Search Site: OnlineNigeria

Close



Crime in 2007: Okiro lied, crime is on the increase, says Ekhomu, security consultant

Posted by By Chioma Okezie-Okeh on 2007/12/29 | Views: 631 |

Crime in 2007: Okiro lied, crime is on the increase, says Ekhomu, security consultant


As this year draws to a close, a quick look at the crime situation raises questions of whether crime is actually on the increase or decrease as claimed by the Inspector General of Police, Sir Mike Okiro early this month.

ēHis computer on crime statistics is faulty

As this year draws to a close, a quick look at the crime situation raises questions of whether crime is actually on the increase or decrease as claimed by the Inspector General of Police, Sir Mike Okiro early this month.

But that claim by Okiro does not go down well with Nigerians, especially those versed in crime and security. One of such persons who vehemently disagree with Okiro, the police chief is Dr. Ona Ekhomu who in his rights is a notable name in security consultancy. He sees Okiroís declaration as self-deceit and a professionalís self righteousness which even runs foul of the noticeable indicators.

Police reforms were put in place while police commissioners of various states were changed. Robbers on their part mounted more terror on the citizens most especially those in Lagos. Niger Delta has become a living hell for the oil sector abductors who could not lay hands on the expatriates, their initial victims resorted to picking notable Nigerians, children and elderly parents.

The situation raised the doubts of whether the new IGPís reforms had an impact on the reducing the rate of crime.
In the face of all these, and contrary to general and palpable perception, the Inspector still made his claims that armed robbery incidents and other violent crimes have reduced. In his own words: "Anyone who is in doubt that crime rate in the country has reduced is definitely not keeping abreast with the crime statistics and the efforts of the police to step up the trend.

For Dr. Ona Ekhomu, chairman Transworld Security System and security consultant, the crime situation in Nigeria is still at an alarming rate. This he blamed on the change of guard and policies of past government, which seems not to be working. In a chat with Saturday Sun he highlighted the way forward in 2008 in the areas of security.

Change of guard
Crime has been on the increase especially with the exchange of guard i.e. government and police executive management. The infrastructure that has been laid down by the previous administration was really not effective. There was no long time benefit. Robbers are now more violent and frequent and the hopelessness and helplessness is even more pronounced now. Kidnap is quite high and seems to have come to live with us.

Whoever that is assessing crime rate should do that based on statistics and available noticeable. Itís about what kind of statistics we are looking at. The IGP has a duty to convince the masses that things are better. He can only do this based the statistics that are provided to him. Maybe the computers that his guys are using are faulty. I believe what he says because he believes in what he is doing. I know he is a professional. I do not think he will intentionally decide to mislead people but the real situation on ground is that crime is actually on the increase.

Beyond the police
We all have problem of particularizing the problem of security to only the police. The police are a very important agency, which is visible, but it is not the only agency. Adequate attention should be given to the other agencies whether they are carrying out their duty effectively or not. When there is a religious riot and people are killed, people blame the police whereas that is the failure of intelligence.

Intelligence agency has failed because they are supposed to pick up such thing and act quickly to avoid occurrence. There is a lot of misunderstanding of how security system in the country should operate. The police are not adequately informed by the people who are supposed to be doing this. Nobody wants to receive blame, rather let it be shifted to the police. It is not all question of policing; there is question of intelligence, and natural leadership that is morally bankrupt. People copy their leaders.

Private agencies
Private security cannot be a better alternative. We have our place in the scheme of things. We are for hire. The government agencies act on behalf of all of us. We only compliment the work of the police. The trick is for the government agency to seek greater partnership with us. There are many areas where we are far ahead of government agencies in terms of threat assessment, preventing fraud and security breaching. The mission of the government agencies is to react after something has happened. If there is no corpus evidence, corpus delecta then nothing has happened. It is the way they are set up and their regulation and the kind of laws that set them up.
We are more adept on the preventive side because we donít want people to suffer the loss. The government agencies need to work with us in the area that we are best fitted - heading off the incident before they occur.

Security in 2008
Next year if we want policing to succeed we have to start canvassing strategic initiatives for the force. All these talks about importing Scotland Yard here and police reforms is mere talk because it is not going to amount to anything. When the get here, they are going to feel like fish out of water. We need to take a look at the practical aspect where there is need for an infusion of more manpower into the agency, there has to be strengthening of training in the agency. I am not talking of oversea courses, as it is an excuse to extort money from the government and do shopping. The training is right here. Anything you can learn oversea is taught in Nigeria.

The police should steer clear of pre-colonial policing as the people you are policing are in the jet age. That is why no major assassination case has ever been solved because the feasibility does not exist. There is need to go to a forensic standard again, because what is happening right now is cut and nail detective approach which has not served us well. When you come before the judge with no forensic evidence, you only rely on confession which when the suspect gets to court he would recount. The judge would end up throwing away the case. What we have in Nigeria is a demoralized police force that is why the criminals are in control. IGP should go to a more strategic level. Right now we are so bugged down with tactical issues. Why are robbers killing policemen, why are they shooting at vehicles. It is not all about armored vehicles. Nigerians are down to naira and kobo, down to mechanizing level.

Donít negotiate with criminals
If a guy is a criminal you should punish such by his crime. You should not sit down and negotiate with criminals. But there are people who say that the problem in Niger Delta is not that of crime but politics. The Niger Deltans are arguing that if they do not perpetrate violence, that they would not be heard. Violence is a fact of life but there is what we call pure crime being committed in Niger Delta. There are many forms of legislative protest that are available to a population who feels marginalized or oppressed. Somebody who kidnaps the chairman of the state electoral commission is not protesting.

That is evil itself. It should be condemned and punished. All those kidnappers, whenever they are caught, they should be brought to book and punished severely. If the firing squad is appropriate for them, they should be given one. There are many forms of legislative protest. I heard some people still complain till today that many years ago that the former president ordered troops to attack Odi when a number of policemen were kidnapped and killed. I stand by that decision. I totally support that decision. I do not waiver one inch. Very appropriate to the offence that was committed by the population. Let us not be too sentimental in things because people make idle comments.

Individual participation for a safe Nigeria
The key to being safe is individual participation for personal security. Nigerians must be responsible for their own safety. There is no government that can guarantee 100% security, even in US you have to live in a good neighborhood if you donít want to hear gunshots or be shot at. Even in your good neighborhood you must get security in your building. Your valuables and your life are precious. You must fight hard to protect them. You are only one out of the 140 million Nigerian whom the government is answerable to.

And for the government being concerned is not enough, you have to influence issues. They are to provide the funding and standard with which to judge the performance of security agencies. We need to go away from trying to maintain the status quo when it is not serving us. The government has to understand that if people and investors are afraid, there would be no investment. Go to the embassies and see Nigerians lined up from morning to night. They fight to get out of the country, meanwhile Nigeria is heaven on earth.

Read Full Story Here.... :
Leave Comment Here :