The Insecurity of our Security System

Just imagine you own a home without any reliable or accurate information of the basic items in your home yet you so much crave for regular upgrade and re-equipping of the home. This is the true state of the Nigerian State, a largely populated nation without an accurate biodata, development statistics, census figures, worst still without the technological capacity or investment drive to safeguard and protect the worthy lives and properties of her citizenry. I am not quick to judge but on the issue of insecurity in Nigeria, I must make haste to pass my long earned vote of no confidence on the security sector with little exception of an appreciable respect for the Nigerian Army.

A failure of social security through government's insensitivity to developmental policies is an enabler for a state of insecurity in any society. The state of insecurity in our nation is enormous, hence, I do not intend to indulge in a general discuss of the challenge but on specific ills of the operations of some of our security agencies like the unprofessional police force, VIO, Federal Road Safety Corps, NDLA and Customs. My assertion to the corrupt nature and the inherent danger these security agencies pose to many poor Nigerians is a common knowledge, hence, I do not consider my view here as novel but my little contribution towards the reconstruction of Nigeria.

Because I am not a critic nor a party to blame game, I would elect to start with what in my humble opinion should be the sustainable solution to the poor and ever 'hungry-like' nature of some officers of these agencies who have become 'extra-insatiably' greedy and barbarically corrupt: HEAVY INVESTMENT AND PROPER FUNDING OF THE SECURITY AGENCIES. Attractive remuneration, regular training and good working conditions. Funding this may seem difficult but if one third of our politicians' huge earnings are redirected to these officers' welfare then the problem will be half solved. And more importantly, our security agencies must be contented with job satisfaction.

Subsequent upon the creation of the Police Force by the sufficient provision of section 3 of the Police Act, section 4 of the Police Act provides that "The Police shall be employed for the prevention and detection of crime, the apprehension of offenders, the preservation of law and order; the protection of life and property and the due enforcement of all laws and regulations with which they are directly charged, and shall perform such military duties within or without Nigeria as may be required by them by, or under the authority of, this or any other Act",  while the primary function of the Vehicle Inspection Officers is to inspect and ensure the road worthiness of vehicles on the Nigerian roads. The Nigerian Road Safety Corp is by law created to ensure that all road users abide by the extant regulations.  But these agencies are grossly insensitive to the original and inherent responsibilities and duties of their offices. My major aim is to use this piece to expose how our security agencies are accessories and principal parties to criminal offenses.

It will be safe to start with the Nigerian Police Force, and by way of caveat state that not all members of this institution are corrupt but majority of them are. And the ratio for this assertion is not far fetched, from the moment one applies to the Nigerian police force, there is this natural presumption that you are enrolled into the " bribery and fraudulently corrupt " Inn. Even the new born, the devil and regrettably God Himself is fully aware that the Nigerian Police is more of a bribery service than the service of protection of lives and properties. Deductively and from peculiar practices of the Nigerian police, it is evident that the police is long on recess on the job of securing the lives and Commonwealth of the state.

Because of rapidly growing rate of unemployment and poverty in our land caused by lack of opportunities and enabling environment for innovations and ideas to thrive, so many young people have found a new direction of hope and quick answers through the popular online presence called "WORKING or YAHOO". These guys are not only pushed to committing crime against the international community and humanity but also against the dignity and honour of Nigeria as a nation. In a civilized clime, the Police Force should have intelligence insight and professional efficiency to curtail the crime but in Nigeria the reverse is the convenient story as the" WORKING BOYS" are now the highest paying agency of the Police Force. Senior officers harbour and aide the "BOYS" for more profitability in business. This applies also to bank managers. Nigeria needs a special monitoring team to sanitize the dirty and messed up system in the police force.

Now we go to the road: "Road Blocks", " Road Recklessness " and many other "Road Irresponsibilities. On your way from Lagos to Ibadan to Akure, to Kogi to Abuja, you will experience a lot of funny men called police officers whose main job and duty on the way is solely to collect N100 or mere N50, sometimes thousands of Naria depending on how they are able to manipulate you, at the expense of securing lives on the highways. I have also come across good police officers and have always tried to show them their desired honour. I have always wondered how these corrupt officers can ever detect criminals since all "faithful tithe payers"  whether criminals or law abiding would have been issued FREE PASS signal. Our roads are not just safe, any thief could pass, any terrorist can easily pass with a safe journey wishes from a well bribed officer or team of officers and any thing can happen anytime on our way.

For the VIO, the worse is the case as in some places it is now an established precedent that you will be issued a white shirt of paper as receipt for a N100 bribe in place of your documents and vehicle papers. There is neither any serious inspection of your vehicle nor any offense committed if you have " settled the men on white and black uniform ".  And everyday many lives are crashed and crossed to the grave on our roads for the gross omission of those responsible for ensuring road worthiness of the cars causing such accidents. Drivers overload both human beings and goods alike against the capacity of the cars, yet Road Safety Corps stand ashamed with dirty money in hands while the VIOs and Police risk their lives on the highway only trying to stop vehicles to drop into the N100 tank, a tank of greed that is never filled nor full.

What is more than the case of our collective collaboration in the chain of corruption in our own land which has held us " down-backwards" and development stagnant for so long. In fact, WE THE PEOPLE look for every slightest chance to induce these wicked uniformed men with unnecessary bribes. We feed, intertwine and mortgage our future with corrupt dispositions yet we see every trash of opportunity to blame the government. We are a people that want "magic development and miracle leadership" but life is not an accidental ceremony, every serious invention or occurrence is a deliberate design of a people.

The fact that I impliedly exonerated the Nigerin Army from this widely known crime of bribery and corruption is not an identification of the Nigerian Army as a corrupt free institution for I can still codedly take you to some of the locations where some members of the Armed Forces collect the "normal road money" without remorse or sham.

It may in the long run, not even be the case of poor funding of the security agencies that is the main challenge but primitive greed and a trace of corrupt deposit in our DNA. If not, are the American soldiers or other well behaved security officers in other part of the world with civilized and professional savvies paid with Heaven's currency? It is just passion for service to humanity, patriotism to nation and faithfulness to God.

It will be a blessing of honour to our nation if we revert to this idea of CHANGING OUR MINDSET AND HAVING A MENTAL REVOLUTION. Without a mental revolution, our case is buried in perpetual pity. We must change our orientation, we must understand that been the richest is never the same as been the most impactful. A man's happiness can only be drawn from an innermost satisfaction that comes from fulfilling and achieving an impact with what you have passion to do legitimately.

I am pretty sure that critics will find this piece as an interesting charter of errors, and  I welcome your opinions with a wide open mind to learning and robust engagement from you.
Let me also use this opportunity to appreciate all honest and sincere Officers of the Nigerian Security Agencies: your work just like the Teacher, the Medical Doctor, are duties unto humanity, which is sufficiently rewardable by God and nature.

Ekpa, Stanley EkpaSnr
Director, National Anti-Corruption for Development Network.

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