Two key resolutions formed the plank of consensus reached during the popular monthly interview discourse, BOILING POINT ARENA, on Tackling Insurgency, Banditry and Kidnapping by the duo of Brig-Gen Olumuyiwa Okunowo(rtd) and retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Leye Oyebade.
First is that the Federal Government should as a matter of urgency establish a distinct security outfit having Forest Guards well equipped with helicopters, drones and other sophisticated equipment to aggressively dislodge kidnappers and bandits from their hiding places across the length and breadth of the country’s territory.
The second is that the Tinubu-led Administration should demonstrate zero tolerance for criminality by invoking maximum sentences ranging from death by firing squad and life imprisonment for kidnappers, terrorists and bandits.
At the well attended current affairs programme transmitted live by SWEET 107.1FM and via Zoom, the two security experts also reeled out other far-reaching suggestions on how to guarantee safety and security for Nigerians.
The topic of discourse was: “Insurgency, Banditry and Kidnapping: Saving Nigeria From The Cul-de-sac”
A Frontline traditional ruler, the Olowu of Owu Kingdom, Oba Prof Saka Matemilola was the keynote Speaker at the discourse convened by a Media Professional, Dr Ayo Arowojolu.
Gen Olumuyiwa Okunowo once held sway as Commander, Multinational Joint Task Force and later Deputy Director at the Defence Headquarters while DIG Leye Oyebade was in charge of Research and Planning at the Police Force Headquarters until his retirement four years ago.
First to fire the salvo was Gen. Okunowo who suggested that Nigeria should copy from the example of Kenya, Botswana and South Africa by establishing Forest Guards with a full compliment of Marine, air wing and foot mobile personnels to comb and police the forests.
He also advocated a reform of the herders practices to fully embrace ranching, just as he also canvassed regional and international cooperation to combat cross-border arms trafficking and banditry.
On the issue of imposing stiff penalties for offenders, Okunowo stated: “There is need for judicial reform especially in our trial process and punishment. The use of death sentence with public execution and higher punishment such as life imprisonment without option of fine is key”.
He also submitted: Government should court the services of retired but not tired, passionate, and versatile veterans in the Military and Police to deploy their acquired expertise to train upcoming operatives”.
For his part, DIG Leye Oyebade said the time was ripe for all security agencies in the country to apply appropriate Science, Technology, and Innovation(STI) to strengthen our Internal security framework as well as make ransom taking unprofitable for criminals.
To him, crime being a dynamic act is fast becoming more and more complicated with fraud related cases, yahoo and ritualism, there is need for security operatives to continually deploy superior gadgets to counter all forms of criminality.
DIG Oyebade stated: “To checkmate these criminals, there is need for deployment of drones, helicopters and other modern sophisticated gadgets to comb the forests to expose their hideouts.
“More importantly, our porous Bodders should be fortified by modern gadgets, to complement effective patrolling even as there must be a strategic intervention plan to reposition the Nigeria Police Force, to be able to perform its statutory and constitutional roles as the lead agency in the Internal Security architecture of this country.”
Oyebade also said the near absence of credible intelligence is glaring in the entire security architecture of the country, without which he said, no tangible result would be achieved.
“Intelligence is the backbone to achieve successful proactive/preventive policing, rather than the current fire brigade reactive policing”, he argued.
On the way forward, DIG Oyebade stressed: “The Federal Government should endeavour to implement the contents of the Concluding Seminar Main Report submitted to Mr President by the members of the Senior Executive Course 40, whilst presenting the Report to the Federal Executive Council in session. The theme of the Investigative Report is: Strengthening Internal Security Framework and Community Policing in Nigeria: Models, Policy options and Strategies. The Report had cogent Recommendations and Implementation Strategies”.