Compromising Security In Rivers


It is irrefragable that the primary function of the military across the globe is the defence of a country’s territorial integrity. And if the military does otherwise or abdicates this selfless but audious responsibility, it negates the very principle upon which it is established.
Perhaps, it is for this reason that Nigerians were taken aback when the Nigerian military, which had shamelessly displayed exemplary docility in its ostensibly unsuccessful war with the rag-tag but rampaging Boko Haram insurgents in the North East, recently invaded the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Orientation Camp at Nonwa Gbam in Tai Local Government Area of Rivers State to disrupt the training of the newly recruited personnel for the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency.
While a bewildered nation wondered why the military, nay troops of the Nigerian Army’s 6 Division would carry out such a Hitlerite Gestapo-type operation in the sleepy, rural town of Nonwa, the Army’s Deputy Director, Public Relations, Col. Aminu Iliyasu, unsuccessfully attempted to justify the invasion. In a statement in Port Harcourt, Iliyasu claimed that troops of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, while on a routine surveillance at Nonwa Gbam NYSC Orientation Camp, discovered an illegal militia training camp. He further stated that the troops met over 100 recruits undergoing military training.
The Tide is shocked by the outburst of the Nigerian Army, especially against the backdrop of the fact that the Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency is backed by parliamentary act duly enacted by the Rivers State House of Assembly. Its activities have also been well publicised in the media, over time.
The Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency was created to improve the security of communities in the state. And to give legal teeth to it and ensure its smooth operation, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, gave his assent to the law known as the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Law No. 8 of 2018.
In assenting to the law, the Governor had explained that the agency, which board was inaugurated on April 16, 2018, would support existing security agencies with intelligence and information for them to effectively fight crime and make the state safer for all.
At the inauguration, Wike had also charged the Board, headed by Rtd. Brigadier General Dick Ironabere, to kick-start the process of recruiting operatives for the agency. Following this directive, the agency shortly after shortlisting qualified persons, had also written to the Nigerian Army authorities seeking assistance for the trainees. In a letter titled: “Request For Drill and Physical Training Instructors”, dated November 12, 2018 and addressed to the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army (which receipt was duly acknowledged by it), the Chairman of the agency outlined the law establishing the agency, its functions and recruitment process.
The military invasion of the camp is, ipso facto, illegal, embarrassing, ill-motivated and condemnable in its entirety.
It is, indeed, strange and very unfortunate that an agency established by law to complement the efforts of the Police and other security agencies in security and intelligence gathering will be so mindlessly invaded like common criminals.
We say this because similar agencies are operating without any form of inhibition in other states of the federation like Lagos, Kwara, Kano, Imo, Enugu and Edo States. How come then that the military took exception to the establishment and operation of such agency in Rivers State?
The Tide, therefore, condemns the action of the military and urges it to steer clear of partisan politics so as not to derail efforts aimed at ensuring the smooth conduct of the 2019 general elections and, more importantly, our fledgling democracy.
We hold that the invasion of the agency’s training camp was an attempt to compromise the well-thought-out security architecture of the state government that would have contributed positively to the proper policing of the state.
We state with all intent and purposes that the security of the state should, at all times, be paramount in the agenda of every stakeholder against individual or group interest and, therefore, the Army or any other security agency is expected to synergise with the Rivers State Government to ensure adequate security of the people.