Let me start this piece on a positive note. President Muhammad Buhari has done well in the areas of road construction and the rail project. His worst enemies can’t deny that; even though he didn’t initiate these projects, his government has continued to finish up what the PDP administration he succeeded in starting. That’s quite commendable, I dare say. We can’t continue to deny that the President did well in certain areas.
If not for the disruptive attacks of Boko Haram on farming communities in the North East, and bandit activities in parts of the North West, agricultural production would have received a bigger boost, and we’d have attained a high level of food self-sufficiency by now.
Nevertheless, kudos to this APC government for the vast increase in local food production; in spite of all the sabotage of smugglers who frustrate the government’s drive toward self-sufficiency in local food production.
This year, we expect President Buhari to confront the internal security situation with new strategies. We have to go beyond the frequent cycle of attacks, condemnation, and endless attacks.
The debate on the replacement of the security chiefs has been on since their tenures expired, it is only the president that could tell why he continues to keep them in the face of deteriorating security situation in the North East theatre of war against Boko Haram.
Beyond all of that, there’s the wider issue of insecurity in our cities, highways, and around high profile public assets. Lately, kidnapping for ransom has become a much more frequent criminal activity than other forms of street crimes because of the hefty ransom being paid to secure the release of victims.
Payment of ransom to criminals can only encourage criminality. We have seen that already. Now is the time to come up with a more effective form of crime prevention and deterrence, strategies. One way to do that is to set up a nation-wide constabulary police system, targeted at neighborhoods in the 774 local governments across Nigeria.
A constabulary is a form of community policing system which was in force in the North in the 60s/70s. They were called, Dan Sandain Hausa (Police with baton). They were also known as Native Authority Police. They were constables trained under a short crash program of about three or six months, to undertake police duties on a part-time basis in their communities. I remember vividly in Kano, in those days these constables were a semi-professional civilian Force who carried only batons, worked between 4 pm and midnight, and closed. They were deployed to serve in their communities.
It was largely a volunteer Force like today’s Special Traffic Marshals. They were paid pittances as allowances or honorarium. That was it, and the guys were so proud and happy for serving, their communities where they were well respected by appreciative neighbors. A friend of mine was a member of this force and we, his friends, envied him, but we were too young to join because the recruitment age limit was between 18 and 25 or thereabout.
This Constabulary Force helped a great deal as it complimented the efforts of the regular police force in maintaining law and order in local communities. This is a template we should revive and apply today.
President Buhari and his security team should consider this constabulary model seriously as part of a new radical response to the prevailing security situation in our cities. If we recruit part-time constables and deploy about 5,000 personnel to each of the 774 local government councils in the country, police presence would be felt across the nation and the criminals would take note.
The Constabulary Force would play a supplementary role to the regular police in keeping our cities safe and because of their numerical strength, they’d have a wider, broad, and deeper grassroots penetration.
This force could be funded from the type of Security Trust Fund set up by the Lagos State in partnership with the private sector. They should not be seen as a rival to the Nigeria Police because they’d be under the command and control of the State Commissioners of Police and the DPOs who would supervise their operations.
The constabulary would only carry light arms like a service pistol, a batom and a whistle among other defense accessories to protect them against aggressive attacks. Moreover, the job can be done part-time in shifts of six-hour duties, to accommodate as many participants as possible. With a monthly honorarium of #30,000 (Thirty Thousand Naira), we can recruit more than 10,000,000 (ten million) youth into the Volunteer Force and that would offer missive job opportunities for our unemployed youth.
Let PMB give it a shot! Before we go, let me say this: those who advised the President to regard criticisms and any form of protest as an attempt to topple his government, do not wish him well. His advisers do not love him more than millions of Nigerians who voted to put him into power. President Buhari must prove to us all this year that he truly belongs to nobody, but belong to all Nigerians. Again, Happy New Year to all my readers. God bless you.
Again, Happy New Year to all my readers. God bless you.
Weekend Spice: Patience is a virtue; it can wear out some enemies, and therefore, neutralize them – LADIAYODEJI
Ok folks, let’s do it again. Keep safe. Covid-19 is still here. Be motivated.
Ayodeji, author, speaker, and pastor, can be reached on 09059243004 (sms, e-mail &whatsapp only).