By TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI
As Nigeria continues to battle raging insecurity challenges, ranging from banditry, kidnapping and terrorism, many state governors are devising measures to keep their state safe secure and complements the efforts of the federal government and the security agencies who are apparently overstretched with fighting too many battles.
That was the concern of Kwara state governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq who last week called for increased presence of policemen and other security officials in the state to fortify the state and enhance its socio-economic development.
Already the efforts of the governor in ensuring peace in the state widely referred to as Home of Harmony has yielded much fruits as Kwara State is a relatively peaceful state, except for some isolated cases of kidnapping, cultism and armed robbery which is expected in any society as nowhere in the world is completely crime-free.
Speaking while addressing the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba who was in the state last week on a one-day official visit, Governor Abdulrazak who requested for more security personnel in the state, said Kwara is beginning to feel the heat of insecurity as many herdsmen who have been banned in Southern states have migrated to Kwara. This according to him is overstretching the security personnel in the state.
“Our challenges are enormous. Being a relatively safe state, security agencies tend to be comfortable with Kwara and that explains why they often take out forces from Kwara to bolster security elsewhere. For example, the Army has taken out most of their men to Northeast and we are making efforts to get them back. For the police, our need requirement is about 8,000-10,000 men but we have only about 3,000 now. Many officers of the two mobile squadrons here have been moved out. I am saying this because we definitely need more men on ground here,”
“The recent ban on grazing by Southern Governors and some security issues in our neighbouring states have resulted in influx of internally displaced persons to Kwara. In many parts of some of our villages, the communities are outnumbered by those that are coming in. This is a state of harmony and people are welcome but this (influx) is clearly overstretching the manpower of the Nigeria Police which is the primary agency for internal security. From Kwara North to Kwara South, it is an enormous task for them, so we definitely need and seek more hands.”
AbdulRazaq also called for improved collaboration among security agencies to sustain relative peace in the state, with the traditional rulers equally playing vital roles in strengthening security architecture.
“There is no chance for criminalities in the state because of the nature of security architecture in the state. We also involve and encourage our traditional rulers to work with the security agencies by providing actionable intelligence for use,” he said.
“We thank the Police authorities for the Police School in Ballah and the Intelligence School in Share. In fact, we had to put a transformer there few months ago to make sure we get the place working. But we are saddened by the relocation of Police Public Relations School that was here in Ilorin before. We hope you will look into that again and return it.”
AbdulRazaq who praised the police and other security agencies for making the state relatively safe for economic activities, added that the state is living up to its name as a State of Harmony as many Nigerians who have been displaced in their homes due to insecurity challenges have found a resting place in Kwara state.
“We appreciate your efforts for keeping this state safe. Now we have peace and people are coming to live in Kwara State. Now we have four airlines coming to the state and the economy of the state is booming, hotels are often filled and rent (in houses) are going up,” the Governor said.
“This points to better security, and I commend the security agencies for what they do to keep us safe. Now, people see Kwara as a safe haven and they are coming here to settle. The security issue is kept to the barest minimum by the police and other security agencies.”
IGP Usman Alkali Baba, for his part, said he was in Kwara to meet with officers and men of the Nigeria Police in Kwara command and inspect the Nigeria Police Intelligence School which is under construction in Share, Ifelodun local government area.
While praising President Muhammadu Buhari for the police reform embarked upon by his administration, the IGP said the issue of poor remuneration of police officers has become a thing of the past while the issue of pension for retired police officers is being addressed.
“I am here on a one-day visit to appreciate and give words of encouragement to our officers and men in Kwara, as well as tell them what my administration has come to do,” he said.
“The government of President Muhammadu Buhari is doing its best efforts to meet our needs. The police reform is also being pursued. Our pension, which is one of the bane of retired police officers, is also being looked at. We have one of our most important institutions in Kwara which is our intelligence school which ought to have taken up since in Share (Ifelodun local government). My mission is to get it take off immediately.”
Alkali said his administration is adopting intelligence gathering and ICT to check crimes and criminalities in the country.
“I have a mission and vision of policing through intelligence and proactive means of policing. Policing is key, ICT is key and training is key. With the three, you can sit down and police the whole state,” he said.
“It is our intention to do manpower development in the art of intelligence gathering so that we will be able to police the country not manually but through e-policing. We can do a lot with proactive policing instead of being reactive. We are asking for more support from your administration to ensure that the school take off. We are ready and willing under this administration to make the condition of service more conducive for our officers and men to better serve the people.
The IGP was accompanied on the visit by AIG Zone 8, Ede Ayuba; AIG Intelligence Abu Sanni; Kwara CP Tuesday Assayomo; and Force Public Relations Officer Frank Mba.