Danbazau and the challenges of internal security
Sir: Ever since the eruption of the murderous attacks of the terrorist Boko Haram insurgents in North-East Nigeria in 2009, internal security has become a major challenge in the most populous African nation.
While the nation’s military forces were battling to permanently subdue the Boko Haram mindless killers, the Niger Delta Avengers erupted from the creeks, unleashing debilitating blows on the nation’s oil installations with fatal socio-economic consequences.
As if those are not enough national malaise, secessionist agitators for Biafra are baring their own fangs in the South-East.
The attendant human and material casualties and dislocations arising from these insurgency-induced internal security breaches have inflicted mortal wounds on the national economy.
Nigeria, hitherto the peace haven for many West African refugees, thus suddenly became a nation of Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) wholly dependent of food hand-outs in emergency resettlement camps set up in many areas of the North-East/West geo-political zones and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Available statistics from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), a Geneva-based non-governmental and humanitarian organisation, showed that there were 2,152,000 IDPs in Nigeria as at December 31, 2015.
Officials of Nigeria’s Interior Ministry, at a recent media forum in Abuja, said that there are currently more than 300,000 Nigerian refugees in Cameroun and an additional 80,000 in Niger. Those are just official figures. There are certainly more, given our very porous borders and velocity of Boko Haram attacks until last year.
Since the inception of the Buhari administration, however, the free-wheeling territorial aggression of the Islamist insurgents has been undoubtedly check-mated, making peace restoration possible in many communities earlier overran by the terrorists’ ‘’army’’.
At a recent media chat in Abuja, the Interior Minister Abdulrahman Danbazau said that more than 3,000 policemen and 2,000 civil defence operatives had been deployed to the communities freed from the grips of Boko Haram in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.
Gen. Danbazau, a former Chief of Army Staff, said that there was the need for greater capacity building in the interior ministry and all its agencies – police, immigration, civil defence and prison services – if they must live up to their billings.
He lamented that many officers in the aforementioned services had not undergone any professional career training in the last 20 years.
“This does not help the intelligence gathering aspect of modern internal security operations,’’ Danbazau said.
He noted that total transformation of the various agencies remained top on his card and assured that all obstacles in the course of achieving that goal will be dismantled.
Perhaps what the minister should not leave out of his priority list is the total re-orientation of the internal security agencies, especially the Nigeria Police Force, where professional ethics are observed largely in the breach.
There is also an urgent need for a radical change in the retirement age policies of the armed forces and the police.
A security service crying of low human capital cannot continue to throw scores of its top brass into forced retirement at every appointment of a new service chief.
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