Pol­i­tics And nA­tionAl se­cu­rity

The se­cu­rity agen­cies should con­fine them­selves to safe­guard­ing the peo­ple


Across the na­tion, there are sev­eral un­prece­dented se­cu­rity chal­lenges strain­ing the se­cu­rity and in­tel­li­gence agen­cies.

Across the na­tion, there are sev­eral un­prece­dented se­cu­rity chal­lenges strain­ing the se­cu­rity and in­tel­li­gence agen­cies. From the Boko Haram in­sur­gency in the North East to the clashes be­tween farm­ers and herds­men, par­tic­u­larly in the Mid­dle Belt to kid­nap­ping for ran­som and gen­eral ban­ditry, the se­cu­rity agen­cies have more than enough to chew. How­ever, against this grim back­drop of ter­ror­ism, crimes and crim­i­nal­ity, some of the se­cu­rity or­gan­i­sa­tions pre­fer to play pol­i­tics by their open par­ti­san­ship and ra­bid sup­port for in­di­vid­u­als to the detri­ment of their con­sti­tu­tional duty of pro­tect­ing the peo­ple.

Per­haps noth­ing por­trays this dis­turb­ing as­sault on the demo­cratic process bet­ter than the open po­lit­i­cal cam­paigns for Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari by the Comptroller-Gen­eral of the Nige­ria Cus­toms Ser­vice, Col Hameed Ali (rtd). Ali is the Na­tional co­or­di­na­tor of the Buhari Sup­port Or­gan­i­sa­tion (BSO), an out­fit com­mit­ted to the re-elec­tion of Pres­i­dent Buhari. Mean­while the Nige­ria Cus­toms is a paramil­i­tary or­gan­i­sa­tion. But Ali has no qualms about his ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing lead­ing mem­bers of the BSO on sol­i­dar­ity vis­its to the pres­i­dent and more. He told some of his mem­bers re­cently, “We will be call­ing on you from now on and we will be work­ing day and night. We must do so be­cause we want to save our name at the end of the day and the name of the pres­i­dent for what he is do­ing. Our pres­i­dent is on course and all we need is to en­sure that we sup­port him.”

How­ever, those not amused by Ali are ask­ing ques­tions, many of them rea­son­able ones. To these we also ask: Even if the cus­toms’ boss is brought in from out­side to head the of­fice, is it fit and proper for him to

Un­for­tu­nately, Ali has good com­pany. In­deed, so many top of­fi­cers of the se­cu­rity agen­cies that ought to be neu­tral and pro­fes­sional in their ser­vices to the na­tion are tak­ing sides and are into more or less po­lit­i­cal ad­vo­cacy. In­deed, many in­sti­tu­tions of the state are be­ing de­lib­er­ately bas­tardised. From the Chair­man of the Eco­nomic and Fi­nan­cial Crimes Com­mis­sion (EFCC) who wears Buhari’s lapel to ev­ery­where he goes to the DSS which could with­draw se­cu­rity per­son­nel from top of­fi­cers of the Na­tional As­sem­bly ob­vi­ously for po­lit­i­cal rea­sons to top of­fi­cials of the Min­istry of De­fence whose ut­ter­ances are weird and con­stantly coloured with eth­nic bias and pol­i­tics to a zeal­ous Inspector-Gen­eral of Po­lice who acts with im­punity, in­clud­ing dis­hon­our­ing in­vi­ta­tions from the par­lia­ment, we again ask: Is what they are do­ing right?

Se­cu­rity agen­cies are vi­tal state in­sti­tu­tions which ought to owe al­le­giance first to the na­tion and not to in­di­vid­u­als or po­lit­i­cal par­ties. “We have all agreed to pro­tect this in­sti­tu­tion but the po­lit­i­cal par­tic­i­pa­tion by the agen­cies must be called to or­der”, said Se­nate Pres­i­dent, Dr. Bukola Saraki re­cently in ap­par­ent re­pu­di­a­tion of these un­to­ward acts. If the cur­rent politi­ci­sa­tion of in­sti­tu­tions is al­lowed to pre­vail, are we re­ally se­ri­ous about all the talk on build­ing great in­sti­tu­tions?

We there­fore charge the se­cu­rity and in­tel­li­gence agen­cies to direct their full at­ten­tion to safe­guard­ing the peo­ple by en­sur­ing that crimes – of any sort- are nipped in the bud. And there are plenty to en­gage their at­ten­tion. With deadly at­tacks be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced daily, they must con­fine them­selves to ar­rest­ing the wide­spread vi­o­lence across the na­tion. throw his hat into the po­lit­i­cal ring? Should the high­est rank­ing of­fi­cer in the Nige­ria Cus­toms Ser­vice dis­play such brazen par­ti­san­ship or what some have de­scribed as po­lit­i­cal trib­al­ism? Will this as­sault on professionalism help in build­ing the in­sti­tu­tion and in­stil dis­ci­pline in the rank and file? Must he owe his loy­alty first to the pres­i­dent be­fore the na­tion? How can we build strong in­sti­tu­tions that out­live in­di­vid­u­als in this man­ner?


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