From Fred Itua, Abuja
Osun Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, has said one sure way to resolve the country’s security challenges is to decentralise the policing system to meet the nation’s current realities.
“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 our people understand the topography of their communities more and can govern them better.”
While acknowledging Federal Government’s efforts through the police at establishing community police, he said the intervention is inadequate as it is still being controlled from the centre.
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 perform their responsibilities as chief security officer effectively.
Oyetola spoke at the second annual colloquium of the Sultan Maccido Institute for Peace, Leadership and Development Studies, University of Abuja.
The governor identified 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 elite and elements; youth unemployment which makes able-bodied; and educated youths susceptible to crime, among others.”
He said 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. He further said criminality has no religion or ethnicity.
He said Amotekun became necessary because “the nation’s conventional security agencies are overstretched and 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
While noting that security holds the master key to planning, governance and sustainable development as the whole outcome could be jeopardised by insecurity, the Osun governor was quick to add that the governments, at all levels, must not be left alone in the fight against insecurity in the country.
Oyetola, therefore, called for collective and concerted efforts to deliver the security that we desire as a nation and as a people.
He stressed the need to involve traditional rulers in tackling the nation’s security challenges
“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.
Aside from ensuring adequate funding is made available to this important institution to run efficiently, our administration considers them as critical stakeholders that must be regularly engaged,” he said.