2023: Playing Politics With Security Dangerous  — Adegbenro

<strong>2023: Playing Politics With Security Dangerous  — Adegbenro</strong>

Otunba Adejare Adegbenro is a politician, businessman and security expert. The National Director, National Taskforce on Prohibition of Illegal Importation/Smuggling of Arms, Ammunition, Light Weapons and Pipeline Vandalisation, NATFORCE, in this interview gives tips on how the forthcoming general elections can be a success amid raging insecurity.

MUYIWA OYINLOLA was there.

What is your view, as a security expert on the level of insecurity in the country and what is the way out?

Please, kindly allow me to first and foremost condemn strongly the recent bombing of the Kaduna -Abuja rail and the breach of security at the Kaduna airport sometimes ago. Many other incessant killings and kidnapping and destruction of properties have intensified, leaving the government looking clueless and helpless and this poses a serious threat to our national security. To be honest I fear this might escalate especially now that we are entering the election year. To say that the country is under siege is an understatement. Right now, no one is safe, not even the presidency! No one knows who and where they will strike next. You may want to ask how far is the Presidential Villa ,the number one seat of power, from the location of the rail way bombing?! It was just a few miles away…..This shows how threatened we are as a nation by these miscreants called terrorists.

And more disturbing is, if such an attack can be successfully carried out in a state like Kaduna which houses the highest number of federal government’s security outfits, what then is the fate of other states of the federation which do not have the security strength that Kaduna has? These are all food for thought for everyone in power and until we take security matters very seriously beyond political interest, we might never get it right.

So, what advice do you have for the president and other authorities in charge of security in the country?

Over the years, my recommendations to the government regarding security matters has been consistent and I will say it again that our present security outfits are overwhelmed and not because they are not working or the service chiefs are not working but simply because the number of security men in the country compared to our overall population is very poor and we need a robust intelligent outfit with high level coordination and ordinance specifically mandated to check and control the proliferation of arms and light weapons into the country. We need a dedicated outfit whose primary mandate is the control of how these weapons used by the bandits and terrorists come into the country.

The first step to fighting your enemy is to disarm him because if your enemy is armed, sometimes more than you do then how can you fight and win him? It will be impossible. Until that is put in place, we would continue to experience breaches at a high level. Let me quickly add here that, even saboteurs in the security agencies of the nation need to be flushed out of the system to achieve results.

What do you think of our perception in this country as regards security and safety of lives and properties?

Our problem as a nation is that we play politics with everything including sensitive issues like our internal and national security as well as our sovereignty. Just last week I heard a honourable member in the lower chamber suggesting that since the government has failed to protect the citizens, everyone should be allowed to bear arms for self-protection. How could that be? How could he suggest such a worse solution? Have you thought of the consequences that might arise if everyone in this country is allowed to bear arms? Isn’t that going to lead to anarchy and doom? Most definitely it will and I will tell you why: people are no longer okay in this country, there is high level of hunger in the land, high level of unemployment, economic instability is dealing with us, inflation and lack of basic amenities to mention a few. The masses are bitter and they feel the government has failed them. With arms, people will take law into their hands and that will result in war.

You will agree with me that the legitimacy of the citizens is in doubt right now. There is misplacement in priority on the side of the leaders. The president needs to understand that security matters are sensitive and not for everyone or just any politician. Until we realise how to draw a thick line between politics and national security, we might never get it right and the insurgency might just never end. The worst is that the security challenges we are facing right now have become a cash cow for some people and I am wondering how we get to this point?! We are indeed exposing ourselves and endangering our dear nation. We live in an extraordinary time and you see the kinds of global war going on across the world. So, no reasonable government or leader will want to endanger his nation thereby leaving it vulnerable to security threats just for selfish interest. It’s unheard of!

Don’t you feel the security challenges would affect the general election in 2023?

Most definitely, I think if we don’t do something drastic now the general elections in 2023 would be marred by insecurity and terrorism. All pointers are clear and we have seen the danger and where it might lead to. INEC is already raising alarm and that is a cause to worry about. How do you conduct elections in a turbulent society? We need to do something drastic, sentiment and interest aside before the nation becomes totally ungovernable.

The irony of the whole thing is that those in power and even the national assembly members will be going for re-election, now tell me how do you get re-elected when you cannot solve security challenges, when you cannot pass a security Bill that will better the lives of the people and even create a peaceful atmosphere for you to run for re-election.

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If we don’t do something drastic now, the general elections in 2023 would be marred by insecurity and terrorism


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