By Fisayo Akinduro
There are some questions we should ask ourselves on the security and insecurity of Nigeria before considering the adoption of the proposed western Nigeria security network codenamed Amotekun.
Going down memory lane, can we boldly say the security agencies saddled with the responsibility of protecting lives and property are living up to expectations?
Can we adjudge the security agencies fit and responsible in the discharge of their duties? How functional and useful are they to the plights of a common Nigerian?
Recently, the Agbowu of Ogbaagba, Oba Dhirulahi Akinropo who was allegedly assaulted by the Oluwo of Iwo land, Oba Akanbi alleged that the police is our problem in Nigeria.
The monarch who was disappointed with the disposition of the police over his assault said the AIG Zone XI who witnessed the altercation and rescued the monarch from further assault, denied the alleged assault.
The monarch who expected justice and sincerity on the part of the police was robbed of such after being humiliated in the presence of the police boss.
How many people have been robbed and denied justice like the monarch? How many have been accused wrongly of what they know nothing of? The assaulted monarch in Osun state is one of the many unreported cases of what an average Nigerian faces in the hands of security agents.
The unchecked activities of the Special Anti Robbery Squad, SARS, cannot be swept under the carpet as the special unit of the Police Force where we have cases of harassment, killings and maiming of innocent Nigerians.
The case of Kolade Johnson who was shot in Lagos by SARS operatives is still fresh in our memories while, just last week, a footballer in Ogun State was also killed by this unit.
The Remo Stars player, Tiamiyu Kazeem was said to have been allegedly killed by the overzealousness and unprofessionalism exhibited by the SARS, Ogun State command.
The death of the young and promising player spurred reactions from youths who took to the streets in Ogun State to express their displeasure and to also demand justice on the killing of the Kazeem.
The protesters alleged that the footballer was killed by the SARS operatives while maintaining the position that the late Tiamiyu was pushed out of a moving vehicle for asking where they were taking him to. They further attested that he was killed by an oncoming vehicle.
Back to the Police, one would wonder if the force is now a cooperative where Nigerians deposit money on a daily basis on the highways.
The rate of extortions from the police and their sister agencies on the highways is quite appalling and embarrassing.
The duty of security on highways is to ensure motorists are protected from bandits, robberies and kidnappings, but the case seems to be different as officers on the highways demand money from motorists, most especially commercial drivers plying the highways.
If you ask relevant authorities at the State Command why their officers collect money from motorists, their response has always been “we are not aware; kindly report any officer caught in the act.”
This extortion extends to the Federal Road Safety Corps, (FRSC), whose sole responsibility is to control, maintain and ensure that motorists comply with traffic rules, but they have also been extorting motorists on the highways.
I had to probe a commercial driver plying Ilesa/Ife expressway to know how much he paid the FRSC official, he boldly said N500.
I asked the unsuspecting driver if his documents and license were up to date, he affirmed, saying even if you have all the required documents, they will ask for what you don’t understand and will delay you unnecessarily.
He said the best is, give them money and zoom off. I queried him saying he (driver) was contributing to the rot in the society by tipping officers on the highways.
He said: “In this Nigeria, if you don’t want harassment and delay, just give them what they want and leave, most especially the police that demand for compulsory N50 from commercial drivers. If you don’t give them they will tell you to park and if you tell them you don’t have change, they will refer you to another officer to give you change.”
Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, (NSCDC) on their part have been effective in their dealings with civil matters in the society, however, overzealousness made an officer kill a politician he was assigned to protect in Imo state.
With the number of officers being recruited yearly by these security agencies, one begins to wonder if there is a need for another security agency to protect lives and property.
To the Nigerian Army, they have been trying in their capacity to ensure the peaceful coexistence of the country, however due to some political gladiators, it’s obvious some people are feeding off in the process of tackling insecurity.
Soldiers alone can, if given the chance, put an end to insurgency in the country. We have a strong and capable military which can tackle the ravaging bandits and purge the forests of kidnappers.
However, last year, a soldier of the 32 Artillery Brigade of the Nigeria Army was alleged to have raped a 300-level student of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State at military checkpoint.
Have the existing security agencies failed in their responsibilities? Have they been manipulated thereby hindering them from discharging their responsibilities effectively? What is the Federal Government doing to check the excesses of erring officers?
These are the issues that come to mind when a new security outfit is being proposed. Will it be effective in the quest to rid the southwest states of kidnappers and bandits?
From the public hearing on Amotekun across the Southwest, people are clamouring for the constitution of the security outfit with a belief that it will not be induced and manipulated by politicians for their personal projects.
As Yorubas await the constitution of the security outfit, they hope and believe that the reason for its establishment will be justified and would be careful in the selection of operatives for the outfit in order not to engage miscreants that will shatter the whole process