。。。Says solution to insecurity is to set up a National Task-force
。。。Says Corruption can be rooted out in Nigeria if corruption- fighting agencies are not headed by police
。。。Blames rot in the system on Compromise
。。Decries the high level sabotage within the security circles
The Director General of the National Task Force for the Prohibition of Illegal Importation and Smuggling of Arms and Ammunition. Light Weapons, Chemical Weapons and Pipeline Vandalism, Dr Emmanuel Okereke is one vocal politician and administration who wants to see things done in a proper manner in Nigeria.
In this interview with Sundiata Post, Dr Okereke exposes not only the causes of the failure of the system but also proffers solutions on how Nigeria can swiftly get out the insecurity bedeviling the nation today.
He also touched on the letters written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Military President, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, asking President Mohammadu Buhari not to seek re-election in 2019.
Question: We are looking at some of the development in the country, the level of proliferation of arms, the herdsmen’s continuous and insistent attacks on states. What could be responsible for some of these developments?
Well, if you can remember during the time of President Goodluck Jonathan, he said that there are members of Boko Haram in his cabinet-this includes the army and other security agencies. So we are always making a mistake talking about the Fulani herdsmen. Fulani Herdsmen are not our problem.The Moment you have terrorism in a country it, thay can go to any length to carry out their evil acts. These people they call Fulani herdsmen are not fulani herdsmen. We’ve been living peacefully with Fulani herdsmen since ages, we have not seen them killing people. So why would they suddenly change and start killing people today? What are their grievances that they will start killing people over night, invading and burning houses and slaughtering people.
You should know they are not Fulani herdsmen. It is a problem of terrorism. Those people you see are members of Boko Haram. But we are making a mistake when we know there is insecurity in the country and we try to indict a tribe and call it names. It is not true! I say it categorically that they are not Fulani herdsmen. If you know Fulani people, they are very stingy. No Fulani man can sale ten cows to buy one AK-47, and we know that the AK-47 is not sold in open market. You can’t tell me that if i give you money to go and buy AK-47 that you know where you can buy it. You can’t even see single barrel talkless of AK-47, so the people that buy AK-47 are not common people. Most of them are security men, multi-billionaires, former ministers, governors and so on. They are the owners of those guns.
Most of those gun you see are owned by those who were in the cabinet of Goodluck Jonathan who are trying to discredit the government. So we have to stand up on our feet and fight this terrorists and stop accusing Fulani herdsmen. What is Fulani herdsmen looking for by evading people houses, killing a whole community?
Now what of in Adamawa where they finished killing and later landed with helicopter? Are you saying it was Fulani herdsmen that landed with helicopter and started shooting people?
That is why I said that security agencies have been compromised. Our problem in Nigeria is compromised security agencies. Nobody wants to do his job professionally. That is the problem we are having in Nigeria and it’s a very serious problem.
I read the call by House of Representatives to sack IGP and I ask, “is that the solution to the problem? If you sack IG and bring another one, the same “magana” continues. For your information, the architect of insecurity in Nigeria today are the Divisional Police Officers (DPOs), Area Commanders, Commissioner of Police, DIGs and AIGs. You have to pass through these people before you see IG. If IG gives “Order” and these people don’t want the order to scale through they will sit on it.
Let me tell you, “IG gave us signal in October 2017, but that signal hasn’t seen the light of the day till today. ‘”We wanted to search one house and the people sent a petition to AIG and carried “Ghana Must Go” to him and our police were withdrawn. AIG did that because of personal interest. He asked me to go back to IGP to clarify my signal. These people will still go back to IG and poison his mind. So sabotage is too much in Nigeria and more pronounced in security circle.
The Commissioners of Police receive returns from DPOs, Area Commanders and so on. So if we want to sack IG, we should start from DPOs, Commissioners, DIG’s, AIGs before talking about IG. If you sack IGP the same problem will persist.
My view is that the cause of the failure is compromise. These DPO’s, Area Commanders and Commissioners know the owners of the cows whose boys are carrying 50 AK-47. You know that those cattle rearers are not the owners of those cows you see them with. Get them out let them tell Nigerians who their Ogas are. Their Ogas should come for questioning let them tell Nigerians how they acquired AK-47 for these boys. It is a simple mathematics but we are beating about the bush. So let us stop deceiving Nigerians about Fulani herdsmen.
They have to investigate the matter and find a very common solution and that solution is to Inaugurate National Task Force on the Prohibition of Illegal Importation of Firearms, Smuggling and Kidnapping because this is capable of creating 3,000 jobs in each local government and for those 3000 jobs, somebody from Calabar cannot go to Imo and work in the local government, no, unless you have been living in that community.
The good thing about it is that the indigenes know everybody by their faces. Any day you see strange faces, you blow alarm. You people will first do something before security agencies come, that is the only way we can return peace to Nigeria.
Question: Sir, let’s look at 2019 Sir,some people are saying the President should not even return, bcos the economy is worse off, corruption is perpetrated with impunity. Letters have been flying- Obasanjo has written, IBB has written that the president should not run in 2019
Cuts in: Those letters are idiotic, those letters are very useless letters. When he wanted to contest before did they write a lether that he should contest? Did they give him a letter to contest? Why are they giving him letters that he should not contest? What is their problem? If they have their own candidate they should present. Let their candidate go and defeat him. You can’t ask him not to run, they are not his mentor. He is not their servant. It is over-statement for them to write a letter that he should not run. Are they his political advisers? Why are they writing letter; he is their friend, they are all Generals why can’t they storm his house and say “Oga President” we don’t want you to run. It should be a private thing! It is something they can discuss face to face; if he listens to the advice, he will step down, if he does not consider it, he will tell them look, I am going to run. He is not the first person that run and loose election.
He has run four times and won only once, if he runs second time and looses, he will go home. It’s not something to make noise about. They know what they are trying to prevent- that if he runs and come back again, corruption fight will intensify. They are afraid because they have skeleton in their cupboards and he will decide to deal with them, that is why second term for Buhari to them is dangerous and they are trying to prevent him. It’s not going to work.Mr President should run and come back .
Obasanjo who is writing a letter, was he not the person who wanted a life president? After taking eight years, he wanted “third term” and then transmute to “life president”. If he had succeeded, would he be advising somebody not to run? So Obasanjo was not in a position to give such advice. If they had sense, they would have used someone else to offer that advise.
I am of the opinion that the people are not normal, if they are, they wouldn’t have made that noise because it’s a blunder. It is only in Nigeria that somebody would be asked to step down for another person. It’s not done, go and defeat me i will go home. After-all, he defeated Jonathan, Jonathan conceded. If anybody comes tomorrow and defeat him, he will also concede. What is their problem? What has the man done against them?
People say corruption fight is selective, there are bodies responsible for fighting corruption and the president has given freehand to those bodies that fight corruption. If they are not doing so, why will he be blamed?
Let me tell you, to win war against corruption in Nigeria, don’t use Retired General, or Retired Police, don’t even use Police Officer because Police have been totally compromised. Appoint entirely unknown faces, where nobody will call on phone to say “withdraw your boys”.They are the only people that can fight corruption.
The police should focus on its responsibility of providing security. Let them not be the head of the institutions fighting corruption, the moment they are at the helm of affairs there, forget it. One AIG that retired 20 years ago will call him on phone and say “My son, that person you are in his house is my boy, he’s the one that have been surviving me since I retire from the force. Please go back I will send message to you.You would be surprised that your police will be withdrawn and you will be stranded. They have done it to me more than five times. They withdrew the police that were working with me. You don’t have gun so there is nothing you can do but to enter your motor and go home. This is what is happening in Nigeria, so anybody who is telling you that Mr President is not fighting corruption is making a big mistake.
Let me tell you, “If Lamode who did not hand over to Magu is still a serving commissioner of Police and Nigeria is paying him salary, that is why you should know there is problem because police cannot investigate police”. Check all over Nigerian prison have you seen any policeman that is in prison? It is only the one that committed murder. It is because of corruption. One of the commissioners of Police in Lagos said it, check all these people they arrest, have you seen any policeman?
Why is it that EFCC is not working? It’s because EFCC is headed by Police, Chairman is Police, Director of Operation is Police, all those top people there are all Police. Staff of EFCC are denied promotion for the last 10 years. So they are not even at the helm of affairs where things happen. That is why there will be no success because the main staff of the Commission are not happy. They are being intimidated, given orders and nobody is protecting their interest. So I think what we need to do is to protect what we have at hand. We have to initiate peace, find everlasting solution. That is why there is need to fast-track the setting up of National Task Force for the Prohibition of Illegal Importation of Firearms, Smuggling and Kidnapping.
Question: Sir, there is this believe that Nigeria was more peaceful prior to the inception of this government than now, in view of Boko Haram insurgency and killings by Herdsmen. Why is Mr President seem not to be doing much in that regard?
Have you forgotten Nyanya bomb blast massacre and I think EFAB bombblast inside Abuja here? Recall the one in UN building, the one that happened between NICON and Eagle Square, have you forgooten? You know what happened in Bornu, Yobe, Bauchi, Plateau, not one not two. Let me tell you there is even more peace now than before. So there were too much problems that time you were referring to and the one happening today is being sponsored by people.
Question: Sir that was also the rumour when Boko Haram started that Jonathan didn’t pay attention because he was thinking it was sponsored by people to destroy his government. Aside that sir, these were the things too that culminated into the letter Obasanjo wrote to him, remember he wrote similar letter to Jonathan when it appeared Jonathan allowed insecurity to persist.
Cuts In: Let me tell you, Obasanjo initiated all those things. He is part of the cause of insecurity in Nigeria. Have you forgotten Zaki Biam? Zaki Biam was cleared overnight. Do you remember Odi? Do you remember the insecurity, political assassinations during Obasanjo? Harry Marshal. Do you know there has never been any political assassination in this government, even Chief Bola Ige who was his serving minister was assassinated and no answer till date. So Obasanjo should not claim saint. It’s when people are not doing his bidding that he will try to destroy them. It was when Jonathan started focusing on his own that he got angry. Jonathan’s loss of power was out of carelessness not because of Obasanjo’s letter. Obasanjo’s letter has nothing to do with this government unless if this government goes home and sleep. This problem is a minor problem that Nigeria has the capacity to solve, it will only cost money. When the governors approved $1billion people started shouting. What is $1billion? It cannot solve the problems of Benue State alone. If it takes Nigeria to spend $10billion in Benue state let no single soul die in the next 50 years, I don’t think it’s a bad thing.
We forget things easily in this country. This is somebody who committed treason, Obasanjo committed treason by introducing third term which is against Nigeria’s constitution; do you know how much he spent to actualise third term where all the coordinators; some collected N5billion, N4billion, N10billion. I think it’s high time government investigated him as to where brought such money. I am of the opinion that obasanjo should be arrested and investigated. When he was President of Nigeria what did he do? The road that leads to my community was not done for the past 30 years but President Buhari is doing it now. Enugu- onitsha road is under construction, Enugu – Port Harcourt road, the Ikot Ekpene-Calabar road are undergoing reconstruction but government of sixteen years did not do it. The worst is that Jonathan who comes from that zone could not do any federal road in that zone, not even the road that leads to Otuoke but Buhari is doing it.
I think what we need is development not sabotage. We should come together and solve the problem rather than blaming one another. Insurgency has come to Nigeria and we have to come together. If anybody is telling you if he comes in tomorrow he is going to solve the problem, that person is lying. It will even escalate. When people talk of election, I think there must be peace before election. If there is no peace, Mr President will declare state of emergency and continues. So it is better for Nigerian to come together and those who think they can remove him should come and articulate and bring somebody who will campaign and remove him.
Question: Sir you have said if insecurity persists, that there may not be election and it’s the government that has the responsibility to enforce the law and provide security in a country. What is the government doing to ensure that this insecurity is tackled head on so that there will be election in 2019? Another one sir, you made another point that the problem Nigeria is facing today is not insurmountable, that it’s just the capacity that is required. What is the incapacitation of this government?
Remember what I said about compromise. Without compromise we will conquer our problems. When the people in government and security agencies have been compromised,this is what you get. This insecurity was not brought about by Mr. President, it’s a system thing. Recall what I said about DPOs, Area Commanders etc. All these problems should be looked into. That is why I am saying that an additional body has to be created to checkmate and mop-up arms. You must not be a General or Inspector General of Police before you can mop up arms in Nigeria. It is a job you and I can do. When you bring these truck and wheel-barrow pushers into fighting this insecurity, you will be surprised about the information they will provide, you can’t buy it in the market. That is what people does not understand and those people have refused to go to Police because when they give police information tomorrow they will run into problem.
Question: Then Sir, that is the problem. Given this situation, where do we then start. A system that does not protect the innocent citizen that comes up with useful information.
This is what I am trying to tell you. Obasanjo initiated Civil Defence, so we want Mr. President to initiate National Task Force for the Prohibition of Illegal Importation of Firearms, Smuggling and Kidnapping. Which I am sure by the time they come back next week, the bill may go for second reading. Once the bill is passed, I can tell you in the next six to seven months, Nigerians will sing a new song because the most important thing is to stop them from having access to those arms and if they can’t have access it wikk then be useless.
So back to the compromise as I was saying, Let me give you one example. This one happened in Abia. Members of NATFORCE in Abia received information from Cross River that about seven trucks are passing by, some are entering Abia while some are going to Port Harcourt. So they monitored them and stopped them, parked them and tried to do their search. In the next two minutes, see Police Van armed to teeth, SARS Men appeared and started fighting those boys, beating them asking why did they stop them. Took them to Area Command there and detained them. They released those vehicles to go. This happened this December. They released those vehicles to go. So when the Director in the state heard it, he rushed to the Commissioner of police in the state. Commissioner denied knowledge of any such thing and called the Area Commander to make sure they re-arrest those vehicles. But those vehicles were not arrested and i know if they want they can re-arrest them , but they did nothing about it.
Also, when our boys started arresting bunkerers, the same Commissioner of Police summoned all the DPOs, told them they should not allow members of NATFORCE to work that they are disturbing bunkerers. What I am telling you is reality. That they are they disturbing the bunkeres and that the bunkerers came and met with him because you know what the bunkerers are paying to him every week.
So when I heard it I called him on phone he said yes, I asked is it normal, he said I am a bastard and he cut his phone. I can show you his text message here. So how can you hold IG responsible for the actions of such people? Is IGP aware of what is happening in Abia? I wrote a letter and attached our signal and sent to AIG for the past two months. AIG has not released security to them uptil now but what he said was that he has to reconfirm from Abuja. So how then do you blame IG? With this kind of sabotage in the system, how can you put the blame on the door step of IG? So what I am saying is that if you have to sack, start from these ones.
Question: Sir it is said that if the head is responsibly active, Its subordinates will kowtow. Don’t you think drastic action from Mr President would have sent signals that it is no longer business as usual to these men?
Understand the fact that Mr President cannot be everywhere at the same time. If Mr President wants to take action he might set up a committee to investigate. There are conditions to suspend and recall. If the suspension was made in error and the investigation reveals that, it is only just to recall the person because Mr President has no personal grudges against such person. You don’t question everything done by the President, he may not see everything, he can only hear and act on what he is told. Nigerians should put the blames where they properly belong. The issue is that about 80 percent of the people around him is not telling him the truth so blame them not Mr President. He is not a magician. I am of the view that Mr President is doing his best. President Buhari is a man who does not take side, he is genuine. God Knows why He brought him and why He kept him alive. If Nigerians know what President Buhari represnts, they will rally support for him and allow him govern for eight years, they will see the changes he will bring.