of resources. I am committed to mobilising all assets within our national power to secure Nigeria. We will mobilise resources to enhance the welfare of personnel and provide the right equipment and training required for them to secure us all.”
The Nature and Magnitude of the Security Challenge since year 2000:
Since the year 1999, Nigeria has faced various security challenges, contributing to the evolution of the country’s security landscape. Major amongst these include but not limited to the following:
1. Militant Groups in the Niger Delta (2000s):
Militant groups, such as the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) & Egbesu Group emerged, demanding a greater share of the region’s oil wealth and addressing environmental issues.
This has led to attacks on oil installations and kidnapping of oil workers negatively affecting the common purse of the federation of Nigeria.
This problem have made names like Asari Dokubo and Tompolo
Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo is a former Nigerian militant commander of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta and the chief priest of the Egbesu deity, which is the Niger-Deltan god of war common and popular amongst Nigerians.
2. Boko Haram Insurgency (2009-present):
Boko Haram, an Islamist extremist group, intensified its activities, aiming to establish an Islamic state in northern Nigeria. The group became notorious for suicide bombings, mass abductions, and attacks on both civilian and military targets.
3. Fulani Herdsmen-Farmer Clashes (2010s):
Tensions rose between Fulani herdsmen and farmers over grazing lands, leading to conflicts with significant casualties. These clashes were exacerbated by factors such as environmental changes, population growth, and competition for resources.
4. Kidnappings and Banditry (2010s):
Kidnappings for ransom and banditry has increased, particularly in the northern and central regions of the country . Criminal groups exploited economic challenges and weak law enforcement to carry out their activities.
5. Establishment of Operation Lafiya Dole (2015)
The Nigerian government launched “Operation Lafiya Dole” to counter Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast, collaborating with regional forces from Tchad and Niger Republic under the auspices of the ECOWAS.
6. Emergence of IPOB (Indigenous People of Biafra):
The Indigenous People of Biafra, led by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, gained prominence, advocating for the secession of the southeastern region from Nigeria, leading to increased tensions. Election and businesses in the vibrant South East have been reduced to a slow pace and negatively impacting the national economy.
7. Arrival of Amotekun and Ebube Agu (2020s):
In response to rising insecurity, some Nigerian states established regional security outfits, such as Amotekun in the southwest and Ebube Agu in the southeast.
According to Tinubu, state police to tackle insecurity can only be achieved through a Constitutional amendment that will require the collective support of all stakeholders including the National Assembly and socio-economic groupings . Unfortunately this type of collegiate support for state police is lacking presently . Amidst the challenges, there have been calls for restructuring the security architecture to make it more relevant to the reality of Nigeria and Nigerians.
Many Nigerians advocate for state police to address specific local security challenges more effectively. They believe that decentralized law enforcement can better understand and respond to the unique needs of each state, enhancing overall security and law enforcement capabilities. However, opinions on this issue vary, and concerns about potential abuse or misuse of power also exist.
The case of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) high handedness in Lagos is a good example. According to recent media report, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) has concluded plans to arraign 14 personnel before a disciplinary panel over extortions and high handedness in line with the extant rules and regulations of the state.
General Manager, LASTMA, Bolaji Oreagba, disclosed that the affected officers whose cases have been investigated would be facing Government Disciplinary Committee known as the Personnel Management Board (PMB) Discipline, which would adjudicate their cases in line with the Public Service Rules.
Oreagba said these 14 male officers, 11 seniors and three juniors, were caught at different locations across the state extorting money, bribes, from motorists.
He said the agency would continue to dish severe punishment to officers and men in its effort to weed out the agency of few bad elements tarnishing its image.
Presently LASTMA official are not armed but are notorious for this type of extortion and citizens harassment, one wonders what they would do with guns , pepper spray and tazers in their hands if made the core of the Lagos State Policing Authority.
The Tinubu’s Response:
The appointment of new service chiefs with a very clear mandate by the President to bring the situation under control.
President Bola Tinubu also unveiled a N27.5 trillion budget estimates for the 2024 fiscal year.
The budget was presented to a joint session of the National Assembly end of November 2023 , where it is currently undergoing scrutiny and deliberation for final approval.
President Tinubu said , “The 2024 Appropriation has been themed the Budget of Renewed Hope. The proposed budget seeks to achieve job-rich economic growth, macro-economic stability, a better investment environment, enhanced human capital development, as well as poverty reduction and greater access to social security.”
The defense and security component of the budget which is : N3.25 trillion (12% of Budget) is the biggest component of the appropriation bill 2024 . This allocation for the Military, Police, Intelligence & ParaMilitary (Recurrent & Capital expenditure) is expected to refocus government effort to bring the situation under control. We hope the proposed investment would translate into a more stable polity and economy for the country.
It’s important to note that Nigeria’s security situation is dynamic, and various factors contribute to the complex landscape. The government continues to grapple with finding comprehensive and sustainable solutions to these challenges.
Strategic consideration should be given to creating appropriate para military organisations and structures that would support the armed forces for the creation of a peaceful environment for growth and development.
Michael Umogun, is a Chartered Marketer with interest in public policy and advocacy.