*Wike blames massacre on centralised policing
From Willie Etim and Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday talked tough on the much-condemned New Year killing of over 73 people in Makurdi, Benue State and declared that his administration would fish out the masterminds and bring them to justice.
The President warned that the Federal Government would no longer tolerate acts of killings and kidnapping for ransom by armed gangs in any part of the country.
He said that the recent upsurge of insecurity in different parts of the country had affected the countrya��s development and vowed that his administration would certainly leave no stone unturned.
He spoke in Port Harcourt, Rivers State when he declared open the 9th General Assembly of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN) with the theme: a�?Community Policing as a Catalyst to Crime Prevention – The Role of Traditional Rulersa�?.
The Nigerian leader said that he was saddened by the persistent killing and kidnapping in a�?our country, especially the wastage of innocent lives in different parts of the country by whatever means it is done, particularly in Benue Statea�?.
Represented by the Minister of Interior, Lt-Gen. Abduraham Dambazau (rtd), Buhari directed that no effort should be spared in identifying and bringing to justice all those that are carrying out the acts.
a�?I have therefore directed the Chief of Army Staff to relocate to the North East to ensure that the activities of Boko Haram are stopped.
a�?Likewise, I have directed the Inspector-General of Police to relocate to Benue State to ensure that the killings are not only contained and but that those involved are brought to justice.
a�?By whatever name they are called, these acts are criminal violence in themselves, and they are deliberate efforts to sustain fear on the citizens of our dear nation and to progressively overwhelm the rest of the country by murdering innocent citizens and destroying the property of the peoplea�?.
The President further said that the actions of the perpetrators of the heinous crimes amounted to a declaration of war on the peaceful co-existence and a deliberate attempt to undermine the authority of the Nigerian State and threaten her sovereignty and territorial integrity.
He said: a�?As a responsible government, we will never tolerate or condone all trouble makers, criminals and killers; they should be ready to face the consequences of their acts. While the Federal Government is doing everything possible to tackle the root cause of violence and crime in Nigeria, we expect the citizens to respect and obey the laws governing our societya�?.
Also, at the event, the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, appealed to the Federal Government to decentralise policing, pointing out that the peace in the country would be enhanced if governors were allowed to control the security of their states.
Wike said that the centralisation of police had made the security of the country difficult to achieve.
He also revealed that his administration had sent a bill to the House of Assembly for the establishment of Neighbourhood Security Corps, which he explained, would stand as beginning of the process in the state.
He said: a�?The Benue State killings have exposed the weakness of our centralisation of policing, because the states governors do not have the right to take charge of the security.
a�?Centralized policing has failed in managing the Nigerian security situation. Central policing is out of touch, we need to take the necessary steps to bring state policing to reality. Already, we have forwarded a bill to establish a Neighbourhood Security Corps to complement the policing of the state,a�? Wike said.
The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Ibrahim Idris, in his keynote address, noted that the issues of community policing are relevant to the security challenges and in line with President Buharia��s resolve to provide adequate security in the country.
Idris said that effective policing of Nigeria cannot be achieved without the assistance of the traditional rulers, adding that they (monarchs) command the respect of their subjects.
He called for a synergy between traditional rulers and security agencies, adding that the rulers know their people better and can help in the provision of useful information to help the police achieve their mandate.
The IGP further disclosed that he had been adopting decentralised mode of policing as one of his strategies, adding that police are increasing public participation through town hall meetings and seminars.
He appealed to the royal fathers to stop conferring chieftaincy titles on people with questionable characters, even as he urged well-meaning Nigerians to support the police force in the area of logistics.
Meanwhile, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muahammadu Saa��ad Abubakar, who is co-chairman of the body, expressed disgust at the wanton level of killings and destruction of property in the country and tasked the government to seriously arrest the rising insecurity.
He pointed out that the youths must be galvanized into productive venture to avoid being used as cannon fodder for violence and charged traditional rulers to be role models to their people.
Sultan Abubakar, who thanked Wike for his hospitality, noted that any government that relegates traditional rulers to the background would suffer setback in its attempt to take governance to the grassroots.
He noted that the formation of NCTRN was a major step in restoring peace in the nation and commended royal fathers for convening the body when the nation still had opportunities to resolve its challenges.
*Wike blames massacre on centralised policing