A civil society organisation, Network for Democracy and Development, NDD, has called for the fashioning out of a comprehensive national homeland security strategy to prevent counter productivity of security outfits created by states and local governments in the country.
NDD also decried the plans by educational institutions across the country to resume academic activities without adequate safety measures in place to contain the devastating impacts of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking through its National Coordinator, Mr. Tajudeen Alabede, at a maiden virtual press conference on the state of the nation on Sunday, NDD said that the pragmatic national homeland security strategy would ensure devolution of more responsibilities to states, strengthening of community policing and helping to achieve greater national security in a well-regulated environment.
Alabede maintained that the increased cases of criminal activities across the country has led to the proliferation of security outfits, with states and local communities setting up security outfits to complement the effort of federal agencies.
Warning that the proliferation of security outfits without adequate coordination could be counter-productive on the long run, Alabede said, “Government should also invest more in intelligence gathering, motivation and proper welfare for security personnel and ensure that the equipment needed to properly combat the nation’s multi-faceted security challenges are provided.”
Lauding the coordinated efforts of the federal and affected state’s governments that led to the release of the abducted students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State, Alabede pleaded that such feat should be recorded to secure the release of Leah Sharibu, the only remaining girl from among the abducted students of Dapchi, and the remaining Chibok girls, who are still held captive by Boko Haram.
He said, “One of the recent positive developments in the area of security was the coordinated efforts between the governments of the affected states and federal security agencies that led to the release of the abducted students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State.
“NDD, while commending the government for this feat, appealed for greater coordination among the agencies of government to ensure improved security for the citizens.”
Speaking on schools’ resumption, Alabede said it was discomforting that many state governments have not gone beyond merely issuing statements encouraging schools to observe COVID-19 protocols, leaving the hapless students, pupils and staff to their fate as adequate safety measures were not put in place by the federal and state governments to contain the spread of the disease.
He noted that instead of general resumption, there could have been a well-coordinated phased resumption in a way that would prevent overcrowding in the institutions.
He said, “The consequences of poorly regulated resumption plans amidst the rising cases of COVID-19 may be catastrophic. Nigeria has witnessed a devastating impact of the second wave of COVID-19, including the death of some high-profile citizens in the past few weeks. NDD is, therefore, alarmed by the plans by educational institutions across the country to resume academic activities without adequate safety measures.
“NDD considers this inappropriate as the primary duty of any government is the security and wellbeing of the citizens.
“It is an irony that, while the plan for schools to resume is moving at a high speed, the same governments are vigorously campaigning against large gatherings. This is taking place against the background of insecurity across the country making it all the more indefensible. What NDD expects is for the government at all levels to regard COVID-19 as a national emergency, which would demand that affected sectors are provided with all the necessary support that they need to cope with the impact of the pandemic.”