IN Nigeria, we routinely accept flimsy arguments because we neglect the devil in the details. Sometimes legislators too accept flawed arguments due to the sentiment and fear of “do me, I do you” provisions that are not uncommon in these chambers. I imagine these are the reasons why senators approved the federalization of more paramilitary entities called Hunters’ Council and Peace Corps. Otherwise, it’s hard to imagine how anyone would consider making hunters or other paramilitary entities the business of the federal government. These entities can operate under the umbrella of state and local governments closer to the grassroots where more hands are really needed.
Note that a few years ago Steve Oronsaye’s presidential committee looked at how to reduce the burdens on the federal government. Many agencies are duplicating each other’s tasks, a malaise that lawmakers themselves rightly identified, and since the federal government does not have unlimited funds, some agencies have been recommended to merge or abolish. Oronsanye’s report has not yet been implemented; now the federal government is struggling to adequately fund these agencies. In addition, agitations aimed at reducing the burden on the federal government and giving more responsibility to sub-national units are underway. Recently, lawmakers have identified certain areas and bills relating to them have been sent to state legislators for approval. While this is happening, the Senate plans to place more burdens on the federal government by adopting privately trained paramilitary corps.
In addition, the President recently received the report of the Revenue Mobilization and Allocation Commission. In it, more funds are to be given to states and local government areas. This means that if the new formula is approved, the federal government will have fewer funds to take on an additional burden such as new paramilitary bodies. Meanwhile, the individuals who created the Peace Corps say they want to improve the current state of insecurity. The reality is that the intrusive presence of these guys would only increase the number of people in uniform as well as the funds spent by the federal government to keep them. New paramilitary bodies taking orders from Abuja like the Nigerian police cannot do any new magic given the current circumstances on the ground. They will only inflate the federal government’s already inflated security bill with no real impact in our communities. The federalization of these paramilitary entities makes no sense from a security point of view.
Why do states call for a state police? Part of the reason is the contradiction involved when a state governor is the head of security but his state’s police chief is responsible to Abuja. The difficulties encountered in this arrangement were deplored by the governors; they see their people killed by bandits but they can’t order the police chiefs to move at the pace they want. This is a frustrating situation for governors. Placing more paramilitary entities under the authority of the federal government does not solve this, on the contrary, it adds to the problem.
The federal government doesn’t even just fund the three armed forces and the police. These security entities lobbied state governments to support them with logistics. The federal government also organizes special intervention fundraising programs so that they have the funds they need. Yet the armed forces recently told lawmakers they needed more funding. Faced with this, some want to hang more paramilitary bodies around the federal government’s neck. State governors would have to let it be known that they would not accept it. They should not tolerate new generals from some new paramilitary entities, who sit in Abuja, just to send men to their states; men who would then ask state governors to provide them with logistics as do the police and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps.
It was because of the difficulties of the current arrangement that the president authorized the governors of the southern states to set up local security teams. The other day, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State purchased 100 vehicles for Amotekun’s security team. With Amotekun owned and operated at this local level, some states have experienced better security. Other southern governors have done what Makinde has done, although they also help the federally owned military and police. States help, but they don’t get their money’s worth. Had they done so, some northern governors would not have threatened to import mercenaries to fight the bandits in their respective states. This is how serious the situation is; but now an unarmed, privately trained paramilitary body is making the fallacious argument that this will be a solution. Do some people think safety issues are the same as kids playing in the park?
Now there’s this argument that young people are given jobs through the Hunter Council and the Peace Corps. But should these paramilitary entities and the young people they employ be under the control of the federal government? They can operate at state and LGA levels where they will add more value to grassroots security. Here, governors will also get better value for the funds they spend on these bodies, as they have some control over them. Lawmakers have already recognized that centralizing our security architecture does not work. Why should some centralize it more?
In any case, if it is a question of creating jobs, the governments of the States already do it with the young people whom they put in all kinds of paramilitary uniforms. For example, Governor Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State this month inaugurated a paramilitary outfit for security purposes. Kaduna State also has its uniformed outfit in the form of Kaduna State Traffic Law Enforcement Authority and it can set up the equivalent of Amotekun if it wishes . The young people of these states are those who have been hired in these paramilitary entities. Therefore, requiring states to adopt the young people the Peace Corps claims to employ will make better security sense.
As it stands, lawmakers are passing bills that create new federally owned academic institutions in their states. During this time, the federal government did not fully fund existing institutions. Some individuals have created their Hunter Council and Peace Corp and they want the federal government to foot the bill as well. It is anarchy; I am surprised that some legislators have put their stamps on it. When this one passes, someone will get up again tomorrow, put young people in uniform and use the same blackmail argument of giving jobs to young people so that the federal government adopts their entity. Where will the cycle end? .
What makes these individuals believe that the government should foot the bill for everything they put in place? In the past, I have laid out the reasons why we should not give the federal government more responsibilities to wrestle with on behalf of the Peace Corps. Senior Peace Corps officers called me, rudely told me I was an “uneducated person” and generally hurled insults like touts do in car parks. That’s the level of quality these guys have. They do not support the point of view of others in a matter in which we are all stakeholders, but they want to be the generals of the federalized security services. The burden that these additional burdens become on the Federal Government will fall on every Nigerian, so I urge the honorable, forward-thinking and dynamic members of the House of Representatives to stop new bills in their chambers.
In the past, the President, General Muhammadu Buhari (Retired), rightly said that the adoption of the Peace Corps by the federal government would be a duplication and that in any case the federal government had no the necessary funds to take care of its security entities. The security situation in the country indicates that adding more paramilitary organizations to those that already exist under the aegis of the federal government will amount to simply adding numbers, rather than improving efficiency. strategic security. I think we can strengthen the police force and the army if we think we need more people.
I urge the President to stick to his original position, reject the bills and advise lawmakers to take them to their states where young people can get jobs in paramilitary entities such as Amotekun that any governor may wish to create. The president can also choose to discuss it during the meeting of the Council of State. There, governors who don’t want more powers given to the federal government in any form will certainly deal the deathblow to any new bills promoting centralization.
All rights reserved. This material and any other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without the prior express written permission of PUNCH.
Contact: [email protected]