Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State, on Wednesday, said for Nigeria to tackle acute insecurity headlong, the current centralised policing system should be decentralised.
While acknowledging the efforts of the Federal Government through the Police at establishing Community Police, the Governor noted that the intervention was inadequate as it is still being controlled from the centre.
He said the constitutional provision that assigns the role of Chief Security Officer to governors ought to have provided corresponding empowerment and control of the security agencies to the same governors to enable them to perform their responsibilities effectively.
Oyetola spoke in Abuja at the 2nd Annual Colloquium of the Sultan Maccido Institute for Peace, Leadership and Development Studies, University of Abuja.
The governor identified the sources of insecurity as “poverty which creates a gulf between the rich and the poor; inequitable allocation of resources which pits one region against the other; injustice which makes offended parties resort to self-help and consequently take up arms against state; illiteracy which makes innocent citizens willing tools at the hands of unscrupulous elites and elements; youth unemployment which makes able-bodied; and educated youths susceptible to crime, among others.”
He noted that security, governance, and sustainable economic development are the tripod upon which a nation’s prosperity and wellbeing stand, adding that security is the facilitator of the other two factors.
‘Why we set up Amotekun’
While insisting that Amotekun is a child of necessity, Oyetola said the security arrangement is complementing the convention security agencies to effectively tackle armed banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery among other crimes.
He said Amotekun became necessary because “the nation’s conventional security agencies are overstretched and sorely underfunded. The Police once confirmed the sorry state of its manpower when it said the Force needed 155,000 additional hands to effectively police the nation.
“The nation’s security agencies as presently constituted are too centralised and too far from the grassroots to adequately provide the required security for the nation. Worse still, they are unfamiliar with the terrains where crimes take place. It is our belief that our people understand the topography of their communities more and can govern them better.
“The nation’s expansive forests have unfortunately become the hideouts of bandits, kidnappers, and other criminals. With the establishment of Amotekun, the forests of the South West are now better policed. The issues that make Amotekun inevitable in the South West are the same in other regions of the nation. Other regions may wish to emulate the South West to put structures in place to rid their regions of crime.
“Our recent experience where the attempt to confront armed banditry headlong in the North resulted in their incursion into the South West and other regions that were erroneously perceived to be immune from the insecurity challenge is proof that each region has to be adequately policed for the region to know peace,” he said.
The Role of Traditional Rulers
Explaining the need to involve Traditional Rulers in tackling the nation’s security challenges, the Osun Governor said, “For proper security of lives and property of our people and the prompt containment of growing challenges, we must inevitably now engage our traditional institutions. Governors particularly cannot afford not to look in the direction of the traditional institution.
“This is because every conflict is local and as such, traditional institutions cannot be left out of the scheme. Traditional rulers know their people and also have better strategies for engaging them. Therefore, we must ride on this to be able to protect our nation from implosion.”