By Bolaji Ogundele and Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja
President meets army chief
IG laments poor inter-agency relationship
President Muhammadu Buhari has emphasised the need for synergy among the armed forces in the campaign to end insecurity in the country.
Buhari gave the advice shortly after Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Farouk Usman said that unhealthy inter-agency rivalry was hindering internal security provisions.
The President spoke when Defence Minister Bashir Magashi led the new Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Maj.-Gen. Farouk Yahaya, on an introductory visit to his office at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Relating part of the conversation between the President and Yahaya in an interview with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Magashi said Buhari also gave some tips on how to overcome the security challenges.
According to him, the President made it clear to the COAS that the nation’s security is under serious pressure.
Magashi said: “The President offered some advice on how we can go about doing this operation and the entire security of the country. He gave us a direction in which we can learn from his experiences and apply them to our modern operations.
“He (Buhari) told him (COAS) that there’s a lot of pressure on security.
“The issue of synergy among the security forces was also stressed and I am sure there will be a lot of changes as regards the security operations in this country.
“The COAS thanked Mr. President for giving him the opportunity to serve and promised that he will bring all his experiences to bear in collaboration with his colleagues.
“We assured him (President) that we will do our best to bring an end to the problem of insecurity in this country.”
The minister also spoke on efforts by the armed forces to restore peace in the Northwest.
His words: “In the Northwestern part of the country, you know that the more concerns we have are banditry, kidnapping, and other criminalities. We are taking the challenge, but you know, really, these are the constitutional responsibility of the police. “We are only to help the police and we are giving maximum cooperation in order to see an end to the problems in that region.”
He said the main concern of the forces is an insurgency in the Northeast.
“In the Northeast, it’s Boko Haram issue and we’re up and doing to ensure that we bring an end to this Boko Haram issue, especially with this development of ISWAP.”
At the annual ministerial retreat in Abuja, IGP Farouk noted that poor inter-agency relations had led to harm being inflicted on men and officers of the Police Force..
“We have indeed recorded situations were due to poor interagency collaboration, officers of the Nigeria Police had been victims of friendly fire from other security agents who responded to scenes of crimes in which police operation was already ongoing,” he said.
According to him, lack of cooperation by security agencies exposes them “to public ridicule and possible loss of public confidence.”
Farouk however pointed out that such development was not common to Nigeria.
Violent crimes, secession agitations at unacceptable heights
Also at the retreat, Police Affairs Minister Muhammad Dingyadi said the rate of violent crimes and secession agitations in some parts of the country had attained unacceptable heights.
Dingyadi noted that the violent crimes and agitations had snowballed into attacks on security formations and other symbols of authority in the country.
He explained that the increasingly sophisticated spate of violent crimes necessitated the deployment of all available security assets, conflicts resolution mechanisms and other peacebuilding measures to enhance internal security arrangements in the country.
The Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Musiliu Smith, also emphasised the need for security operatives to work together to achieve a common goal.
Smith said: “Synergy is absent where there is a lack of cooperation; synergy is absent, where there is a lack of collaboration; synergy is absent where there is an open rivalry. It must be noted that engendering synergy is a form of conflict management.”