Bandits And Kidnapping: The Security Architecture President Buhari Needs Now

President Buhari and 19 state governors in the north should as a matter of urgency study and implement Osun 2014 security architecture to tackle kidnapping and bandits. With the Osun security architecture, Rauf Aregbesola purchased Helicopter for Aerial Security Surveillance and presentation of more sophisticated 25 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) to the Nigerian Police Force, a feat that has never been achieved by any government in the 36 states. The procurement of the helicopter and the APC’s was the security architecture that particularly drove away many undesirable elements from the state. I challenge any state governor to prove me wrong. The lesson from Osun 2014 security strategy is that former Governor Aregbesola Strengthened the effectiveness of the Nigeria Police Force which required improving trust with local communities and better responding to citizens’ security needs.

Doing so requires systemic reforms in the governance and accountability. Tackling modern security threats in Osun, then, was directly tied with improving the governance and oversight of the security sector, especially the police in Osun State. This is the security architecture President Buhari needs now in north-west and north-east.

Osun 2014 security architecture does not left issues of security at the door step of federal government but fill the gap between the security agencies. Former governor Rauf Aregbesola used the security architecture to equip and motivate the security agencies in Osun to stop armed robbery and other security challenges in Osun. Osun 2014 security architecture will assist President Buhari and northern governors to checkmate kidnapping, banditry and others. Osun 2014 security architecture will tackle terrorists in the North East, bandits in North West and Central. Nigeria has, in recent years, witnessed a rise in banditry across the country, including in the north-western states of Sokotom Zamfara and Katsina.

Osun 2014 security architecture developed comprehensive strategy and home-grown solutions to security challenges in the state. Osun 2014 security architecture developed a security plan to resolve challenges such as robbery, cultism, drug abuse and arms proliferation, among others. President Buhari should deal with corruption in the security agencies, which engender connivance with criminal elements, must be investigated and appropriate sanctions imposed. The nation is at a critical juncture and kidnappers should not be allowed to hold the people in bondage. It is not time for sermonizing but for the president to brace up to action station.

With virtually all criminal groups – Boko Haram, bandits, cattle rustlers, Fulani herdsmen militia, and sundry criminal gangs – getting into kidnapping, the nation is getting dangerously close to that state of anarchy. The greed associated with kidnapping is exemplified in situations where some people organize the kidnap of their relatives, while individuals even fake their own kidnap to extort money from relatives, all in the craze to make easy money that kidnapping has become.

Studies indicate that between 2016 and the first quarter of 2020 in Nigeria, about $11 million (about N60 billion) was paid as ransom, making kidnapping a very lucrative business for the criminals. A report by the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations of May 29, 2020 showed that when interviewed on insecurity, the first thing Nigerians raise is ‘’their fear of kidnapping’’.

This is not surprising. While Boko Haram insurgency, cattle rustling and herdsmen-farmers conflicts are generally limited to the north and armed robbery and ritual killings are more prevalent in the south, kidnapping is pervasive in all the 36 states of the federation and Abuja. In the beginning, kidnapping, which was targeted at high net worth individuals with millions of naira paid in ransom, has degenerated to a state where anybody can be a kidnap victim as villagers, artisans and bus passengers become targets of kidnappers for as low as N10, 000 ransom in what has been described as democratization of kidnapping.

Osun 2014 security architecture involved the presentation of the 25 APC in 2014 that the then Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, who was represented by the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of zone X1, Mr. David Omojola saluted the courage of the Governor in fighting crime in the state, saying, the Aregbesola administration has demonstrated high sense of responsibility in keeping the state safe in line with the dictate of his office. Also, the then Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Ibrahim Maishanu described the gesture from the Governor as the first in the history of the state, assuring that the equipments would be properly put to use and Osun state would be one of the most peaceful states in the country henceforth.

In order to make communication easier for security purposes, the state government as part of its commitment procured Modern Communication Gadget for security agencies in the state and ensured installation of various communication equipments at various security commands for easy communication. Also, the government established Osun Emergency and Citizens’ Inquiry/Contact Centre in Oke-Fia, Osogbo, which has since been serving as the easiest way of reporting any emergency situation to the security agencies.

The Nigerian Army, for example has be deployed in 32 of the 36 states in the country as at June 2019, battling terrorism, cattle rustling, kidnapping, communal clashes and other forms of insecurity. Rauf Aregbesola former governor of Osun State provided security for lives and properties with provision of 25 Armoured Personnel Carrier, over 100 security patrol vehicles and one helicopter for surveillance, state of the art police stations built. To enhance security of lives and properties, the State Government provided about 125 patrol vehicles to security agencies such as the Army, Police, FRSC, NDLEA and the Civil Defence. Armoured personnel carriers, the first in the history of the state were provided to fight incessant robbery attacks. It is also noteworthy that the state acquired one helicopter for area surveillance and ‘’quick emergency response’’ in the state. Since this noble initiative, crime, especially bank robberies were reduced significantly to the barest minimum in Osun.

The helicopter, a French Five-Plus-One passenger Eurocopter AS-355N, is a 2006 Model with twin engines. The latest security acquisition was to compliments the state’s earlier investments on adequate protection of lives and properties of the citizenry through the procurement of several Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), communication gadgets and Police Patrol Van. The helicopter was to ensure aerial surveillance. The helicopter was also to provide emergency services for the “Osun Emergency Management Agency And O-Ambulance” for medical emergencies and other forms of evacuation.

Before the advent of Aregbesola’s administration in 2010, Osun was one of the volatile states in the country, as bank robbery cases, extra-judicial killings, political violence and such other crimes were rampant and to a large extent, the residents of the state, particularly in some major towns like Ilesa, Osogbo, Ile-Ife and so many others could not sleep with their two eyes closed because of fear. There has been a trend that is nobody takes responsibility when things go wrong. No doubt there are many instances of negligence and poor security where people should hold the failing institution liable for threat to life. But there must be some shared responsibility of security.

The state government also subsequently inaugurated a combined quick emergency response team, Swift Action Response Squad (SARS) which comprises security forces like the Army, Police, and NSCDC officials whose activities reduced crime rate significantly to the barest minimum in Osun.

The former Governor had explained then that once the state is well-secured from the activities of criminals, the state would become attractive to investors, thereby catalyzing rapid growth of the economy. In Nigeria the Pf2 and Pf3 have been supplied to OSUN State Government for the use by the Police in combating Armed Robbery in the State. Osun APCs are rigorously tested and proven in the toughest environments and are certified and compliant with military norms and standards.

By Inwalomhe Donald from Osogbo via inwalomhe.donald@yahoo.com

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