The fear gripping Nigeria about impending implosion and lawlessness in Nigeria has led to yet more call for the creation of yet another tier of armed militia drawn from villages across Nigeria to provide assistance to the police in combating terrorism.
What the Chairman of Nigeria’s Police Service Commission (PSC), Sir Mike Mbama Okiro, who came up with this license to anarchy proposal packaged as strategic thinking is that he believes Nigeria could win the war against terrorism by giving more guns to the citizens. He proposed the establishment of a Civil Security Force (CSF) to complement the operations of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) at the grassroots level.
The former Inspector-General of Police (IGP) believes that the Civil Security Force which should be an arm and under the supervision of the police, would immensely curtail terrorism and other criminal activities at grassroots or village level.
Okiro gave the suggestion on Thursday (August 15) at the Corporate Council on Africa in Washington, United States of America (USA). He was speaking at a lecture organised by members of the Corporate Council, including Nigerians in the Diaspora, who invited him to deliver a lecture during a round table discussion on Civil Security in Nigeria.
Citing the Civilian JTF in Borno State, Okiro noted that “the positive impact of the youth civilian volunteer group in Borno State justifies such reasoning.”
He based his belief on the principles of the American Homeland Security, stressing that the operations of the CSF should be in line with Bahama and Sri-Lanka models, which are under the command of the police.
The former IGP noted that after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack, the United States under former President Bush set up the Homeland Security and designed a National Strategy for Combating Terrorism – a strategy that seeks to defeat terrorist organisations, deny terrorist sponsors, diminish the causes of terrorism, and defend the United States. “This strategy made provision for a role for the American Public/Civil Security – based on the principles of shared responsibility and partnership with the Congress, state and local governments, the private sector and the American people,” he explained.
The security expert recalled that available records have it that due to terrorist attacks on villages during the outbreak of civil war in Sri-Lanka, the villagers organised themselves and formed a security group to protect themselves. “They were known as Home Guards; recognised and armed by government. Government created the Home Guard Service and issued them uniforms and weapons and they were under the Command of the local Sri – Lankan Police Units. In 2006, they were renamed the Civil Security Force, following the establishment of the Department of Civil Security, which was published as a Gazette,” he explained. He stressed that “it is important to note that these patriotic Sri-Lankans were volunteers (males and females), deployed in their home towns and villages, to protect the civilian population from terrorist attack.”
He told the gathering that “Nigeria is a veritable haven for investment,” assuring that “the government of Nigeria fully aware that there cannot be any meaningful socio-economic development without adequate security is determined to take deliberate and far reaching measures aimed at enhancing human security as a prelude to civil security.”
The PSC Chairman disclosed that he has three policies he wants to implement to enhance the performance of the Nigeria Police Force to be a people police.
He said they include crime prevention and control, along the United Nations guidelines which specifically emphasise planned police/public partnership programmes, such as Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC); police/private security guards partnership as well as mass public enlightenment on the need for every citizen to be security conscious and contribute to collective community security.