*No synergy among security agencies – Presidency
*Probes report of 17,000 missing Nigerians
By Chesa Chesa
The Federal Government has inaugurated a committee to work out modalities for decentralising the Nigeria Police with a view to improving intelligence gathering and better policing of the country.
The committee, headed by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Ibrahim Idris, will have representations from each of the country’s six geo-political zones.
This was one of the resolutions reached at the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting chaired by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, at the Aso Rock Villa on Thursday.
The decision of the meeting, which was attended by service chiefs and the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, came just two days after Osinbajo ordered the IGP to overhaul the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the police, following widespread complaints from Nigerians.
In his address to State House Correspondents after the meeting, Monguno, who briefed the NEC concerning operational and intelligence issues, and challenges on behalf of the security agencies, underscored the need for better synergy among the agencies and for state government to collaborate with and support the federal government on security threats.
According to the NSA, “these threats are increasingly asymmetric in nature and I stressed the need the deal with these problems in a more collective manner. It is true that it is the responsibility of the security agencies to deal with these threats, but the complexities of insecurity in the 21st Century are such that you need a whole of government and society approach in dealing with these issues.
“I emphasised to the Council the need for the states to collaborate with and support the Federal Government in dealing with each individual threats – which differs from one zone to another – and find a way of linking with security agencies so that we can find a lasting solution.
“These things cannot be overcome within a short period that is the hard truth. What we have decided to do is to work on certain methods.
“For example, the Council decided that a committee would be set up, with representation from each of the geo-political zones, to be chaired by the IGP so that we find ways of decentralising police operations such that there will be greater access to information; and handling this situation will be easier rather than a centralised and cumbersome approach.
“We also reviewed the resolutions and recommendations of the 2017 Security Summit after which the state governors agreed to work with the security agencies on all the issues that were raised and all the recommendations will be revisited.
“The Federal Government is also looking at other issues in dealing with problems coming from outside the shores of this country. These problems are being collated by the security agencies and a team would be set up under the supervision of the Office of the NSA to deal with these threats”.
Monguno added that that his office had been battling to improve coordination among the security agencies, as the lack of synergy often create problems.
“It is not easy to coordinate. Yes, all security agencies are supposed to be centrally coordinated but sometimes we have issues. These issues are being addressed right now and that is probably why we are beginning to see some improvements.
“The truth is that we are dealing with a situation that is asymmetric, that is not normal, not conventional. In dealing with these problems there will be issues, inter-service issues, inter-agencies issues. My office has been trying to address this in the last couple of weeks, and hopefully we should be able to see some improvements.
“Several new operations have been launched. These operations are being reviewed in a more coordinated manner with other agencies that are not directly within the military component but with other MDAs and that have resulted in improvement and it has nothing to do with elections approaching,” he stated.
On the recent report by the Red Cross that as many as 17,000 Nigerians were missing due to insecurity, the NSA said that the report was being looked into by different agencies of government and “we are awaiting their report before we can comment on that”.
Also, at the media briefing was the Governor of Jigawa State, Abubakar Badaru, who disclosed that the reported probe of some state governors’ security votes by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was discussed at the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and “the position is that we will have our lawyers see the legality of doing that. After giving us the report then we will see the next line of action to take”.
The Deputy Governor of Benue State, Benson Abuonu, announced that following renewed military operations, insecurity had abated in the state as farmers/herders’ crisis was being diminished.
“We now enjoy relative peace in Benue. But we don’t want immediate withdrawal of troops and other security agents,” Abuonu said.
He thanked President Muhmmadu Buhari for introducing new military operations which have reduced the tragic loss of lives in the state.
Meanwhile, the NEC disclosed that as at August 14, 2018, the following amounts accrued to the some government accounts: “Excess Crude Account ($2.250billion); Stabilisation Fund Account – (N21.591billion); Natural Resources Development Fund – (N143.479billion)”.