By Yusufu Shehu Usman
The issue of security or lack of it, will either unite or disunite Nigeria. If the security agencies are up beat on their duties, there would have been no need for Amatekon or similar regional security out fits outside the frame work of the Nigerian police
There is no argument that security of lives and properties of the citizens is the primary responsibility of the government
This is very clearly provided for in Chapter Two of the Constitution
Indeed it’s the main reason the people elect governments
Therefore in a situation where the government fails or falls short of protecting the lives and safeguarding the properties of it’s citizens, such a government would technically loose the morality and legitimacy to rule and may either have to resign or voted out of power at the earliest Consultational opportunity.
However, the problem is that security is not an issue of linear measurement, it’s a complex and complicated phenomenon in pattern, intensity and distribution
The question will arise as to what level of insecurity or at what depth or breadth of it’s incursion can it be safe to assume that the government has failed to live up to it’s Consultational responsibility of providing security for life and properties of the citizens
This may be a highly debatable issue to be argued with facts and counter facts, figures and counter figures, narratives and counter narratives etc
However, on a scale of fairness and objectivity, such a failure by the government may be presumed where insecurity looms large across the polity, where several and repeated incidents of insecurity remain unabated and unresolved or where the penetration of insecurity is like the famous MTN network ” every where you go” it is a symptom if not a proof of general failure of security in the country.
It is popularly said that security is the business of every body but we know we need arms and ammunition to fight and defeat insecurity and only the government has the right and the power to use arms
The rest of us can only supply useful information and take personal precaution to protect ourselves from insecurity if it confronts us
Our laws say that our police and all other military and security institutions must be federally controlled and operated
Now we have a situation where States in the Geo political zones are coming together to form regional forces to combat their local insecurity challenges.
The South Western Zone is the pace setters and I am sure other zones too will borrow a leaf from the West and establish their own versions of regional militia
The first question to ask is, given the state of our laws and the constitution, is such a structure within the purview of the Constitution?
If it’s legal, right and legitimate, what are the legal parameters for their operation?
Will they contradict or compliment the functions of the police?
What are the limits of their powers and the legal framework and regime of their functions?
I am not against any measures any at all that will keep us secure from the threats actual or perceived of insecurity in all it’s forms and ramifications
That is the first instinct for survived and preservation of life without which there would be no need for a nation
However, we are already existing as a nation and unity therefore becomes as imperative as security for our harmonious coexistence
It is therefore necessary for us to pursue both parri passu without sacrificing one at the expense of the other
It is in this context that I view the proliferation of multiple security arrangement by the federal, state and joint efforts of both for the common objective of attaining peace at all cost and by all means necessary
It is good for our collective interest as a people and as a nation.
There should be no legal impediment to the enthronement of peace in all parts of Nigeria
If the extant laws do not fit our present requirements for general peace and security, they should be amended with such necessary modifications to bring them in conformity and consonance with our national goals
In conclusion, I see nothing wrong with regional forces coming together to enhance local security and if similar arrangement are adopted by the other states, the entire country would be covered and secured
Finally, some may ask the question, where will this leave the police?
My simple answer is, the regional forces should work in synergy with the police in the various States to compliment each other
All that is needed is a clear template or a frame work that should make the synergy work with minimum friction and this is possible and achievable.