By Usman Idakwo
President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba argued that anybody who believes the Nigerian security agencies alone could surmount the security challenges confronting Nigeria is alien to the reality of things on the ground.
Wabba, while expressing support for the Amotekun initiative, noted that the security situation in the country is overwhelming, stressing that citizens must play their role effectively and efficiently to surmount the challenges.
According to him, “I can tell you from where I come from the role such non-governmental organisations play; non-state actors have played and are playing in the issue of insecurity or issue of security”
“You know that the issue of Boko Haram, which is from my region, the North East, there is a major role being played by non-state actors in the security architecture. If we are to address the issue of insecurity, such groups must play an important role.
“Where I come from, we have the civilian JTF, we have the vigilantes and I can tell you, as a matter of fact, the successes recorded particularly from where I come from- Maiduguri, the state capital, the civilian JTF can also take a substantial part of the credit. We call them Mai Gora. Mai Gora in Hausa means he that approaches somebody holding a gun with a stick.
“I have seen with my eyes, where a youth carrying a stick pursued Boko Haram person that was carrying AK 47. I have seen this happen and it has greatly assisted. That is why I can commend our Governor Babagana Zulum (of Borno). Just last December, he visited all communities in Southern Borno and all other areas where there are still Boko Haram attacks. He donated items and also strengthened the vigilantes.
“He told them that vigilantes should be able to protect their communities and that they should be able to assist the security agents because they know the terrain, they know the people and should be able to expose all those bad eggs. That is the way to go. It is also about community policing.
“The Police and military we are talking about cannot do magic. They need the support of the communities. The communities can support the security agents through such organised outfits. It is only for government to regulate and ensure that they do not become a menace. All we need to do is to have such outfits so that they can complement the efforts of the police and the efforts of armed forces.
“I can talk about every state that I have visited, and I speak based on information available to me. NLC today is the most spread organisation in the country. In every hamlet, we have a teacher, we have a health worker, and we have a transport worker, among others. So, we are talking from the point of information.
“I am not talking from the point of speculations. That is why any security situation in any part of this country if we speak about it, we speak on the point of fact. Not the fact that had been twisted, but from the fact about what is true and what is actually the real situation. The real situation is that we are far from overcoming the security challenges in our country. I can say that they are assuming different dimensions in different proportions. You remember that the issue in the past was just armed robbery.
“The issue of kidnapping is now a new phenomenon. Even in my village, in last December, we recorded cases of kidnappings. We thank God they were apprehended, but it is a new phenomenon. That has been escalated to cities, towns, and hamlets and even on the highways. The issue of cattle rustling, armed banditry and theft are assuming alarming dimensions. We cannot say that we do not have security challenges.
“The truth of it is that criminals are devising new techniques every day to beat our security agencies. So, community policing or being conscious about security is everybody’s business. Therefore, everybody should play a role, and that is why I support the idea for us to align those interests with the interest of the community.
“The fact is that, there is no way we can employ enough manpower to police the whole of Nigeria. That I think is very difficult and the resources are not there. But we can through these outfits, get our able-bodied youths to actually assist the security agencies. The only thing is to organise them so that they can be answerable to the authorities. That is the way we need to go about it because we do not expect people in communities to fold their hands, watch and see or continue to lament the security situation” he said.
Also, the organised labour has thrown its weight behind South West security initiative operation, Amotekun, contending that such outfits were the way to go for the nation to surmount her security challenges.
Labour through the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC questioned the fuse over the outfit, noting that Nigeria had no manpower to police the entire country; neither the police nor the armed forces could perform magic without the help of non-state actors such as Amotekun.
Similarly, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State said that Amotekun reflected in clear terms, the inevitability of restructuring the country.
He said that regional security mechanisms such as Amotekun were necessitated by the politicization and collapse of the centralized national security apparatus in the country.
Governor Dickson said the politicization and over-centralisation of security without an effective funding mechanism and arrangement for professionalism had reduced Nigeria to an un-policed country.
The Governor in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, said he was a strong advocate of the devolution of policing powers, adding that the issues of control of policing powers are critical components of restructuring