Following the rising spate of insecurity in the country, the National Economic Council ( NEC) has set up a committee to decentralise police operations. The committee is to be chaired by the inspector-general of police, Ibrahim Idris.
The national security adviser, Babagana Mungono, who disclosed this yesterday after the NEC meeting presided over by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo at the presidential villa, Abuja, explained that decentralising police operations would aid security agencies in having greater access to information towards easier handling of security challenges.
He noted that security threats were increasingly asymmetric in nature and stressed the need to deal with them in a more collective manner. Monguno admitted that it was the responsibility of the security agencies to deal with these threats, but he however noted that the complexities of insecurity in the 21st Century were such that the whole of government and society approach was needed in dealing with these issues.
He said, “I emphasised to the council the need for the state to collaborate with and support the federal government in dealing with each individual threat —and these threats differ from one zone to another —and find a way of linking with security agencies so that we can find a lasting solution. “These things cannot be overcome within a short period – that is the hard truth.
What we have decided to do is to work on certain methods. “For example, the council decided that a committee would be set up with representation from each of the geo-political zones to be chaired the IGP so that we find ways of decentralising police operations so that there will be greater access to information and handling these situations will be easier rather than a centralised and cumbersome approach.
“We also reviewed the resolutions and recommendations of the 2017 Security Summit after which the state governors agreed to work with the security agencies on all the issues that were raised and all the recommendations will be revisited.
“The federal government is also looking at other issues in dealing with problems coming from outside the shores of this country. These problems are being collated by the security agencies and a team would be set up under the supervision of the ONSA (Office of the National Security Adviser) to deal with these threats.”
When asked about the issue of inter-agency rivalry among security agencies vis-a-vis the invasion of Benue State Assembly by policemen and the invasion of the National Assembly by the Department of State Services (DSS), the NSA stated that it was difficult to coordinate the agencies.
“On lack of coordination, it is not easy to coordinate. Yes, all security agencies are supposed to be centrally coordinated but sometimes we have issues, but these issues are being addressed right now and that is probably why we are beginning to see some improvements.
“The truth is that we are dealing with a situation that is asymmetric, that is not normal, not conventional. In dealing with these problems, there will be issues – inter-service issues, inter-agencies issues – that my office has been trying to address in the last couple of weeks. Hopefully, we should be able to see some improvements,” Mungono stated.
The NSA also debunked the insinuations that improvement in security situation was linked to the coming elections. “Not really. What happened is that there has been continuous review of the activities of the various security agencies – successes and failures, and so on and so forth.
“There has been a deliberate attempt to try and take care of those areas that are the most difficult. The fact that we have started making a breakthrough is just coincidental with the fact that elections are approaching.“Several new operations have been launched.
These operations are being reviewed in a more coordinated manner with other agencies that are not directly within the military component but with other MDAs and that has resulted in improvement; and it has nothing to do with elections approaching,” he explained.
On the report by the Red Cross that 19,000 Nigerians are missing, the security chief said, “That report is being looked at by different agencies of government and we are awaiting their report before we can comment on that.”
Responding to a question on the recent investigation of security votes of some of the governors by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Jigawa State governor, Abubakar Badaru, said the governors discussed it at their forum and took a decision to refer the matter to their lawyers to ascertain its legality.
“After giving us the report, then we will see the next line of action to take,” he said.