Andrew Orolua, Abuja
Well meaning Nigerians strongly believed that something positive will emerge from the incident of August 6, 2019 in Ibi Taraba State beyond the deaths of Insp. Mark Edaile, from Edo State, Sgt. Usman Danzumi, from Taraba State and Sgt. Dahiru Musa, from Taraba State and two civilians in the hands of some Nigerian soldiers in the unfortunate shooting and the release of kidnap kingpin Alhaji Hamisu Wadume .
We should mourn and not be confused about the number of casualties, initially, it was reported that only four persons loss their life in the unfortunate shooting, but bodies of the deceased persons from the scene of the incident and conveyed from Taraba to police morgues in Abuja showed they were three police personnel and two civilians.
Their deaths should unravel hidden facts and the misery that are mitigating against the synergy of our security agencies in the fight against Boko Haram insurgency, the thriving kidnapping businesses, the herdsmen attacks and armed robberies to mention but a few vices that have made the state of insecurity in the country remain unabated in the last decade.
The right step to probe the incident has commenced by constituting an armed forces cum security agencies joint investigation panel, though many Nigerians thought an independent investigation panel would do a thorough job because as the wise says dog does not lick something in his head.
At the risk of prejudicing the expected outcomes of the panels of investigation set up by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin , this unfortunate incident is not only about apportioning faults, blames and compensation to the bereaved families but is about our security. How the country can be safe again from the state of insecurity in the land.
In the appalling insecurity situation we found ourselves in, incident of this ugly nature should be seen as a golden opportunity – offering itself up for the country to undertake a thorough and holistic reexamination of our security architecture .
Most important and urgent too, is the need to sanitize the security agencies and the system of bad eggs to enable create an effective cohesive synergy that would allow a harmonious coordination among the services, agencies and personnel.
It is not healthy for our security agencies to continue to operate under the intense suspicion of each other. What can be done to reduce the level of suspicion, is to built on trust and support .
It is not possible to do without suspicion at this level of our insecurity when those who survived kidnap attacks and had experienced the circumstances surrounding the commission of such heinous crimes, always points accusing fingers on perpetrators as armed men on military or police uniforms.
It is therefore, essential that a means is device to radically reduce or eliminate the use of police and military uniforms by the criminals. This is a herculean task but it is do able.
The military and other security agencies can not continue to operate under suspicion of each others against a common enemy. This type of relationship has its inherent dangers.
The unfolding comments on the matter under probe is a good example of an impaired relations and it demonstrates what bad blood can engender.
Just last Friday, in an attempt to ensure that the tension generated by the unfortunate killing did not degenerate, a honest cautionary directive was issued on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff Lt. General Yusuf Buratai directing troops on internal security duties to be cautious in their dealings with members of the Police Force .
He also admonished travelling army personnel to do so in mufti in order to avoid confrontations with policemen.
In a letter dated August 9 and copied to Army formations nationwide, COAS accused the Police of making inflammatory comments in the social media which he said was capable of inciting the rank and file of the Nigeria Police to “exhibit aggressive tendencies against Nigerian Army personnel .”
The letter , with reference number AHQDAIOPS/ G3 / 240 / 232 and written on behalf of the COAS by Brig. Gen . F . Omoigui , was titled , ‘Need for troops to be circumspect in dealing with members of the Nigeria Police’.
It read in part, “In the aftermath of the unfortunate incident involving troops of 93 bn , Takum and members of the Intelligence Response Team of the NPF at Ibi LGA of Taraba State on August 6, 2019, inciting and inflammatory comments are being made by the NPF on the regular and social media platforms .
“This is capable of inciting the rank and file of the NP to exhibit aggressive tendencies against NA personnel . Accordingly, all troops on IS ( Internal Security ) duty as well as personnel travelling in and out of uniform are to be circumspect in their conduct to avoid escalation . ”
I believed that as we wait for the report of the committee, the leaderships of the Police and Nigerian Army should work closely to cement the relationship between them in the eye of the public as our security agencies can not afford to operate in isolation of each other and achieve the desired results.
Presently, Nigerian Army are assisting the police in the maintenance of internal security in almost all the 36 states of the federation, if that robust synergy is lacking ,the result would be nothing to write home about. We need a security architecture to drive a robust synergy and not competition .