Nigeria’s internal security challenge: former IGP proposes panacea
By Abavo Kingsley, Benin
A new security architecture that is citizens based, technology – driven, and system governed has been advocated as panacea to the pervading scourge of internal security challenges in Nigeria, and resonating national discourse on police efficiency.
This becomes relevant in today’s concept of policing as against the use of force that was inherited from the British colonial rulers deplored to intimidate and instill fear into the people in a bid to dominate them.
The use of force occasioned the prevailing situation of the citizen’s lack of confidence, trust, love and believe in the Nigeria Police which has spiraled into holding of information when needed to help unravel crime.
Former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Solomon Arase who is an alumnus made the proposition while delivering the Founder’s Day lecture of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) 2015/2016 convocation on Thursday, 23 November, 2017.
Arase in the lecture titled: ‘Internal Security Dynamics and the Imperative of a new Policing Thought in Nigeria’ noted that a police institution that does not enjoy the confidence, consent, and love of the citizens cannot police the society.
The lecture explored the internal security question, evaluates existing strategies and proposes options towards strengthening the capacity of the State to meet its statutory obligation as enshrined in Section 14(b) of the 1999 constitution which provides that ‘the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.’
He emphasized that modern policing is driven by three strategic elements: people, technology, and systems.
This is as he held that essentially any internal security architecture that is not driven by the concept of citizens’ consent and partnership is a negation of the Thomas Hobbes Social Contract Model.
Hence, it is destined to fail and that the current policing and seemingly intractable internal security challenges in the country are direct consequences of the alienation of the policed populace, failure to appreciate the dynamics of technology in crime and policing, and inability to evolve new policing strategies and systems towards security governance in the country.
Evaluating Nigeria’s Internal Security Framework, the former IGP pointed out that the variables that bond the relationship between the citizens and the Police appear weak leading to inefficiency of all the policing actors.
“Beyond this, the absence of a National Internal Security Policy against which the performance of the Nigeria Police and other strategic state actors could be measured and the roles of the citizens and other strategic non – state actors defined also remains a major gap within the national security management framework of the country.
“Against this unwieldy architecture, it is not surprising that the internal security management approach of the country is largely reactive and less proactive.
“This should be expected of an internal security management system that is lacking citizens consent and support in relation to willingness to provide vital criminal information, experience huge funding deficit, driven by competitive rather than collaborative orientation, lacks a Policy Framework to guide its operation, and yet, confronted with high public expectation and huge internal security challenges that constantly over stretch its human and institutional capacity.
However, in effort to provide efficient and effective policing for Nigeria and her citizens, operatives face huge challenges including risking their lives; a situation which has created large number of widows and orphans for the Police institution, Arase stated.
In all of these; “The police will only be effective if the society provides it with clear mandate; adequate resources, and support for its operation by providing information about factors and individuals responsible for violent conflicts and crime.
Intelligence- led policing is the most efficient approach to prevention of crime and disorder, the former IGP stressed.
“The police will be ineffective if the citizens constantly disrespect, distrust, assault and antagonize it.
“Internal security of a nation is a catalyst to national development and assurance of citizens’ confidence and strengthening of state’s legitimacy.
“It is however, a product of synergy between the citizens, the government and security agencies, just as it is driven in modern times, by the engagement of cutting edge technology and strategic thinking.
“Consequently, any nation desirous of internal security must of necessity develop a National Policy Framework that is designed to strengthen the capacity and relationships within and between strategic actors in the internal security of the state”, Arase concluded.