SPEECH DELIVERED BY COMRADE AYODELE ADEWALE, THE EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, AMUWO ODOFIN LOCAL GOVERNMENT AT A ONE DAY SEMINAR ON SECURITY AWARENESS ORGANIZED BY THE ZONAL POLICE COMMAND, ONIKAN.
 
 

Security is I would say, is our top priority because for all the exciting things you will be able to do… organizing our lives, staying in touch with people, being creative…  if we don’t solve these security problems, then people will hold back – Bill Gates.

 

 

It is important to start by commending the organizers of this expedient seminar aimed at addressing a contemporary issue that is presenting our biggest national concern – Security of course, it is not by accident that we are gathered here today rather, this gathering should be considered a conscious beginning of what would appear a long journey and process towards providing a panacea to an endemic plague inimical to our peaceful existence as a people.

 

 

If this is so then this ample opportunity must not be wasted. And not to waste this rare chance means we should channel all effort to address, in a holistic manner, the entire issues surrounding security; taking into cognizance the remote and immediate causes of our present security crisis, the role of stakeholders and other critical factors, in the bid to fathom a way forward.

 

 

At this point some fundamental conondrum should be asked: How did the security crisis degenerate to the present level where security of lives and properties is highly threatened? How we at any point been complacent over an illusive security level in our polity?

 

 

Have we acted when we are suppose to act? Have we only gathered here today because we are an endangered group with high feelings of insecurity? For as an author puts it “ only the insecure strive for security “ All these questions put together should heavily influence our discussions at these forum.

 

 

You will recall that the nature and form of the recent dastardly actions that threatens our national security – Bombings, ransome – induced kidnappings, etc. were once alien to our society. So where and when did we get it all wrong?.

 

 

I am aware that the objective of this seminar is to search for strategies and techniques for managing security problems in the country, and that one of such strategy is the use of Public – Private Partnership Approach [PPPA].

 

 

I don’t know how ne or old this approach is in our clinic but it is the grand worm in advanced democracies which boast of high level security.

 

 

The business of societal security is that of all citizens of a county. All are stakeholders but it is also a fact that higher security concerns especially, strategies, operations, etc, heavily lie on the shoulders of some few, whom by whatever arrangement, are heading or directing a group, such as elected office holders, appointed public officials, traditional rulers , student leaders , heads of unions and associations, etc.

 

 

All these are highly stake holders whose major task is to guarantee the security of their respective constituencies , James Rusell Lowell, a social commentator gives a corollary to this fact when he stated that; “ He who is firmly seated in authority soon learns to think security, and not just progress , the highest lesson in state craft”.

 

 

But this is where there is a big problem – the lack of recognition by the Nigeria police of the rules and stake of the aforementioned leaders in matters of security.

 

 

In Nigeria today, so much power, including the control of the police is vested in the centre. This is a constitutional deformity.

 

 

But even this deformed and contradictory constitution clearly spells out the mandate of the police in section 214 sub [1] which in part reads thus; These shall be a police force for Nigeria, which shall be known as the Nigeria Police Force.

 

 

By implication the Nigeria Police Force serve the purpose of Nigeria and Nigerians, and not few.

 

 

However in practice there is a clear negation of this constitutional tenet. To put it fairly, the Nigeria police today only massage the ego of certain powerful few; most times at the centre Practical instances abound to buttress this assertion.

 

 

You will all recall the security round  in Anambra  1993 when the commissioner of police , Bishop Eyitemi , acting on “ orders from the top “, removed the security attaché of the then governor , Jim Nwobodo.

 

 

The governor had to secure himself and the society by arming the Road Safety Corps through a State legislation.

 

 

The Ebonyi case was another Pius Anyim, then the president of the Senate, in setting political scores with Sam Egwu the then governor of Ebonyi, deployed federal troops to sack the state police officers attached to Egwu.

 

 

 Senator Chris Ngige had also swallowed his own bitter pills from the police over dose, when as governor  he was under siege by federal troops who dislodged his security details and breached the security of the state.

 

 

As the chairman of Amuwo – Odofin, I have also fallen victim of the police misgivings, where the present D.P.O of Festac station has left his constitutional duty to dabble into the politics of the area . Around January during a political impasse, the D.P.O in league with some street or chins was seen besieging my office and vandalizing public properties.

 

 

At the peak of the just concluded elections , he withdraw the police orderly attached to me from the state via the District Police Station , on my petition to the commissioner of police , the state government and the civil society organizations on threats to my life.

 

 

The D.P.O have severally flouted the bye- laws of the L.G for instance , on heavy duty trucks plying residential roads within the estate. He and his men have been escorting these trucks into the estate.

 

 

There was once a sour spot where Local Government officials caught somebody vandalizing the iron- barricades on the road [ a public property[, handed the vandal over to the police and requested he be charged to court, only for the police to release him almost immediately .

 

 

These and many more unbecoming attitude of men of the Festac Police have been disturbing.

 

 

Now the question is; how can we effectively guarantee security in the local government when the District police is un co- operative with the political leadership of that district?.

 

 

Inferentially, to effectively guarantee the security in the society there must be synergy among stake holders. We must all play complimentary roles. In addition, the following highlighted points should be addressed with the urgency they require.

 

 

[1] We must re – evaluate the roles of elected officials and appointed public servants on matters of security.

 

 

[2] If we can not allow for local police, both at the state and local government level, then the present constitution of the federal republic should be amended    to give adequate recognition to other elected executive leaders, e.g Governors and L.G Chairman, in the manner of the president, and make the police in their respective constituency answerable to them.

 

 

[3] The police must at times conceal the identity and protect those who come forward with security information and tips.

 

 

[4] Intensify enlightenment programme for members of the public on why they should co – operate with security agencies on combating crime and terrorism.

 

 

I am of the believe that these and many more not mentioned here , will be instrumental to a crisis – free and secured society.

 

 

Thank You. 

 

 

Comrade Ayodele Adewale

Executive Chairman

Amuwo Odofin Local Government