Oyetola, while speaking at the 2nd Annual Colloquium of the Sultan Maccido Institute for Peace, Leadership and Development Studies, University of Abuja on Wednesday, urged the Federal Government to decentralise Nigeria’s policing system to meet the nation’s current realities.
The governor who lauded the government for establishing Community Policing, argued that the effort could not yield good results due to how the system is centralized.
The governor stated that the constitutional provision that assigns the role of Chief Security Officer to governors ought to have provided corresponding empowerment and control of the security agencies to the same governors to enable them to perform their responsibilities as Chief Security Officer effectively.
Also, the governor identified poverty as one of the factors triggering insecurity in the country.
According to him, “inequitable allocation of resources which pits one region against the other; injustice which makes offended parties resort to self-help and consequently take up arms against the state; illiteracy which makes innocent citizens willing tools at the hands of unscrupulous elites and elements; youth unemployment which makes able-bodied; and educated youths susceptible to crime, among others” are responsible for the current security challenge.
Oyetola noted that security, governance, and sustainable economic development are the tripod upon which a nation’s prosperity and wellbeing stand, adding that security is the facilitator of the other two factors. He further said criminality has no religion or ethnicity.
While insisting that Amotekun is a child of necessity, Oyetola said the security arrangement is complementing the conventional security agencies to effectively tackle armed banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, among other crimes.
Oyetola said Amotekun became necessary because “the nation’s conventional security agencies are overstretched and sorely underfunded. The Police once confirmed the sorry state of its manpower when it said the Force needed 155,000 additional hands to effectively police the nation.
The nation’s security agencies as presently constituted are too centralised and too far from the grassroots to adequately provide the required security for the nation. Worse still, they are unfamiliar with the terrains where crimes take place.
It is our belief that our people understand the topography of their communities more and can govern them better.
“The nation’s expansive forests have unfortunately become the hideouts of bandits, kidnappers, and other criminals. With the establishment of Amotekun, the forests of the South West are now better policed. The issues that make Amotekun inevitable in the South West are the same in other regions of the nation. Other regions may wish to emulate the South West to put structures in place to rid their regions of crime.
“Our recent experience where the attempt to confront armed banditry headlong in the North resulted in their incursion into the South West and other regions that were erroneously perceived to be immune from the insecurity challenge is proof that each region has to be adequately policed for the region to know peace.”
Oyetola added that, “Abraham Maslow identifies security as one of the foremost of the seven needs of man. This classification is true for all entities and it means that security is and should be the first desire of man or any entity. The corollary of this classification is that insecurity is the first enemy of man or entity. Experts aver that security is a crucial factor in governance. Security makes governance, business, development, trade, commerce and every ingredient associated with governance possible and predictable.”
While noting that security holds the master key to planning, governance and sustainable development as the whole outcome could be jeopardised by insecurity, the Osun Governor was quick to add that the government at all levels must not be left alone in the fight against insecurity in the country.
Oyetola, therefore, called for collective and concerted efforts to deliver the security that ”we desire as a nation and as a people.”
He said, “Our recent experience in which insecurity has challenged education, peace, economy and other spheres of life has laid credence to Abraham Maslow’s emplacement of security as one of the foremost in the hierarchy of needs. This realisation underscores the need for our leaders and professionals, including traditional rulers, political leaders, academics, religious leaders and corporate leaders to constantly collaborate to brainstorm on ensuring peace in the nation. Security breeds peace, economic and other developments, political stability and good governance. The converse of this is that insecurity is a destroyer of these desirable indices.
“As a people, we must realise that it is only in a safe and secure environment that optimal local commercial activities can take place; foreign investors can be attracted; goods and services can be provided; infrastructure can be built and maintained; public service can be delivered, and social and political activities can take place peacefully. Therefore, the quest for a sustainable peaceful society must be prioritised as the collective responsibility of all citizens.
“Delivering security is not a task for the government alone. Corporate bodies and Non-Governmental Organisations need to partner with government to achieve success. Business thrives in an atmosphere of peace. Business concerns must join government to restore peace to the regions of the country.”
The governor also stressed the need to involve Traditional Rulers in the fight against criminality in the country.
According to him, the Traditional Rulers are stakeholders in their territories who know their people and how to penetrate them.
He added that, “Aside from ensuring that adequate funding is made available to this important institution to run efficiently, our administration considers them as critical stakeholders who must be regularly engaged and embedded in our inclusive governance framework. This approach has yielded invaluable gains in our determined quest to protect the lives and property of our people. Today, thanks to this invaluable partnership, Osun is widely regarded as one of the safest states in Nigeria”.