The Senate Ad-Hoc Committee on Security Challenges has called for the decentralization of the Nigeria Police Force as a way of improving efficiency aimed at addressing the problem of insecurity bedeviling the country.
Consequently, the upper chamber recommended to the executive arm of government that the Police Command structure be decentralized with operational and budgetary powers vested in the zonal commands.
These formed part of recommendations contained in the report of the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee on Security Challenges.
The Chamber also recommended that all Joint operations should be carried out strictly in accordance with extant operational procedures provided in the Armed Forces Act.
It advised the federal government to make full payment of allowances to officers and men involved in operations; introduce effective insurance scheme, gratuity and pensions; as well as setup a National Defence Fund backed by legislation, into which all Nigerian adults and businesses should make contributions for revival and investment in the National Defence Industry.
Earlier, Chairman of the Ad-Hoc Committee, Yahaya Abdullahi (APC – Kebbi North), while reading from a 74 page report on the Urgent Need to Restructure, Review and Reorganize the Urgent Security Architecture in the country, disclosed that the panel during the course of engaging heads of security agencies and stakeholders, discovered that there are ill-defined operational boundaries and overlapping jurisdictions among security services.
According to him, “there is a lot of incoherence and inter-personnel conflict which have led to a lot of antagonism within the security organizations.”
The lawmaker blamed the high level of inefficiency among security agencies on lingering inter-personnel disputes.
“The absence or inadequacies of effective corrective mechanisms within those institutions allowed inter-personal disputes to fester thereby undermining the operational efficiency of the services,” he said.
The added that, “most of the agencies are working on isolation with very little, of any, coordination between them. This most unfortunate situations no can be seen from the recent face-off between the office of the Inspector-General of Police and the Police Service Commission which degenerated into open litigation in the law courts.
“Most recently, the public release of letters from the National Security Adviser’s Office to the Service Chiefs discountenancing their engagement with the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, bordering on security matters, is a loud testament of the level of disharmony, inter-personnel conflict and intrigued within the nation’s Security and Defence establishments.”
Abdullahi observed further that the alleged non-funding of the Office of the National Security Adviser since 2015 has undermined the effective performance of its coordinating function in the Security Architecture, and has led many agencies to question its authority and relevance in various fora, thereby adversely affecting inter-service cooperation and intelligence sharing.
He blamed failure to define functions and boundaries between intelligence agencies on defective laws governing the operation of the Department of State Services (DSS), National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA).
The lawmaker added that, “the General absence of a performance, monitoring and evaluation mechanism within the Institutions and Services have undermined discipline and due diligence in the conduct of security related operations.
“Allegations have been rife that the quest for personal wealth acquisition has undermined institutional coherence and discipline and resulted in allegations of wastage of funds and squandering of appropriated resources. This is one of the sources of unhealthy competition and inter-personal rivalries within the various services.
“The security agencies tend to acquire modern technology and other force multipliers in isolation which resulted in the multiplication of incompatible platforms belonging to the different Arms of Services. This affected beneficial relationship and coherence of security operations.”
According to the Chairman of the Committee, the security agencies while appearing before the panel, lamented inadequate funding.
He, however, observed the lack of proper acquisition and maintenance culture of the expensive equipment and platforms used for Defence and Internal Security operations.
Abdullahi warned that the prevalence of importing all the nation’s National Security equipment and gadgets undermines the security of the nation and amounts to colossal wastage when the equipments remain unserviceable due to lack of components and spare parts.
Blaming the failure to nip insecurity in the bud on the absence of an effective centralized criminal database for the country, the lawmaker bemoaned the lack of a comprehensive identity management data covering the country’s population with no interface of databases belonging to several institutions such as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Immigration, Customs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), among others.
“There is a general failure of governance to nip potential security breaches in the bud before they fester and result into serious security challenges,” Abdullahi stated.
He observed that most security agencies institutions, particularly the Police lack well trained personnel, functional and well equipped training institutions.
Contributing, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC- Ekiti Central), who commended the committee for a thorough work done, however, said the panel did not address the aspect of strengthening the judicial sector.
The lawmaker advised that “there is need to work on the circle and morale of our judicial officers”, noting that their salaries have not been reviewed in the last 12 years since 2008.
Senator Rochas Okorocha (APC – Imo West) said, “what is missing in this report, is that the committee did not take out time to look at the relationship between the government and the governed.
“There is so much anger, there is no sense of unity in the fight against insecurity.
“No nation can fight a battle of this nature unless there is a unity of purpose.”
The lawmaker warned that unless a collective sense of unity is realized in the fight against insecurity, the whole process would be commercialized and made a money spinning venture for those benefiting from the process.
He advised further that if the surrounding issues of hunger and poverty are addressed by government, insecurity will be nipped completely in the bud.
Senator James Manager (PDP – Delta South), described the report as all encompassing in the review of the security architecture of the country.
“This report, if diligently followed and implemented, will solve many of our problems,” he said.
The lawmaker, however, faulted the Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah, for failing to Honour the invitation of the Ad-Hoc Committee.
Barau Jibrin (APC – Kano North) said, “if the report is fully implemented implemented, we will get out of the security mess we are in.
He, nonetheless, advised the committee to subject the proposed command structure in some northern states to a review to allow for ease of operations within states that fall within the same zone.
The lawmaker, while underscoring the importance of joint engagement between security agencies, called for collaboration between the army and the police in the fight against insecurity.
Senator Ibrahim Shekarau (APC – Kano Central) advocated for the inclusion of the Department of State Service (DSS) as a member of the State Security Council.
Senator Elisha Abbo Ishaku (PDP – Adamawa North) lamented, “what we are seeing happening today, that is impeding the fight against insurgence in the north east, is as a result of the lack of collaboration in joint operations against insurgency.”
Similarly, Senator Gabriel Suswam (PDP – Benue North East) blamed the failure in the fight against insecurity on the lack of coordination and required data needed by security agencies to succeed.
He, therefore, called for the introduction of legislation that would make it mandatory for the re-introduction of monitoring and evaluation mechanisms in the discharge of responsibilities.