Dr Abdulsalam B. Suleiman, a retired DSS Director and now Special Adviser to Kwara state Governor, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed on Security Intelligence is working with retired commissioner of police , Alhaji Amusa Bello as SA on Security to Governor Ahmed with a mandate of achieving harmonious relationship among security agencies for maximum security in Kwara state. Excerpts of interview he granted to ODOGWU EMEKA ODOGWU, Editor Authority newspaper, South-East. Odogwu is also the Publisher of www.odogwublog.com , best online newspaper and blog in South-Eastern Nigeria.

www.odogwublog.com Niger state Governor Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello’s statement on inefficiency of the police, how do you react to it?

Ahmed: The opinion of his Excellency, Executive Governor of Niger state on the perceived inefficiency of the police is a general opinion but then there are certain factors that contribute to the seeming ineffectiveness of police to combat crime in Nigeria.
One of these factors is what I will describe as institutional weakness of the security apparatus, occasioned by faulty recruitment exercise of the police. Lack of professionalism that is training and retraining.
Some of the officers or men recruited into the Nigerian police are not properly profiled, there is no security or background checks of some of them. It is like marrying a wife/husband who you do not know the background of each other because when they marry, there can be a happy home.
On professionalism aspect, three quarter of police force or strength we have in Nigeria today, do not go for specialist training or retraining after their graduation from Police College. That is why we have such problem there.

One other factor is corrupt tendency that some of them are not committed to national interest rather it is personal interest and greed. Get rich quick syndrome which of course results to lack of commitment. In the past, before 2009, police force was considered ok, where you have the likes of Alhaji Amusa Bello, SA to Kwara Governor on security now, a man known without corrupt tendency, a man of gallantly, effrontery, commitment, loyalty who devoted his service period to national interest.
Unlike now, when police officers at the rank of ASP, Assistant Superintendent of Police, will be thinking of riding a jeep, buying for his wife and building houses for himself and so on. So, how is he going to perform?

www.odogwublog.com  How do you mean?

Ahmed: The problems of the police, is also compounded by the federal government where budget of the police will not get to them to purchase enough operational vehicles and other operational gadgets and equipment. Unlike what is obtainable in other neighbouring West African countries such as Niger, Benin Republic: you cannot complete 1km journey without being detected if you are a criminal because they have all what it takes to detect you technologically.

How many police man have serviceable handsets? The era of working talking for use in communication is gone. The police control room is no longer functioning, hence, state police commissioners rely on state government for support every month. It is now the state government that has taken over the constitutional responsibility of the federal government in terms of securing Nigeria.

How many functioning vehicles can you see in any police information at local government, the fueling, and repairs, general maintenance is done by state or local government where money is available. To some extent, I share in the opinion of the executive governor of Niger State that traditional rulers should be encouraged to in part, be taken in the security management of Nigeria. This can be achieved through stakeholder’s analysis, that is, identify those in the community who has national interest rather than personal interest in securing their environment.

www.odogwublog.com  How is the situation in Kwara?

A very good example is Kwara State, where community policing is yielding useful results. We have volunteers in various communities who are not in state government’s pay roll but develops their time and resources in securing their immediate environment. This is because they know the criminals, their hide outs, their modus operandi and above all, the terrain. That is why, crime wave is low in Kwara State and this of course is being achieved in collaboration with the traditional rulers who also provides useful information and logistic to ensure that their various community are secured.

Another critical factor that is negatively affecting security in Nigeria is unnecessary rivalry between the security agencies such that the police is at war with Civil Defence; Navy at war with Police; Army at war with Police. Why this is happening is that everybody wants to take credit in breakthrough security operations whereas the synergy between these security agencies should be water tight, close and friendly. This can be done through exchange of intelligence. What the DSS see, the intelligence can go to the police or SSS, Civil Defence and other agencies for collective responsibility and effective result.

We should however, not forget that the number of conventional security agencies we have in Nigeria is grossly inadequate to arrest the security challenge we have at hand. The local vigilante group registered, should be encouraged to collaborate with the conventional security agencies through provision of timely information, strategies, plans, modus operandi of criminals to the relevant security agencies.

Then on the part of the members of the public, the awareness should be created that they in the position to give timely information to security agencies. Armed robbers, kidnappers, assassins and those who specialise in raping innocent women and ladies are not living in the moon, they live among the civilian population. Movement of such people should be reported regularly and timely for immediate action.

www.odogwublog.com what measures should be the best?

Ahmed: Security reactive measures cannot solve the general security problems rather it is through pro-activeness. On the Boko Haram in the North East, what has been the role of Nigeria Immigration Service? The checking the influx of aliens through our official and non-official borders. It is a common knowledge or public knowledge that majority of immigration officers do not want to work at local government level except airport, seaport, land borders and that is why Boko Haram elements are able to come in at will because there is no control and checks by the immigration service. This is my own personal opinion.

Finally, the federal government should stop paying lip service to security management in Nigeria. Regular security meetings should be encouraged at the federal, state and local government level during which security problems are always being reviewed with a view to finding solutions to some of this security problems. You cannot achieve maximum security anywhere in the world, but responsive and responsible government, should try his best to make sure that crimes are reduced. There is no way you can prevent crime from happening. So, security should be strengthened, and remain the subject of priority of governments at all levels.