Worried by the parlous security situation in the country with existential threats, two security experts—a retired Army general and a Police Deputy Inspector-General—have asked the Bola Tinubu Administration and the National Assembly to make banditry, kidnapping, and insurgency a capital offence punishable with the death penalty.
According to the duo of retired Brig.-Gen. Olumuyiwa Okunowo and retired DIG Leye Oyebade, the Nigerian state should bring the maximum weight of the law to bear on these criminals in a bid to rid the nation of the scourge of kidnapping, banditry, and insurgency.
They spoke while featured on a monthly interactive session, BOILING POINT ARENA, transmitted live on SWEET 107.1FM and via Zoom.
The topic of discourse monitored by Persecondnews was “Insurgency, Banditry, and Kidnapping: Saving Nigeria From the Cul-de-Sac,” convened by a media professional, Dr. Ayo Arowojolu.
An Ogun State first-class monarch and professor, the Olowu of Owu Kingdom in Abeokuta, Oba Saka Matemilola, was the keynote speaker.
Other suggestions reeled out by the security chiefs to ensure safety and security for Nigerians include the establishment of a distinct security outfit called the Forest Guards.
“The outfit should be 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 Tinubu administration should demonstrate zero tolerance for criminality by invoking maximum sentences ranging from death by firing squad to life imprisonment for kidnappers, terrorists, and bandits.’’
Persecondnews recalls that Okunowo once held sway as Commander, Multinational Joint Task Force, and later Deputy Director at the Defence Headquarters, while DIG Oyebade was in charge of research and planning at the Police Force Headquarters until his retirement four years ago.
According to Okunowo, Nigeria should copy the example of Kenya, Botswana, and South Africa by establishing forest guards with a full complement of marine, air wing, and foot mobile personnel 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 said: “There is a need for judicial reform, especially in our trial process and punishment. The use of a death sentence with public execution and higher punishment, such as life imprisonment without the option of a fine, is key.
“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”.
On his part, 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.
”Crime, being a dynamic act, is fast becoming more and more complicated with fraud-related cases, yahoo, and ritualism. There is a need for security operatives to continually deploy superior gadgets to counter all forms of criminality.
“To checkmate these criminals, there is a need for the deployment of drones, helicopters, and other sophisticated modern gadgets to comb the forests to expose their hideouts.
“More importantly, our porous borders 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,” the ex-police chief said.
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 of successful proactive or preventive policing, rather than the current fire brigade reactive policing.’’
Oyebade emphasized to President Tinubu the urgent need to put the main report from the concluding seminar that the Senior Executive Course 40 participants had given him in 2023 into practice.
“The Federal Government should endeavour to implement the contents of the concluding seminar main report submitted to Mr. President by the members of Senior Executive Course 40 while presenting the report to the Federal Executive Council in session.
The theme of the investigative report is ”Strengthening the Internal Security Framework and Community Policing in Nigeria: Models, Policy Options, and Strategies.
The report made some recommendations and implementation strategies for the government.
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