By: Victor Buoro
Looking away from the established culture of loyalty to the state, exploits in public mandate delivery, and professionalism in service due to today’s mounting security challenges in the country, someone made a seemingly funny but ‘unkind joke’ about the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).
This is coming amid the Police ‘mishandling’ of the recent bomb blast in Kano State which the Force rather preferred to cloak as a ‘gas explosion’ until the timely intervention of the Department of State Services (DSS).
Obviously wanting to make light of the Kano tragedy, the dear friend teased that “if making wild assumptions were to be an Olympic sport, police personnel in Nigeria would have no competition easily claiming accolades and mounting the podium as gold medalists”.
Funny as it may sound, this is indeed a sad commentary on the current pattern of ineptitude and official Luke warmness that dot the Force’s operations and keep it on a collision course with public confidence befitting the nature of their services and sacrifices to the motherland.
This development makes one seriously concerned about the confusion that pervades existing relationships among the nation’s security agencies where intelligence has been sacrificed on the altar of pride, ego, self-adulation, and other extraneous factors offensive to rational, and logical processes that would have built a robust synergy to address the debilitating insecurity across the country.
Most worrisome is the reality that most security advisory and alerts issued by the DSS are either treated off-handedly or ignored only for the State to suffer the consequences of humongous losses most of the time due to actions and inactions of relevant security agencies and bodies.
It still beats one’s imagination that the Police hurriedly and without due diligence classified the Kano incident as a ‘bomb blast’ even to the point of offering some official coloration the State Commissioner of Police, Samaila Dikko, said in a radio and television broadcast that the gas exploded at a welding point near a primary school on Aba Road in Sabon Gari, Kano.
Quite embarrassingly, the narrative suddenly changed after the nation’s secret Police, the DSS stepped up its game as usual to arrest some members of the deadly Boko Haram sect over the unfortunate incident.
Though this piece is not intent on focusing on the Police’s derailing investigation machinery that is becoming so prevalent, it is imperative to take a cursory look at the prevalent discordant tunes within the security apparatuses that keep many guessing what could have happened to infect the age-long synergies; deft communication strategies; and collaborative efforts that readily propel gallantry and victories by security agencies against both internal and external aggressions.
It is against the backdrop of these worrying events and unfortunate treating with levity credible intelligence from the DSS that current killings of innocent citizens in the South-East geo-political zone present a huge burden on all stakeholders, including the government at all levels, political, religious, and community leaders across the board.
Unfortunately, the evil that many well-meaning stakeholders feared has gradually taken root in an alarming manner within the region because some pro-Biafran agitators and their sympathisers failed to heed the warning signals that were clearly bold and conspicuous for all eyes to see.
Despite caution from different quarters, particularly the security agencies, that things were going awry based on the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)’s aggressive tendencies and inhumane enterprise against innocent citizens, the senseless agitation was allowed to fester.
Worst still, this misstep created the challenge of effectively coordinating and managing the splinter groups that daily sprung up in pursuit of individuals and groups’ selfish and weird agenda in the name of Biafran activism.
That Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and his minions are now hard-pressed engaging in supremacy battles against these splinter groups hoisting the so-called Biafran agitation is not in doubt. No doubt, the skewed narratives, amplified on ‘Radio Biafra’ and ‘Voice of Biafra’ have caught fire among the huge illiterate and semi-illiterate support base of IPOB, its paramilitary arm, Eastern Security Network and the so-called ‘Fallen Angels’, its M-Branch, and MASSOB among others. These untoward development have done so much harm in heightening insecurity in the South-East region.
The turbulence engulfing the rank and file of IPOB is quite glaring, especially against the backdrop of repeated denials by the organization that it has no hands in the ongoing needless killings and deadly attacks on the security institutions and public facilities in the state.
Expectedly, IPOB’s hitherto effective stay-at-home protest tool has become entrapped in its internal leadership crisis and the result is the audacious rebellion in terms of counter directives with some strange and bloodthirsty characters hijacking the activities and structural command in the purported Biafran struggle.
Therefore, it was not surprising that the stage was set for chaos now reigning unabated in every nook and cranny of the South-East zone with killings, maiming, torching of houses, vehicles, and shops; as well as vandalising goods and abuses of all kinds have without restraint becoming a daily occurrence.
With Anambra, Imo, and Ebonyi States mostly hit as theatres of these absurdities, things are no longer at ease in the South-East as the region continues to reel from ceaseless attacks on innocent citizens, police stations, security personnel, public facilities, and Correctional Centres where hardened criminals are set free, among others.
In trying to find the leeway out of this debilitating situation, it is difficult to gloss over the views expressed by former Assistant Director of DSS, Mr Dennis Amachree on national television that most times State governments and the relevant authorities are guilty of ignoring or misusing credible intelligence placed at their disposal by the DSS.
That the system can deliberately ignore and downplay intelligence and security advisory is appalling and unfortunately, it is the innocent citizens who are paying the price as manifested in the new level of fearless criminality that currently thrives in the zone.
There is no denying the fact a well-defined partnership among security agencies going forward will make Nigeria safer and more secure for Nigerians. The relevant authorities cannot continue to remain aloof in the face of worsening insecurity, clearly ignoring credible intelligence and refusing to engage in proper communication processes; information exchanges; experience sharing; and well-coordinated efforts for the greatest good of all Nigerians.
For the nation’s security agencies, rejigging existing collaboration and channels of communication would no doubt recalibrate and boost public confidence in their daily operations. Without mincing words, robust inter-departmental and inter-agency engagement and selfless interaction should be the way to go at all times.
In this digital age of Information Communication Technology (ICT), the world is now a global village and some of our security agencies cannot and must not continue with their clearly lethargic, archaic, silent, and harmful battle for superiority that leaves Nigerians and Nigeria as the greatest losers.
…Buoro, a journalist wrote from Abuja.