WITH the fire of terrorism and banditry literarily enveloping states, State Governors in Nigeria must focus on building satellite tracking sites and build drone stations and pay less attention on the creation of state police. State Governors need to focus on connectivity on fixed-wing, rotorcraft, and unmanned aviation in aerial fire fighting, air transport, business aviation, emergency medical services (EMS), military and government, search and rescue (SAR), and more instead of state police. State governors must focus on building satellite tracking sites and build military drones in their states to tackle insecurity. State governors should equip the federal police from their security votes.
Governors need to focus on Iridium satellite network and link the 36 states to Starlink network with a constellation of thousands of satellites designed to provide high-speed internet connectivity on Earth. Starlink is a constellation of satellites in space that allows you to connect your devices anywhere on Earth. It will provide you with high-speed, low latency internet connectivity directly from outer space.
This means that you can use Starlink without needing an ISP or cable company as a middleman—you will be able to access Starlink directly through your device (phone, laptop, etc.) without needing any additional hardware other than what’s already there
I was expecting Nigeria’s state governors to focus on manned aircraft and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for intelligence gathering and targeted airstrikes.
They need to acquire of UAVs, commonly known as drones, which are expected to rapidly expand the Air Force’s existing drone programme as well as its Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. The armed drones, which are considered to be low-risk force multipliers, will be commandeered by pilots sitting in ground stations located in air bases close to the conflict theatres.
Governors need to focus on Nigerian Air Force (NAF) surveillance aircraft and CH-3A drone trailed Boko Haram insurgents withdrawing with a mobile artillery system and gun trucks to the Parisu area of the group’s Sambisa enclave. The scouting drone then dropped an explosive payload and destroyed the artillery system alongside the crew.
Governors need to focus on the CH-3A drone is capable of loitering above a target of interest for hours and firing AR-1 guided missiles or YC-200 guided bombs. It was part of a set of four acquired from China’s Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation between 2014 and 2015, during the peak of the Boko Haram insurgency.
The federal police are not overwhelmed and the police must be equipped. We need to equip police and the military in Nigeria. There has been a large clamour for states to have their own police forces in response to the apparent unwieldiness of the national force. People have kicked against this idea because of a fear that governors would turn such forces into private armies. The fears are born out of the role that the police under Hassan Katsina played in May – July 1966, and the police under Sam Akintola in 1964. So they are not unfounded fears.
I am against state police because we must learn from Rauf Aregbesola, former governor of Osun State and present minister of interior who has shown a good example. The 36 states governors should learn a lesson from Osun 2014 security architecture that was introduced by the former governor of Osun State, 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 present Governor Oyetola neglected this security architecture.
It was during 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.
The Nigerian police have come under a lot of scrutiny recently because of, frankly, very poor performance. From issues that require policing escalating to points where full blown military intervention is needed, to plain incompetence on the parts of police officers, and cases where it is quite clear that the people do not trust those who are meant to protect them. Where did it all go wrong?
The Nigerian Police exists as a force to provide security for Nigerians. It was established in 1930 by the colonial government. Before 1930, we had the Hausa Constabulary, established in 1879, the Royal Niger Company Constabulary (1888), the Niger Coast Constabulary (1894), and the Lagos Police, which was established in 1896.
Like Nigeria before it in 1914, the different police forces were merged for, easy, “administrative convenience.” From that moment on, the police was administered from Lagos. Its main purpose was to stifle dissent to colonial rule.
In 1960, at our “independence”, our policemen simply swapped masters. Their brief did not change. The FG still used them to enforce their own point of view, even if that viewpoint was not entirely legal. But at least they had the equipment to do their jobs. A criminal report in 1964 talked about fingerprinting, forensics and lab work.
Nigeria’s first Constitution after independence gave each region the right to have regional police forces while the FG retained oversight with NPF. However, because of the role of the Northern Police forces in the pogroms of 1966, the Gowon regime disbanded the regional police forces. The process of disbandment started in October 1966 and was completed by the end of 1972.
As of 1960, Nigeria had 12,000 policemen. By 1979, as a result of post-war expansion, there were 80,000. Most of them poorly trained. The 1979 Constitution gave the FG controlled NPF the sole-jurisdiction over the country. However, that democratic experiment was short-lived, and the various military governments thereafter saw the NPF as a potential threat to their power, and as a result deliberately underfunded the force.
The only serious attempt ever to look at police behaviour was a committee set up in 1967. It concluded that the police was “hopelessly corrupt”. A previous effort in 1952 had a member of Nigeria’s parliament complained about “old sergeants” in the NPF who were “steeped in corruption”. Do these sound familiar? Most recruits were not trained in policing techniques. In some cases, they were virtually taught just to shoot and sent on their merry way. Does this remind you of the recruitment drive that happened between 1970 and 1979? It reminds me.
By the 1990s, that reputation as “hopelessly corrupt” was cemented. A 1994 report said, “Most people just join the police to make money”. By the 1990s also, whatever security budget the police may have had was also being shared. In June 1986, Babangida dissolved the National Security Organisation and created the SSS. The SSS was responsible for domestic intelligence, and at first at least, drew from the police’s budget. What I do not know is whether, proportionately, the police’s budget went back up when the SSS went under the security vote when that was brought in by Abacha in the 1990s.
The danger of state police is as long as there are multiple commands in any formation, loyalty becomes divided. This is very dangerous to security management, especially in a very complex country, like Nigeria. Also, there will be conflict of jurisdiction. For example, which of the two forces will have the power of arrest, investigation and prosecution? If they both do, what happens when the governor or his party is implicated in unlawful activities? Will they allow the federal police to arrest, investigate and prosecute the suspects or will they use their state police to shield the suspects? Will that not lead to constant conflict between the two police forces?
Another danger is who will stop some state governments from recruiting the wrong persons in their various state police forces? Already, we know that some states recruit thugs as teachers, traffic wardens, etc. For example, the local security outfit in the South West, Amotekun, is populated by members of Odua People’s Congress which has been declared by the Obasanjo administration as an outlawed organization after it was implicated in the unlawful killing of rival factions and non-indigenes. Where will you place IPOB and Niger-Delta militants?
Inwalomhe Donald writes from Abuja