Security agencies only react to cases of banditry, this is unacceptable, says El-Rufai


Nasir El-Rufai, Kaduna state governor says a situation in which security agencies only react to cases of banditry and abductions is unacceptable.
El-Rufai spoke at a Town Hall meeting on National Security, which held on Thursday at the Kaduna State University (KASU), Kaduna.
The governor said the country was at war with terrorists, insisting that the security forces must collaborate to take the war to the criminals and recover the ungoverned forests being occupied by them in order for law-abiding citizens to engage in their legitimate businesses.
He said the bandits were challenging the sovereignty and monopoly of the instruments of coercion of the Nigerian state and its territory, declaring that they must be wipe out completely.
El-Rufai maintained that under the constitution, the criminals have lost their right to life and deserved to be eliminated completely.
He said, “Amidst the sorrows and suffering insecurity has caused to many of our citizens, some of our compatriots will be tempted to dismiss gatherings like this as futile and impotent gestures.
“No one who is in a position of responsibility can deny the necessity for firm action in the form of proactive and sustained offensives against the criminals who menace us. “Such security operations will not only cripple the outlaws, but will also reassure ordinary citizens, bolster the morale of the security agencies and provide an alternative focus for the energies that are being dissipated on fractious endeavours.”
The governor maintained that, “The situation in which the security agencies mostly only react to cases of banditry and abduction is unacceptable.
“We are in a war with these terrorists who are challenging the sovereignty and monopoly of the instruments of coercion of the Nigerian state and its territory.
“Our security forces must collaborate to take the war to them, recover and restore the un-governed forests these terrorist occupy, and enable our law-abiding citizens to engage in their legitimate pursuits, including farming and livestock production, without fear.
“These bandits have lost their right to life under our Constitution and must be wiped out in their entirety. There is no other way to approach the current insurgency situation today as far as governmental action is concerned.”
The governor said every Nigerian who is concerned about the danger insecurity posed to national cohesion, will appreciate the importance of securing a collective understanding of the problems and the solutions.
“In my view, we require at the minimum national consensus on the key issues that confront us and on the most efficient remedies for our weaknesses.
“At a public meeting in Lagos in February, I shared some lessons we have picked up from our efforts to manage our situation in Kaduna State, and I think it bears repeating here:
“The Nigerian state has not jealously and consistently protected its prerogatives and status as the leviathan, the ultimate guarantor of security, the protector of rights and the promoter of the rule of law.
“That is why its power is being challenged, in a frighteningly sustained manner by a phalanx of armed non-state actors.
“Our national level security response to these challenges has been uncoordinated and ineffective in wiping out the threats.
“None of the military services nor other security agencies has been suitably expanded in numbers and equipment for over a decade since the insurgency in the North-East pushed things to a new low. “This country does not have enough soldiers, uniformed police and secret police to project state power across its vast swathes, particularly the forests.
“The limited number of boots on the ground are not well equipped and are significantly lacking in the technology that can make their limited numbers matter a lot less”, he said.
He also noted that the justice system operates with ethos and at a pace that do not reflect the fragility of the situation and the urgency to demonstrate that the rule of law is meaningful.
El-Rufai noted that prosecutions take so long that citizens often assume that the criminals have long been released, thereby encouraging criminal conduct and promoting dangerous self-help.
He said delays in the dispensation of justice in Nigeria has made criminals to fall more in love with the Courts than the innocent, adding that this is unsustainable and unacceptable.
He lamented that at the subnational levels, states and local governments have limited power, though they have various options for the exercise of soft-power, using the traditional institutions, community and political leaders at the grassroots – but which still coercive power to be effective.
The governor stated that unless state governments, local governments, emirs, chiefs and community leaders know that the state can protect them and deal with criminal elements decisively, the exercise of soft power is reduced to weak appeals to behave well.
“Too many carrots without sticks lead to the near-anarchy we are witnessing.
“Notions of a common humanity, not to talk of a common citizenship are not as widely or deeply shared as it would appear”, he added .
Besides, he noted that identity politics also holds sway reflecting “the absence of an elite consensus about who we are and how we should live together.”
El-Rufai said in order for an elite consensus on issues of insecurity “we must as leaders and citizens, approach organising and governing our country as a deliberate task, beginning with a collective decision regarding what sort of society we intend to be and the means of attaining it.”
He suggested that the country requires urgent action by identifying and dealing decisively with all state and non-state actors engaged in conduct that amounts to challenging the supremacy of the Nigerian state and our Constitution without ethnic profiling or discriminatory treatment.
He called for the immediate and enhanced funding to acquire advanced equipment for the armed forces, police, security and paramilitary agencies.
The governor reiterated the agitations for state police,saying that “Centralised policing in a federation is not only a contradiction in terms.”
According to him, the state governments today bear most of the burden of the running costs of the Nigeria police, “so why not the sub-nationals the state police now?”
“So I repeat my persistent call for state police as soon as possible. We should also devolve more responsibilities and duties to the states to enable greater accountability and minimise the habit of blaming the Federal Government for every ill in Nigeria.
“We should therefore expeditiously amend the Constitution to vest all on-shore minerals, including petroleum in the states now”, he said.
He also called for the decentralisation of the judiciary, saying that, “a unitary and dysfunctional judiciary that is so slow in dispensing justice that it amounts to being on the side of the criminals need to be decentralised and reformed.”He urged that the “The Constitution should be expeditiously amended to remove the unitary control of the superior courts and federalise our judiciary now…”
He emphasised that in order to address the problem of banditry in the north-west and north-central, “we must implement the national livestock transformation plan already produced four years ago to enable accelerated investment in modern animal husbandry, incorporating the rapid sedentarisation of herders in known locations”.


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