By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The Director General of Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), an umbrella body of Governors elected on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC), Salihu Lukman, has said that time has come for security agencies to be made to render account of their stewardship to Nigerians.
He said also that officers of the various security agencies who have compromised by collaborating with the terrorists should be made to face life jail or death sentence, as punishment and deterrent to others.
In a statement he issued yesterday to lament the last weekend abduction of about 500 students of the Government Science Secondary School (GSSS), Kankara, Katsina State by armed bandits, Lukman expressed worry that with the trend of insecurity in the country, it has become evident that every Nigerian is at risk.
He alleged that there is more possibility that the enemy is within, adding that there are clear indications that a section of the security agents have joined the terrorists or are collaborators with the enemy.
“We need to challenge our security agencies to be accountable. Every Nigerian is at risk. The hard truth is that the enemy is among us with the highest possibility a section of our security agencies may have joined or are collaborators with the enemy.
“The situation requires thorough introspection by not just our security agencies but also imposition of severe sanction against security personnel, traditional and community leaders where kidnappings, banditry and all the crimes consuming the lives of innocent Nigerians are taking place”, Lukman said.
He suggested that those who are affected by the abduction, including the traditional and community leaders, police officers, within the Kankara town or in the routes where the GSSS Kankara students would have passed while being abducted, should be arrested and prosecuted.
“Every police, security personnel, traditional and community leader, located within Kankara or in routes where the GSSS Kankara school children would have passed should be arrested and tried. Similarly, everywhere such incidences take place, police, security, traditional and community leaders should be the first line suspect.
“They should be made to prove their innocence by producing the culprits, failing which, they should be convicted. Depending on the extent of the problem, there is no reason why corporal punishment covering life and death sentences should not be given.
“We are dealing with a problem that is worse than armed robbery. Our Governors and our legislators in state assemblies should really act expeditiously on this matter. But to be able to succeed, the capacity of states to enforce laws must be strengthened.
“Without any hesitation, anybody debating whether or not to have state police is simply part of the problem. As it is now, if we need to have private police in order to protect lives of Nigerians, nothing should stop us. In any event, what is left?
“As part of the strategy of strengthening law enforcement, questions of responding to challenges of criminal justice system in our states must be treated with the urgency required. As our states are taking all of these urgent steps, we must as a party, APC, take the recommendations contained in the Mallam Nasir El-Rufai Committee on True Federalism very seriously.
“There is no reason why after two years, the report is yet to get to the National Assembly. This is where the APC tripartite consultative committee, chaired by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo with both the party Chairman, HE Mai Mala Buni, Senate President, HE Ahmed Lawan, Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiala and PGF Chairman, HE Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, serving as members, can help the nation by facilitating consideration of the recommendations by all the arms of government.
“More than any moment in the life of our APC administration at federal level, this is the time when President Muhammadu Buhari is dearly required to demonstrate his no nonsense toga, which is what earned him the love of ordinary Nigerians.
“If he will move to arrest all security personnel, traditional and religious leaders who are suspected to be accomplices to the current wave of kidnappings, murder of Nigerians and all the organised crimes taking place in the country, Nigerians will strengthen their support for our government to bring to an end this atrocious activity clearly syndicated by callous citizens, which may be supported by some security operatives, traditional rulers and community leaders. Enough is Enough!”.