Eminent Nigerians at the weekend suggested the way out of the killings in parts of the country.
To a former Inspector-General of Police Suleiman Abba, the way to go is community policing.
Senate Committee on Police Affairs Chairman Abu Ibrahim canvassed the introduction of Border Guards to check the influx of foreign fighters into the country, especially through the North.
Former House of Representatives Speaker Ghali Umar Na’Abba said a collective approach in which the government will take input from knowledgeable Nigerians is the way forward.
Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha said there is no religious coloration in the killings, adding that some Nigerians have lost the humanity in them.
Abba, the 17th IG, who was appointed in 2014, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that “the greatest collaboration that the Police should look for is collaboration with stakeholders in crime prevention and management, as well as fighting against terrorism and violence in our communities.
“This is where community policing becomes very important. Let the society accept you and know that you can protect them, as you also get them involved.
“There is nothing wrong in the society telling the police that we want you to patrol this area, guard and protect us this way,’’ he said, adding: “There should be trust between the police and the society. And once there is that trust, and we work together with the society, we can jointly achieve our common goals.
“The issue of attitude is a common problem in the society generally.
“We cannot and should not run away from the society,’’ he said.
Senator Ibrahim (Katsina South) said: “Security should be taken seriously. We have to reconsider the security architecture of the country. I am beginning to think that we need border guards in addition to other security agencies. The border control system should be enhanced. We should tighten our borders through the creation of border guards. It is of interest to me.”
Ibrahim who said special funding systems should be created for the police insisted that security is never funded from only the budget.
He said funding for internal security should be of utmost necessity to the government, adding: “I have finished my bill for special funding of the police. In my area, constant kidnapping is there. Local business men are being harassed and kidnapped. How much does South Africa spend on their police? People look at the police as corrupt; pay them well. You cannot just say they are corrupt without paying them well. Everything depends on peace. It is not what we cannot do. We must devise ways and means to invest in the police.”
Ibrahim believes that President Muhammadu Buhari is doing every thing possible to address the killings
The lawmaker added that he was sure that the President would get to the root of the matter.
“What happened in Plateau is a sad development that should not be tolerated.
“Nobody will not be sad about this; we are really concerned,” he said.
Ekweremadu, who slammed the security system as “dysfunctional and unsuitable for a federal system”, in a statement by his media aide, Uche Anichukwu, said: “despite the failure of previous attempts to decentralise the police during constitution amendments, I will introduce a bill that will bring about state police or decentrliased policing.”
On the chances of the bill, Ekweremadu said events in recent years had proved beyond reasonable doubt that the current centraliased security system would never help the government to live up to its primary responsibility. “I think people are now facing the stark reality. I have been getting calls from serving and former governors and key players and interests, who were opposed to the idea of state police. They want the bill introduced.
“The Governors Forum is also favourably disposed to the idea now. In fact, their Chairman, the governor of Zamfara State, one of the epicentres of the incessant killings, recently ‘resigned’ his position as the chief security officer of his state as the current constitutional arrangement denies him the powers, manpower, and resources to stem the killings in his state.”
“The bill will also address the fears of Nigerians opposed to state police. Just like the judiciary, the bill will provide for a central police service commission and also structure the state police services in ways that immune them from abuse by any governor or state. It is also a bill we can conclude in record time,” he added
Ekweremadu spoke in the United States during an interactive session with Fulbright Scholars, Exchange Scholars, and Graduate Students at the International Centre for Information and Nelson Mandela Institute of Research in his maiden lectures as a Professor and Senior Mentoring Scholar, E-Governance and Strategic Government Studies, Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy and Social Sciences, Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA.
The senator said the killings had continued mainly because the federating states were not constitutionally allowed to recruit, train, and equip enough manpower for the security of lives and property of citizens in their states.
“Unlike here in the United States where the component states, counties, big institutions set up police service to address their local needs, the Nigerian constitution vests the security of a very vast, multifarious, and highly populated country in hands of the Federal Government.
“The internal security of Nigeria depends on one man or woman, who sits in Abuja as the Inspector-General of Police. The governor of a state, though designated as the chief security officer of the state by the constitution, cannot direct the Police Commissioner of his state on security matters. The Commissioner will have to clear with the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, who will clear with a Deputy Inspector-General of Police, who will also clear with the Inspector-General of Police, who may in turn need to clear with the President, who is the Commander-in Chief of the Armed Forces. By the time the clearance comes, if it ever does, it would have been late.”
Okorocha, who spoke at the 10th Episcopal Anniversary of the Catholic Bishop of Orlu Diocese, Imo State, His Lordship, Most Rev. Augustine Ukwuoma at the Holy Trinity Cathedral Orlu, lamented that “some people have lost their sense of value for lives with the rate at which blood-letting is going on in this country”.
He said: “Initially, I thought that what was going on in some parts of the country was a religious war; but the Plateau and Zamfara killings have shown that what we have in our hands is beyond religious killings.
“In these killings Muslims were killing Muslims and Christians killing Christians. They kill innocent citizens, both young and old. And for us Christians, this is the time to pray for peace and love for one another.”