Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State has said the centralised policing system is not working in Nigeria.
Mr Oyetola said to meet the current security challenges in the land, the federal government needs to decentralise the policing system.
He made this point known on Wednesday while speaking at the 2nd Annual Colloquium of the Sultan Maccido Institute for Peace, Leadership and Development Studies, University of Abuja.
Mr Oyetola identified the sources of insecurity as “poverty which creates a gulf between the rich and the poor; inequitable allocation of resources which pits one region against the other; and injustice which makes offended parties resort to self-help and consequently take up arms against the state.”
The governor also identified “illiteracy which makes innocent citizens willing tools at the hands of unscrupulous elites and elements; youth unemployment which makes able-bodied; and educated youths susceptible to crime, among others.”
He stressed that the inability of the central police to tackle insecurity effectively led to the creation of Amotekun, a local security network in the South-west region.
“The nation’s conventional security agencies are overstretched and sorely underfunded. The Police once confirmed the sorry state of its manpower when it said the Force needed 155,000 additional hands to effectively police the nation. The nation’s security agencies as presently constituted are too centralised and too far from the grassroots to adequately provide the required security for the nation.
“Worse still, they are unfamiliar with the terrains where crimes take place. It is our belief that our people understand the topography of their communities more and can govern them better.
“The nation’s expansive forests have unfortunately become the hideouts of bandits, kidnappers, and other criminals. With the establishment of Amotekun, the forests of the South West are now better policed. The issues that make Amotekun inevitable in the South West are the same in other regions of the nation. Other regions may wish to emulate the South West to put structures in place to rid their regions of crime.
“Our recent experience where the attempt to confront armed banditry headlong in the North resulted in their incursion into the South West and other regions that were erroneously perceived to be immune from the insecurity challenge is proof that each region has to be adequately policed for the region to know peace.”
He also called for collective and concerted efforts to deliver the security that “we desire as a nation as a people.”
“Our recent experience in which insecurity has challenged education, peace, economy and other spheres of life has laid credence to Abraham Maslow’s emplacement of security as one of the foremost in the hierarchy of needs.
“This realisation underscores the need for our leaders and professionals, including traditional rulers, political leaders, academics, religious leaders and corporate leaders to constantly collaborate to brainstorm on ensuring peace in the nation. Security breeds peace, economic and other developments, political stability and good governance. The converse of this is that insecurity is a destroyer of these desirable indices.
“As a people, we must realise that it is only in a safe and secure environment that optimal local commercial activities can take place; foreign investors can be attracted; goods and services can be provided; infrastructure can be built and maintained; public service can be delivered, and social and political activities can take place peacefully. Therefore, the quest for a sustainable peaceful society must be prioritised as the collective responsibility of all citizens.
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“Delivering security is not a task for the government alone. Corporate bodies and Non-Governmental Organisations need to partner with the government to achieve success. Business thrives in an atmosphere of peace. Business concerns must join the government to restore peace to the regions of the country.”
He noted that there is a need to involve traditional rulers in tackling the nation’s security challenges.
“For proper security of lives and property of our people and the prompt containment of growing challenges, we must inevitably now engage our traditional institutions. Governors particularly cannot afford not to look in the direction of the traditional institution.
“This is because every conflict is local and as such, traditional institutions cannot be left out of the scheme. Traditional rulers know their people and also have better strategies for engaging them. Therefore, we must ride on this to be able to protect our nation from implosion.”
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