…To decentralise police operations
By Lawrence Olaoye
In order to strengthen national security, the federal government has perfected plans to decentralize the operations of the Nigeria Police in the country so as to guarantee greater access to information.
Briefing newsmen after the monthly National Economic Council (NEC) meeting chaired by the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, the National Security Adviser (NSA) to the President, Maj. Gen. Baba-Gana Monguno (rtd) said he intimated the Council, on behalf of the security agencies both operational and intelligence, on the developments in the country.
The NSA said he impressed it upon the Council the need for states and the federal government to deal with the nation’s insecurity challenges in a more collaborative and collective manner.
He said “These threats are increasingly asymmetric in nature and I stressed upon the need the deal with these problems in a more collective manner. It is true that it is the responsibility of the security agencies to deal with these threats, but the complexities of insecurity in the 21st Century are such that you need a whole of government and a whole of society approach in dealing with these issues.
“I emphasized to the council the need for the state to collaborate with and support the federal government in dealing with each individual threats—and these threats differ from one zone to another—and find a way of linking with security agencies so that we can find a lasting solution. These things cannot be overcome within a short period that is the hard truth.”
He continued: “What we have decided to do is to work on certain methods. For example the council decided that a committee would be set up with representation from each of the geo-political zone to be chaired the IGP so that we find ways of decentralizing police operations so that there will be greater access to information and handling this situation will be easier rather than a centralized and cumbersome approach.”
He added that the government resolved to set up a team, to be supervised by his office, to address the insecurity challenges coming from outside the shores of the country.
Asked whether the incidences of police invasion of Benue state House of Assembly and that of the National Assembly by the officials of the DSS did not suggest lack of coordination among the country’s security agencies, Monguno said “it is not easy to coordinate. Yes, all security agencies are supposed to be centrally coordinated but sometimes we have issues. But these issues are being addressed right now and that is probably why we are beginning to see some improvements.
“The truth is that we are dealing with a situation that is asymmetric, that is not normal, not conventional. In dealing with these problems there will be issues, inter-service issues, inter-agencies issues, my office has been trying to address in the last couple of weeks, hopefully we should be able to see some improvements.”
In the same vein, Deputy Governor of Benue State, Benson Abuonu, who also briefed newsmen, disclosed that the NSA, on behalf of the Security Chiefs in the country, had briefed Council on current security challenges across the country, particularly in the North West, North East, Middle Belt, South East and South-South.
On the Council’s decision, he said, “Cases of bandits should be prosecuted and adequately publicised by the States and Attorney-General of the federation should be encouraged to personally lead the prosecution.
“Council recommended that a Committee of NEC with representatives from the geopolitical zones, including Zamfara, Ondo, Plateau, Ebonyi, Katsina, Edo and Borno States be set up to meet with the
Inspector-General of Police, to determine how to ensure the decentralization of the police operations as quickly as possible.
Asked to speak on current security situation in Benue State, he said that there was improvement compared to the frequent killings experienced in the past.
“The security situation in Benue has improved as compared to the previous Military Exercise operation. Now many Internally Displaced Persons have returned home, the State is relatively calmed”, he said.
He urged the Federal Government not to withdraw operation Well-Stroke from the state soon.
Meanwhile, Senior Special Assistant to the President on media and publicity in the Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, at the briefing disclosed that the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Babatunde Fowler, briefed the Council on strategies for optimizing the contribution of MSMEs to the tax revenue profile of the country.
He said Fowler’s report on Value Added Tax (VAT) and Withholding Tax (WHT), indicated that states are owing N41 billion on VAT and WHT.
Akande added “Honourable Minister of Finance reported to the Council that the balances in the underlisted Accounts as at August 14, 2018 are as follows.
“Excess Crude Account (ECA) – $ 2, 250, 434, 918.00, Stabilization Fund Account – N21, 591, 091, 564.37, Natural Resources Development Fund – N 143, 479, 688,711.25.”