Nigerians are still waiting for the President Tinubu’s security blueprint which they hope will erase all the agony of the Buhari years

Ayo Akinfe

[1] I suspect that crime is now among the top five sectors in the Nigerian economy today. Kidnapping has got to be up there with oil exploration as a booming business

[2] Nobody appears to have any solution to the crisis as the government is totally overwhelmed by the situation. To be honest, with 13.2m out-of-school children on our streets, I am not surprised that the security forces of overwhelmed. There is simply no way that 371,000 policemen can curtail the activities of 13m people left with no other opportunities in life but crime

[3] Most Nigerians may be unaware of the fact that the military actually has nothing to do with the internal security of Nigeria. Constitutionally, the army can only be called in by the police if they need assistance or back-up. As things stand, the army is actually the one hope we have as the under-staffed, under-equipped, under-paid and under-motivated police are in no position to offer any resistance to criminals.

[4] Just to give you an indication of how overwhelmed the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) is, in 2006, the United Nations indicated that the global average when it came to policing was 300 police officers per 100,000 inhabitants. In Nigeria, the figure is about half of this at 187 policemen to 100,000 individuals, compared with 396 in Algeria and 279 in South Africa. Indeed the United Nations recommends a ratio of one policeman to 400 citizens

[5] There are currently plans to increase the NPF strength to 650,000, adding 280,000 new recruits but alas welcome as this is, it is not enough to address the crisis. For instance, President Buhari once approved a new pay structure, meaning constables start on N43,000. This for me is wholly inadequate. Governor Babajide Sanwoolu pays mass transit bus drivers in Lagos State N100,000. For me, that should be a national minimum for public sector workers, police included

[6] When it comes to budgeting, the NPF only got ($70m) for capital expenditures in 2018. It is simple impossible to police 200m people with such a paltry sum. Just to put this into context, in the UK, there are about 5m CCTV cameras, with one for every 14 Britons. Do we even have data on how many CCTV cameras we need in Nigeria? How many cameras can you buy and instal over such a vast country as Nigeria with just $70m?

[7] Now, we have to ask ourselves if we are really serious about combating insecurity. For instance, about 200,000 policemen are on VIP duty. We need a law making this illegal. VIP protection should either be provided by the DSS or private security firms. Anyone who cannot afford the cost should just downgrade themselves into an ordinary citizen. No be by force to be VIP. Certain states also have religious police. Surely deploying these Hisbah religious police to combat insecurity, kidnapping, murder and banditry is 10 times more important than making sure people observe Ramadan, avoid fornication or enjoy a bottle of Gulder or not

[8] What has suddenly crept up on us is a massive surge in criminal elements among the Fulani. They are now the backbone of Nigeria’s kidnapping, armed robbery, terrorist and banditry industries. I must confess that I am not surprised as they have been the victims of the worst form of irresponsible leadership. Most of the 13m out-of-school kids are Fulani and the prospects available to them are non-existent as their leaders and governors are only pre-occupied with revelling in squandermania with the handouts they get in the shape of federal allocation

[9] Until we resolve our security issues, attracting widespread foreign direct investment will be an issue. I look forward to the day when an expatriate can come to Nigeria without knowing anyone. Just fly into Abuja or Lagos, get a taxi from the airport to his or her hotel and go around the country and unmolested. These are the kind of conditions you need for tourism to thrive

[10] Now how do we fund this security? I will propose radical steps that include: Handing security votes currently paid to state governors to the police, handing over the resources of Hisbah over to the police and abolishing state funding of all religious pilgrimages and handing that money over the the police