Sunday 23rd July, 2017
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Dambazau and Nigeria's internal security

Dambazau and Nigeria's internal security

The internal peace and security of any nation is key to development and it is the bedrock against external assault. For any external aggression to succeed, the inter­nal harmony and security must have to be overrun.
That is why in some devel­oped countries, the Minister of Interior is the most powerful after the figurehead of the states. And any security matter that hits the Ministry has reached the supreme point. Therefore, the Minister of Interior, Ab­dulrahman Dambazau, is one of the ministers in the present administration admired by Ni­gerians of diverse cultural and ethno-religious affiliations. He has proved competence and the reason is clear.
When Dambazau was ap­pointed to head this very sensi­tive Ministry, it was against the popular views of many who thought he was best for the Min­istry of Defense. But apart from fate, President Buhari knew who he was and his capacity in securi­ty matters. A man whose loyalty to his superiors and particularly to the President is boundless can only display it in words and in actions. No wonder he remained loyal to the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua even when cru­cial security apparatuses in the country were ready to betray him during his sick period be­fore death. Luckily, I had the opportunity to be close to a one-time Interior Minister during the regime of former president Olusegun Obasanjo.
One acceptable reason to as­cribe intellectual sagacity cum humility in national service to Gen. Dambazau is the progres­sive subdual of internal crises that have been threatening the fabric of Nigeria’s existence.
Many Nigerians, including the writer, are still wondering what would have happened to Nigeria as an entity if there had been no change in the govern­ment of Nigeria. Based on reality, there have been result-oriented thrust and civil-military actions against the Boko Haram terror­ists, the Niger Delta insurgents and Biafra agitators. Wonder­fully, the way these three forces against national interests are be­ing handled calls for praise and support for the Nigerian security apparatuses largely overseen by the Interior Minister in conjunc­tion with few other government ministries and agencies.
However, the Boko Haram terrorists, the Niger Delta in­surgents and Biafra agitators are not the only threats to Nigerians. Contraband goods including foods, drugs and substandard materials and equipment, influx of expatriates some of who are questionable, immorality in the security organs, fire disasters as well as unnoticed or ignored corruption in the system are dangers that are often neglected or undermined. These menaces have been systematically tackled under Gen. Dambazau’s watch. I want to applaud these achieve­ments within one year and com­mend the synergy amongst the security chiefs: National Security Adviser, the Minister of Defense, the Minister of Interior and the Director General of Department of State Security (DSS). With these men on board, Nigeria’s safety has been guaranteed while the nation has been positioned for greatness.
Another thing that has im­pressed the citizenry about the minister is his way in handling other internal crisis. He does not rush in making statements and conclusions without prop­er, thorough and independent investigations. Look at the re­cent herdsmen/farmers killings across the country. The minister urges refrain from giving reli­gious interpretations to the crises or making comments that could heighten them. In a statement by his press secretary, Ehisien­men Osaigbovo, the minister tasked Nigerians to live amica­bly as a people with common destiny. He cited communities in Zamfara, Katsina, Taraba, Enugu, Lagos and Niger as ex­amples where attacks have been carried out by violent criminals. “A criminal should be treated as such, whether he is involved in armed robbery, drug trafficking, homicide or cattle rustling”.
Changes are being seen in the security organs. The civil de­fense corps is highly proactive in security matters nowadays. The road safety corps is becoming professionally productive. Cus­toms have tightened the borders against smuggling in such wise that foods that are harmful to human beings as well as contra­bands are refuted entry into the country.
Revenues are generated for the government from genuine imports. While it is laudable the land-border closure for car importation, there is need for a careful reexamination in such manner that would allow cars already at the borders to be cleared. The prisons have im­proved performance but conges­tion and feeding are two areas of concern; the reoccurrence of jailbreaks is irritating. The im­migration has so far intensified efforts at monitoring foreigners in the land according to interna­tional standards. The police and other paramilitary organs have mounted swift actions in pro­tecting and rescuing the citizens.
Particularly, the police force is gradually being pulled out of its moral deficiency. The recruit­ment of about 10,000 men and women to boost the civil secu­rity outfit is commendable. But two critical observations have baffled many feelers. How did it happen that in the whole South­east there is no single Muslim recruit? Investigations revealed insiders quoting that in two states of the zone, the police commissioners blatantly refused to agree that the Muslim citizens who applied for the job were from the states. This is after stig­matization and outright frustra­tion meted against them during the interviews. This is typical of federal recruitments carried out at the state levels. Secondly, it is worrisome that the Chaplain/Imam unit of the force has been abandoned for so a long time that most police posts across the country are lacking qualified spiritual leaders especially as it relates to the efforts in building morality in the force. In some of the police formations, it is noth­ing to write home about the ex­pectations from their spiritual leaderships.
The yet-to-be Peace Corps is a good initiative.
But let us take in good faith the good news of federal gov­ernment’s resolve to procure fire-fighting equipment for the service as the Minister revealed that the last time equipment was procured for the service was sometime in 1985 and 1996. That was reflected in the 2016 budget. Hopefully, the 2017 budget will avail the opportu­nity to procure more for the service. Accordingly, ministries and states have been intimated to carry out preventive measures by ensuring that every building in the metropolis has the neces­sary fire equipment.
However, there are also claims that confirmation and promo­tion of officers in the fire service are sluggish. Despite the great efforts in fighting corruption, as in some other organs of govern­ments, claims of secret corrupt practices are still heard. Training, hazards, housing, and uniform allowances, amongst others are hardly easily paid to squads. There are claims that payments of such allowances from 2011 to 2016 to squads are lacking.
As one of a highly respected Niger Delta chieftains said dur­ing one of my official visits to government house Yenagoa, Dambazau is a diehard nation­alist who is loyal to a fault. He defended Umaru Yar’Adua. The chieftain noted that when there were tensions over the leader­ship and attempts to take over the presidency during Yar’Adua’s protracted sickness, Damba­zau rejected all inducement and huge offers made to him and in­sisted that the national interest is paramount. “They even traced him abroad for consultations knowing his capabilities in the Nigerian military and security intelligence. This man believes in Nigeria and he is loyal and humble”.
On this note, we applaud Gen. Dambazau for thinking Nigeria first at all times. He must not rest on his oars in the hard course of maintaining the Nige­rian internal peace and security, reinvigorating the Nigerian se­curity mechanism and boosting the moral and morale of security personnel. Areas that demand immediately attention should be tackled while payments to security officers must be timely. Let him look into allegations of corruption in the police who are still collecting money from law-abiding citizens on the Nigerian roads as well as non-payments of allowances to staff and trainees as well as use of obsolete equip­ment at the fire service. We hail the vibrant and working Min­ister. And we urge support and prayers for him and our security chiefs.
Contesy: The Willonline
 

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