…Says Security Challenges Still Very Much With Us
Otunbalaje Adejare Adegbenro, an Abeokuta, Ogun State High Chief, is a security expert. The widely-travelled and well-exposed personality in a short interview with select journalists in Lagos, speaks on the security situation in the country, as well as the 2023 general election, insisting that the country needs a benevolent dictator as President to straighten things out.
Nigeria was recently ranked as the second country being ravaged by terrorism in the world. What is your take on that?
No, I disagree with whoever conducted the survey. In fact, that ranking cannot be correct. Who did the ranking and what parameters did they use at arriving at same? Definitely we have major security challenges in Nigeria, but to rank us second in the world, I don’t think it’s correct.
The ranking or any other such negative ranking will have an adverse effect on the FDI of Nigeria or any other nation with same ranking. It goes to show that the country is not safe, thus the economy can’t be stable, which in turn makes any investment in such a place highly risky.
But it is reported that the worst is over as far as security challenges are concerned, or what do you have to say to that?
Well, you know who uttered the statement. But how true it is I don’t know. Remember he is the mouthpiece of the Federal Government, so he is only doing his job by disseminating such information. Like the Americans like to say ‘I guess the jury is still out on this,’ but definitely if it’s true it is certainly cheery news.
However, the claim by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, while briefing the press on the security situation recently that the worst is over is funny and I disagree with him. In fact, this is not the right time to make such bogus statement, but rather time to call on every stakeholder to work in tandem for a safe Nigeria.
We Nigerians make mockery of ourselves and it’s a big joke. I get angry when I hear such claims. How’s the worst over? As far as I am concerned, Nigeria still has a lot of security gaps against terrorists, bandits, kidnappers and other criminal elements. If the minister is being truthful, the best thing he could say was, ‘We are working on it.’ That’s the appropriate thing to say. How many of them have gone to do on the spot assessment, despite being in possession of bullet proof cars?!
It hurts me that the Nigeria I saw while growing up is not the Nigeria I see now. When he said the worst is over, wasn’t there an attack barely 24 hours after the abduction of 32 passengers along Ondo State axis on Oluku/Owo Road? Have they been released? Even after his statement, haven’t the criminals attacked? We thank God that we are very prayerful people.
If not for prayer, left to this set of political class, Nigeria would no longer be Nigeria, because Nigeria’s security strength is about 1.2 million to over 200 million people of the country. Yet, out of that small numerical strength, so many are being used by Federal Government, agencies and the VIPs, and if you deduct that, you will be amazed that quite a number of our security officers are doing what bodyguards should be doing ordinarily!
However, the Nigeria Army, the Air force, the Navy, the Civil Defence Corps and other security agencies have been making tremendous efforts, which must be commended. I therefore urge the government of the day to give them good welfare packages for their efforts to boost their morale. In addition, I also appeal to all well-meaning Nigerians to support them, because we are all Nigerians first, while our tribes come second.
Are you comfortable with the suspected amount being spent on security and the level of success being recorded?
Well, I think that is a question for the Commander in Chief, C-i-C, of the Armed Forces, or the Service Chiefs to answer, or the National Security Adviser, NSA, to disclose. To the average Nigerian, it is baffling, if not dumbfounding that such humongous amounts of money are being expended by the military with little success to show for same.
I give kudos to the President, because he has done his best, but people are sabotaging him in his government. Anything Nigeria needs the President has approved it at the Federal Executive Council, FEC. He should ask questions and sack whoever is found wanting or not performing or who are corrupt, because the figures we are hearing is mind boggling! So, some people have to explain and those found culpable should be sent to jail. It is a pity that, in Nigeria, there are more corrupt people in government than the people in jail. We must change, as we are all part of this; and if we want a better Nigeria, it is better for all of us to change our ways.
For the sake of emphasis, President Buhari has done his part very well in the situation at hand and he deserves praises, commendations and several pats on the back for his consideration and responsive posture for the country and the generality of the citizenry.
Additionally, it gladdens my heart now to see the Armed Forces working together; I mean the Air Force and the Army. They seem to have found a synergy that has resulted in some significant successes lately. And therefore, I remain optimistic that we are winning the war, as I know the men and women of the Nigerian Armed Forces have the capacity to deal with and crush these terrorists if they so decide.
Do you have any comment on the coming general election in 2023?
General elections or no general election, the issue of security challenges is a major threat to the life of the ordinary citizens of any country and the world at large. The issue, I believe has been treated with kids gloves for long enough to be of concern! It’s time for decisive action to be taken against these terrorists and other criminal organizations giving the country hell.
As a Nigerian from formidable clans, if we may ask you, what qualities or traits do you think the next Nigerian leader needs to move the country forward?
The answer to that question is simple. A benevolent dictator, if such a person exists. That is better and best bet for the country now.
Lastly, do you have a word for Nigerians on corruption?
Well, thank you very much. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Chairman, AbdurRasheed Bawa, is a very young man who knows what he is doing. You can see his efforts and I believe if the government of the day can leave him to do his work without political witch-hunting, he will perform and achieve effectively.
I also believe that if the EFCC and the ICPC could be left on their own, they can be more effective too without undue interference from any quarter.