By Michael Effiong
Governments at all levels in Nigeria have been enjoined to take the security of lives and property seriously in order to ensure that the country reach its desired growth potentials.
The advice was given by Security expert and former National Co-ordinator, Police Equipment Foundation, Dr Kenny Martins while delivering a paper on the topic “Security Challenge and Implication on National Development as guest speaker at the 4th Annual Lecture of Integrity Reporters Newspapers at the Sheraton Hotel, Lagos.
Dr. Martins who took his audience through his own personal peace building interventions across the country including in Edo and Rivers State, stated that the present government has to do more because citizens have been doing their bit, noting that rapid development would be a mirage if the present state of insecurity persists.
According to him “Everyday, we are lectured that security is a collective responsibility. We are doing our bit; using tall fences and barbed wires to demarcate our houses, paying trillions of naira every year to hire security devices to protect our business, residential premises and estates. We also pay our taxes to maintain our three tiers of government, their elaborate security services and the Armed Forces. We therefore expect governments at all levels to play their part as well, in ensuring the security of lives and property in the country.
He noted that the lack of security in the country has far reaching implications on national development and he highlighted them as follows: loss of lives and properties, negative effect on the economy, rural-urban migration, rise in crime rate, wasted years (youths are forced into IDP camps or streets), loss of foreign investors, destruction of national institutions, large allocations for purchase of security and war equipment.
He concluded that while we cannot completely avert all crises, especially those that arise from natural events like flooding, we should do our best to avoid activities that could lead to crises.
In his words “The organisation like the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) should be empowered and trained to take over the management of the big crisis situations in the same way as the National Guard in the United States, to allow the police concentrate on their core duties of prevention, detection and prosecution of crimes and minor fracas while the military should concentrate on defending the country against external aggression.
Adding that it is not enough to merely borrow the US presidential system but we should replicate some of the institutions that they have used to sustain their democracy. Dr Martins then rounded off thus “Crisis is an ill wind that blows nobody any good, the earlier we get that, the better for everybody.
In his comments, Chairman of the occasion, The Boss Publisher, Bashorun Dele Momodu, who was represented by Editor, Ovation International, Mr Michael Effiong James noted that without security there can be no progress. He noted that the issue of security has become this bad because of the lack of leadership and direction from the government, especially the federal government.
He urged Nigerians who are unhappy with the current situation to express their discontent with their votes, adding that it has become a vicious circle to blame the government while the people are themselves to be blamed for voting for an inefficient and unfeeling government.
He then thanked the management of Integrity Newspaper for organising the lecture series which he noted would help to bring attention to the terrible state of security in the country.
Also speaking at the event, security experts Commodore Kunle Olawunmi and Mrs Tanwa Asiru drew attention to the tactics being deployed by the administration, they affirmed that the government needs to multi-task and think outside the box to solve the problem which has become multi-faceted.
Hon. Ahmed I. Omisore, Director-General BAT Foundation who represented Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt Hon. Mudashiru Obasa urged political office holders to realise that good governance is directly linked to the issue of security. He noted that when people in positions of responsibility fail to deliver democracy dividends, they are sowing the seed of insecurity. He urged government at all levels to pay attention to the issue of education.
In the course of the event awards were presented to some worthy Nigerians including Mr Seun Oloketuyi (Organiser, BON Awards), Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
The event which had top broadcaster, Deji Balogun as compere was attended by Nigerians from all walks of life was also graced by Barrister Yinka Oguntimehin, Asoju Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland who represented Aare Gani Adams.