IDABOH: I’M NOT RUNNING FOR DELTA GOVERNORSHIP

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Hon. Uzoma Idaboh, former Special Assistant to Governor Emmanuel
Uduhagan on Special Duties, who is also Chairman/Managing Director, Nelrose
Hotel Limited, in this interview with Shola Oyeyipo, denies speculations that
he his nursing a governorship ambition ahead of 2015
Would you say your exit from government in 2011 was not as a
result of any misunderstanding between you and the governor?
Not at all! It was not only me that didn’t return, even the former Chief of
Staff to the governor, Mr. Val Arenyeka, was not re-appointed. Although he is
still working for the good of the state – politics is turn by turn. Even as I
am not currently in government, I am still working with the governor for the
good of the state.
There are speculations that you are nursing a governorship
ambition in Delta, how true is that?

Though it is not that if the people want me I cannot be governor, but I am not
sure anyone would speculate that because it is not in my purview. I have made
up my mind clearly to run for an elective office in the Delta State House of
Assembly, so as to represent my people there. I have made consideration for the
Senate and the Federal House of Representatives, but as you know, most of these
positions are zoned. In order not to shoot in the dark, and considering the
fact that the politics of Nigeria is completely different, you can’t isolate
zoning. So, that is why I have made up my mind to contest at the 2015 state
house of assembly election, to represent Aniocha North local government area.

Considering that some people were thinking you may want to
contest the governorship, so why the Delta State House of Assembly?
In House of Representatives, we have four local governments that make up my
federal constituency. In the last 15 years of democratic rule, the Aniocha
North, where I come from has occupied that seat for 12 years, while another
local government; Aniocha South has occupied it for four years, which was
during the tenure of Hon. Paschal Adigwe. So now, the Oshimili South, being
Asaba and Oshimili North, being Akwukwu-Igbo and Ibuza, have been agitating
that it should rotate, because you can’t do 16 years and only a section has
been there. So, I am of the view that based on equality, their argument will be
very strong. However, in the federal house, it will be more smoother and
convincing, if an incumbent is asking for an opportunity to go even for the
10th. Like Hon. Elumelu has gone for two tenures now. He can even ask for 10
more slots, if actually he could convince the people that the longer I stay, the
stronger I would be. If you have a fresh baton, you are going to start afresh,
but if I go the third time, I  might be going to become the Speaker of the
Federal House of Representatives; I can be a House Committee Chairman; I can
become a majority leader or hold any other principal role in the House.
What would be your pre-occupation if you eventually get to the
Assembly?
I believe as an experienced politician, my main motive for going into the State
Assembly is that I am convinced beyond every reasonable doubt that the next
governor of the state will come from my own senatorial district and if I
represent my people in the state house of assembly, without any fear of
contradiction, my voice will be heard loud and clear, when I speak at the
legislative arm and when I also speak to the executive arm, because I have paid
my dues.
What do you think qualifies you for the legislative duty?
I have no doubt in my mind that I possess the pertinent qualities, having been
in the system long enough. I have made friends across the length and breadth of
the state; I have also served in various capacities and I know how government
works. So, if I bring these experiences into the state assembly, it will
materialise for the benefit of my people. I have a comprehensive study of my
local government area. I know what the people want and what their needs are. As
a grassroots politician, I know the needs of the 18 communities in my area. I
know the people and I have traversed the length and breadth of my local
government. So, I believe I will be serving them well, better than anyone who
will be in the race.
During your day as the Special Assistant on Special Duties to
Governor Uduaghan were there things you did to better the condition of the
people?
At that time, because of my cordial relationship with the governor – he wanted
somebody who he could call to do what he wanted and carry it out the way he
wanted it done. In my local government alone, I was able to attract over 17 key
projects. In my own community, I was able to attract community health centre,
street lights, I was able to attract the connection of our electrification to
the national grid. All the wooden poles were taken-off and concrete poles were
introduced.
The secondary school in my community was renovated, new classroom blocks were
built for the primary schools, and roads were constructed with some resurfaced.
Also, in other communities, like Iseluku, we were able to visit the hospital,
find out what they needed, and we discovered that their major need as at then was
building a staff quarters for the doctors, which was completed. Their hospital
was also refurbished and the facilities and equipment upgraded with new ones.
In fact, with no exception, all the primary schools in my community were
overhauled with new furniture then. We actually visited different local
governments and communities in Delta State to see what they needed, therefore
providing for the people. These jobs were not actually my immediate
responsibility, but the governor needed someone to monitor these jobs. So, it
was more or less a training ground for me to look inwardly at representing the
people.
With less than eight months to the end of Governor Uduaghan’s
administration, would you say he has done well?
I will say he has written his name in the political history of the state. It is
easier when you have served your people with experience in government. And that
was the case of Dr. Uduaghan and even his predecessor, Chief James Ibori. Dr.
Uduaghan was prepared for the job as far as I am concerned because he had
served at various capacities under the administration of Chief James Ibori. So,
when he came in as the state governor, it was not difficult for him to
acclimatise. When Uduaghan came in, I think the first thing he had to do was to
change the mindset of the political class. Dr. Uduaghan introduced discipline
in government which I think no one thought about. Punctuality in Delta State is
one of the major areas of discipline that he has brought into governance in the
state. As far as I am concerned, Dr. Uduaghan is the most punctual governor in
Nigeria. He is never late to function and everybody began to learn that. As
part of his three-point agenda, he has been able to work very hard to launder
the image of Delta State, which most expatriates thought was a crisis-reddened
because the name is akin to the Niger-Delta. So, these people believed that
Delta is the same as Niger-Delta, that it was just hyphenated. To a large
extent today, Delta State is very much at peace. The security in our state has improved,
as a lot of investment has been attracted, especially in Asaba. This is a
direct effect of the dint of hard work of the governor. Even people who are not
Deltans are now rushing to come to the state to invest. So, to a very large
extent, Dr. Uduaghan has done very well.
How do you react to his idea of Delta without oil, has it paid
off?
I was a pioneer member of Dr. Uduaghan’s government and as the Special Adviser
on Special Duties then, one of my primary assignments was to propagate his
three-point agenda, so, I did that across the 25 local government areas of our
state, through what is called the advocacy tour. As one of the three-point
agenda, I did this within the first three months of the administration. So I
can tell you categorically that the idea has been there. That is why the
airport project was put in place in the first place. Dr. Uduaghan was of the
firm belief that with the airport project, we can make Delta State a hub that
can attract investors, improve and increase the value of life in the state,
create new wealth, where people who have land will be able to create fresh
capital and start doing businesses, that’s happening now. Before the advent of
the airport, a plot of land in Asaba goes for about N300, 000, but I can say
categorically now that a plot of land goes for about N3 million and N30 million
and the airport has a hand in that. So, you can imagine the smile that this
singular project has put on the faces of Deltans who must have sold a plot or
two plots of land. So you can see, life has changed and the economy is the
beneficiary of this huge investment of government.
Your governor won the Vanguard Personality Man of the Year Award
on Uduaghan, how would you react to that?
The award is legendary, being that there are some awards in Nigeria that you
will want to agree that are politically-motivated awards or economically
induced. But this one, you will see that the award was given to Dr. Uduaghan by
Vanguard Newspapers, as well as Aliko Dangote and Innocent Chukwuma (Innoson) –
these are people with their own strong pedigree in the fields that they have
chosen. Also, the Vanguard Newspapers is rich in history and we all know the
publisher, Uncle Sam Amuka as a very honest and transparent person, when he
says ‘white, it is white.’ So, Dr. Uduaghan obviously has been recognized
international for his efforts in governance.
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Imohe: Nigeria Needs a Robust Mechanism to Stop Influx of
Illegal Weapons
The Chairman, Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PRESCOM),
Ambassador Emmanuel Imohe, spoke with Adedayo Akinwale, on how easy access to
small arms and light weapons is strengthening criminal syndicates and the
inability of the law to tackle it…
When was the Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light
Weapons established?
The Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons was inaugurated by
Mr. President on 23rd April, 2013 against the backdrop of the ignoble role that
easy access to small and light weapons continues to play in fuelling and
accentuating varied situations of insecurity in Nigeria and elsewhere in West
Africa sub-region.
The reality today is that the ready deployment of these weapons is
strengthening non-state actors and reinforcing criminal syndicates in several
countries. Terrorism, insurgency and other forms of violent criminality will
not be what they are, if weapons were not readily available to their
perpetrators. The affected countries and the international community have been
agonising about the security problems this situation poses and as part of this
concern, the authorities of the Heads of State and government of ECOWAS
endorsed the Moratorium on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWs) proliferation
and misuse in the sub-region on 31st October, 1998 in Abuja. This moratorium
was transformed to a convention in 2006 and came into force in 2009. The
convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons mandates member states that are
signatories to it, to set up programmes for tackling proliferation of SALWs. It
also mandates such signatories to establish National Commissions as the
institutional framework for the implementation of the convention. Nigeria, in
essence, has been in compliance with this requirement because whilst a
commission is yet to be established, the country has had a national committee
since the convention came into force.
The present presidential committee came into being as a result of the
re-constitution of the previous committee. As it is, PRESCOM’s current
membership assembled a field of varied backgrounds- military, security,
intelligence, law enforcement, diplomatic, civil service and civil society,
which underscore the multi-sectoral approach, which the President Jonathan’s
administration seeks to bring to bear on tackling the problems posed by the
proliferation of small and light weapons in Nigeria.
What are the mandates of the committee?
The committee’s mandates include amongst others, facilitating the
implementation by Nigeria, of subsisting international instruments and
protocols on small and light weapons control to which Nigeria it is signatory,
such as ECOWAS Convention, the UN programme of Action on SALWs, the UN Arms and
Trade Treaty. PRESCOM, in point of fact, is the focal point and arrow head in
the efforts by Nigeria to stem the tide of the proliferation of SALWs in
country. Our mandates include: combating proliferation of SALWs, working in
cooperation with relevant security agencies, evolving policy options, in
consultation with other stakeholders, aimed at eradicating the supply of
illicit SALWs, evolving policy measures, in consultation with relevant agencies
to enhance accountability by agencies of government authorised to bear weapons,
domestication and implementation of international and regional instrument on
the regulation of SALWs and bringing Nigerians laws against proliferation up to
speed with international best practices, enhancing through liaison with
relevant agencies of government, regional cooperation, alliances and
intelligence sharing on the subject matter of SALWs control and assessing
training and capacity building needs of relevant agencies of government in the
area of SALWs control and suggesting programmes to bridge the gap etc.
What does small arms and light weapons really means?
Well, small arms and light weapons usually are those portable arms that are
designed for personal use to be operated by one person, like pistols and
revolvers and rifles such as AK 47, certain categories of bombs and so on,
provided such weapons are capable of being used and operated by a simple
individual. Light weapons on the other hand, are also portable weapons but they
are designed to be used by a team, two or more persons working as a team. Like
artillery batteries, like certain categories of anti-aircraft guns, like
certain categories of bombs provided they are capable of being operated by more
than two individuals working or operating as a team.
Must individuals, who bear these categories of arms and weapons
be working for government?
Not necessarily, if you take a look at what is going on in our north-eastern
part of Nigeria now, the Boko Haram is not working for government but they are
armed with different categories of small arms and light weapons, so you don’t
necessarily have to work with government. There are state actors and non-state
actors. State actors are those agencies of government in Nigeria that are
licensed and authorised to bear weapons. Non-state actors are those who armed
themselves and embark on missions that are not authorised by the State, they
are working on their own mandate. I just gave you an example of the Boko Haram
insurgent operating in the north-east, we can also talk about the Niger-Delta
militancy, those elements were armed with small arms and light weapons but they
were working on their own agenda not government agenda.
Could certain individuals obtain licence to carry weapon?
Absolutely, certain categories of weapons are available for individuals to
possess but under a very strict licensing procedure. For example, aiming
weapons like double barrel, weapons that can be used for hunting purposes. You
have to apply and obtain licence and familiarise yourself with the licensing
procedure before you can obtain such a weapon. In certain cases also, pistols
can be available to certain category of individuals under very strict licensing
procedure. Generally speaking, a soft weapon such as AK 47 are not available
for public use or public possession, individuals are never authorised to
possess AK 47.
What necessitated the establishment  of PRESCOM, which you
are heading and what does it intend to achieve?
Very good, when you look at the security situation generally, not only in
Nigeria, in West Africa as a whole, I just talk about the activities of
non-state actors, talk about sundry criminal activities, like armed robbery,
kidnapping, rape and insurgency and so on and so forth. Do you know 
that  without the weapons the perpetrators of this situation of insecurity
have and  access they have  to weapons, you and I can apprehend them
on the street and hand them over to law enforcement agents?  But once they
have these weapons, they become something else, they become very lethal.
So, I will say that small arms and light weapon have been strengthening
non-state actors and re-enforcing criminal syndicates in several countries. If
you look at our West Africa sub region for example, look at the problem in
Sierra-Leone, in Liberia, the problem in Cote d’Ivoire, problem in Nigeria with
the civil war, just name it, how many countries in West Africa will you say are
immune to the problem posed by the easy access to small arms and light weapon?
I don’t think there is any that you can name, so, availability of small arms
and light weapon have been fuelling varied situation of insecurity in so many
countries. And international community has been agonising about this problem
for a very long time, starting with United Nations that came up with a UN
programme of action on small arms and light weapon, then followed by ECOWAS
that came up with ECOWAS convention. By the way, that convention started as a
moratorium- a loose kind of agreement that does not bind any of its signatory
to any particular issue, but a convention is more binding because a convention
has to be ratified by particular countries that have signed onto it. The
authorities of the Head of ECOWAS came out with this moratorium 1998, it became
a convention  in 2006 and the convention came into force in 2009.
With this in place within the West Africa sub-region, will you
say the law is being enforced the way it should be?
The truth of the matter is that if you are talking of ECOWAS convention
on  small arms and light weapons, the respective countries in West Africa
are at the various stages of the implementation of this convention. Here in
Nigeria, for example, we have had one of the things that the convention does is
to encourage state governments that are signatories to that convention to set
up their own country programmes with a view to resolving the problems pose by
SALWs to their national security. And, as a result of that, they also advised
(ECOWAS) the respective country to establish an institutional framework for
implementing the convention of small arms and light weapons, and they
recommended for example that each country must establish a national commission
on small arms and light weapons. In Nigeria, we have had a committee not a
commission, but that does not mean that Nigeria has not been in compliance with
the prescription of ECOWAS once. We have had a committee and the committee has
been working, ours is not the first committee, the previous committee which was
reconstituted, in the process of that reconstitution brought the presidential
committee on SALWs about, the previous committee was called the committee on
small arms and light weapons. I think that government giving us an appellation
of presidential committee does have its own advantages that cover certain
privileges. For example, we have very good working relationship with the
agencies of government particularly security agencies and government is
supporting us, I’m not saying that government was not supporting the previous
committee; government also supported the various committee but we are seeking
to take due advantage of our own proximity to the presidency to ensure that we
are successful in the assignment given to us.
Will you say the proliferation of small arms and light weapons
has contributed to the inability of the military to tame the Boko Haram
insurgents?
I think that obviously, the Boko Haram elements or combatants, are obviously
well armed. If they were not well armed ,it would not have taken the military
any challenge at all to rout them out, and the scale of weaponry available to
them poses a challenge to the effort of our military to resolve the issue. But
that is not the only problem, the other issue is Boko Haram is operating like
spirit. Where do you find it? Boko Haram may be right in your midst and you do
not know, is like you are fighting an invincible enemy. If we were to match
weapon by weapon, the Nigerian military has more superiority, the Nigerian
military has more weapon, but the problem is how do you locate Boko Haram, it
is difficult for you when you are dealing with an enemy who is involved in hit
and run tactics. He might be a member of your family you do not know, he might
be someone that is related to you, you might not know. So, that is a challenge,
a peculiar challenge.
Don’t you think there is need for your committee to collaborate
with the Nigerian Immigration Service to prevent the weapons from coming in?
I agree with you. That is the only way to go, for us to work in collaboration
with the border security agencies to put in place robust mechanism that will
prevent illegal weapons from coming into Nigeria.
Has there been any meeting between your committee and NIS?
Yes, not just NIS, the entire security organisation, Nigerian Police Force,
SSS, Customs, Immigrations. When this gentleman came here yesterday we are
rushing off for a meeting with Immigration Service.
Do you think these meetings are yielding results?
Oh yes! They are yielding results in the sense that we are trying to put in
place a mechanism that will assist all of us, the committee and the security
agencies to become effective in combating the issue of proliferation of small
arms and light weapons. Specifically, illegal entry into Nigeria of weapons
that we are talking about.
Is there any need for the Federal Government to resist illegal
immigrants into Nigeria as it tackles terrorism?
One of the problems that we have is that Nigeria has very vast and extensive
borders that are largely unmanned in several places. So, it’s very easy to find
Nigerians and non-Nigerians walking across in so many places, we have borders
no doubt. But how many of them have we been able to police to the extent of
being able to stop the influx of illegal immigrants into Nigeria and illegal
goods and service? I’m talking about contrabands. And SALWs are very peculiar
kind of contrabands that is fuelling insecurity in so many countries. So, of
course it will be very useful and something we are aspiring to; to ensure that
working in concert with border security agencies, we are able to put in place
very effective mechanism to stop this influx and of course it will require
having modern and state-of-the-art gadgetry or equipment that are based on
modern technology, to be able to put yourself in a position to contain the
menace posed by this problem.
Do you think the use of modern gadgets to man our borders will
restrict influx of illegal immigrants into the country?
The example you gave of the United States of America not been able to fully
resolve the problem of illegal immigrants tells you the enormity of the
problems. It’s not just with the US or Nigeria, the problem is everywhere. You
can man your borders, you can provide state of the earth technology, you can
even use satellite technology, you can deploy unman drones. US for example is
one of the countries that are using unman drones to monitor the movement in and
out of their borders. But despite that, there are still cracks in such system,
there are still loop holes within such system. What I’m trying to say is that
no given system becomes foul-proof. Therefore, what are required are
commitment, training and capacity building, and especially real calls to modern
technology to ensure that at least you put yourself to an advantageous position
vis-a-vis the enormity of the challenge that you are facing.
Since the inception of your committee, what have you been able
to achieve so far?
We have done quite a lot, although I will say there is still room for
improvement, there is no doubt about that. The very first thing we did when we
were inaugurated was to carry out an assessment, a review of the small arms and
light weapon proliferation in Nigeria. We did an in-depth study which we have
circulated to limited audience in Nigeria, limited stakeholders and thereafter,
we embarked on training and capacity building because we are interested in
upgrading the capacity of respective agencies that have a role to play in
border security in Nigeria and especially also in the areas of SALWs. So, we
have been organising and packaging training programmes for respective security
agencies ranging from foundation courses on small arms and light weapon to
Border Security Management, Maritime Security Management, as well as Security
Sector Reforms. . These courses have been organised and package for us by
International Agencies and UN-affiliated quasi-government such as Kofi Annan
International Peace Keeping Training Centre in Accra. That training aspect, the
emphasis has been to upgrade our borders security agencies in the areas of
SALWs control and it’s been paying off, for example, in the area of border
security management we have had not less than 110 members of the Nigerian
community benefitting from such programmes including the military and police. I
think it is an achievement that is worth mentioning.
Also, the fight against proliferation of SALWs is carried out in so many
countries on the basis of international protocol and instruments, and these
instruments derived from international organisation such as the UN, AU and
ECOWAS. As a result of that, we have been able to put in place productive
working relations with these international agencies, and we are doing so for
the purpose of been able to key into international best practices in the effort
to combat the menace that is posed by proliferation of SALWs. We have also
opened up working relationship because we have counterpart agencies in other
countries in West Africa. All countries in West Africa have established their
national commissions on SALWs. So, we have a relationship with them already and
as a matter of fact next month in June we are trying to formalise a network on
national commissions on SALWs in West Africa. We already have a draft statutes
for that network and when we go to Cape-Verde in the middle of June it will be
to ratify that document. That will now formalise the network for commissions or
committees on SALWs in Nigeria to become like one body.
Have there been challenges?
Naturally, there will be challenges but I want to say that the challenges are
not insurmountable. The biggest challenge regarding the issue in the fight
against SALWs in Nigeria as I mentioned are the very extensive borders that we
have and because they are extensive they are more harder to manage, so that is
a challenge. The second challenge that I think is worthy of mention is the fact
that the law in Nigeria for fighting against proliferation of SALWs is the Fire
Arms Act of 1959. In 1959, criminals were not carrying fire arms in Nigeria, in
fact, police force was carrying baton. So how now do we employ a 1959 law that
has become clearly anachronistic in tackling modern trends in the proliferation
of SALWs and related offences. So, the law is inadequate and that’s a challenge
for us because we desire to amend that law. We have put in place a team
together of legal draft men who are working on amending that Act. As a matter
of fact, they have already submitted to us the first draft which we have reviewed
and pass back to them.
Does the inadequate law make the committee less effective?
The truth is,  you can prevent weapons from coming in. But when illegal
weapons have come in and you have caught the culprit or when weapons are
misused in Nigeria and catch culprit, what instrument are you going to throw at
them to ensure that they are brought to book? I am saying clearly the law is
inadequate. That is the reason it becomes essential for the law to be reviewed
and we are already working along these lines. The third challenge in my view
that our committee faces is that of not been a commission, we are just a
committee, I will say in fairness to ourselves and the counterpart we are
dealing with especially within the international community that we have good working
relation but the fact that we are a committee and others have a commission is
kind of suggestion that Nigeria is not yet in full compliance with what ECOWAS
is prescribing in convention of SALWs for national commissions to be set up in
respective countries that are signatory to the treaty. So, when you are just a
commission, you are just a committee, the term committee has a ring of
impermanent to it that makes the people that you want to relate to express
certain reservation about whether or not you are actually a full member of that
body. So, that is a challenge, however, we are trying to find ways around that
problem by reaching out to all of them as much as we could. Since our committee
was inaugurated into office, we have participated in all programmes of ECOWAS,
we have ensured that we have reached out to as many national commissions as
possible and is a continuing process and as I mentioned to you, in the middle
of June, we will be going to Cape Verde again to meet with our counterparts and
interact with them. We are trying to put in place an amicable working
relationship that I think at the end, in the final analysis, should translate
into working in unison, exchanging information, exchanging intelligence, and
even carrying out joint operations in the areas of SALWs proliferation.
As you mentioned earlier, the previous committees were national
committee and this is the first time we are having a presidential committee.
Does this committee have a time frame?
No, no. We don’t have a time frame, incidentally our committee was set up the
same day as the other committees. We call it Boko Haram committee. We are
established on the same day and we are inaugurated by the President. That
committee was given a three-month duration. Ours is not it, we don’t have that
kind of time limitation. It supposed to be a continuous process. We are
actually working hard to ensure that in no distant future, this committee will
be able to transform into a commission and the job has been made simple for us
through the intervention of the Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs,
Hon. Nnenna Ukeje, even before our committee was inaugurated, she has crafted a
draft bill to the National Assembly for creating a National Commission in
Nigeria as the institutional framework in fighting against the proliferation of
SALWs. That’s what ECOWAS prescribe and we are lucky to have such a person
working with us, so, in such a way we are collaborating with her on this issue.
As there been any time your committee organises stakeholders’
meeting to enlighten people on SALWs
No, we are having national stakeholders’ conference coming up in June 2nd – 4th
and its taking placing at the ECOWAS Secretariat in Asokoro. The theme of the
conference is: ‘The trends and dynamics of illicit small arms and light weapons
proliferation in Nigeria’. The programme is going to be anchored by national
and international stakeholders. We have invited different kind of stakeholders
both in Nigeria and outside. We estimate that we would have about 200 participants
for that conference drums from security agencies in Nigeria as critical
stakeholders, up to civil society in Nigeria. We have extended invitation to
state governments in Nigeria, members of the academia, youth organisations and
women organisations the essence of this will be to sensitise them. It is the
beginning of our sensitisation effort to let them know what the committee is
doing, to let them know where the committee stands and to tell them their role
in the combat of proliferation of SALWs, the citizens have their role, state
governments have a role, local governments have a role, traditional institution
also has a role. And it is our intention to explicate this process to all these
different kind of stakeholders by the virtue of the conference that we are
having. But it doesn’t stop there, we will be taking to that conference, a
midterm intervention strategy and the purpose of taking it there is to validate
that document through the mechanism of the stakeholders’ consultative forum.
This is what other national commissions in West Africa have been doing. This is
what ECOWAS convention on SALWs is prescribing, and that is in a short term. In
the long term, we hope to evolve a national action plan on SALWs.
Considering your background, what advice do you have for the
military in the face of these daunting security challenges?
My advice is not just to the military but to all security agencies is to go the
professional rout, be professional, 100 per cent professionalism is what this
situation demands and being 100 per cent professional implies a variety of
variables. Military hierarchy must take care of your men in terms of equipment,
you must provide them with essential hardware to enable them cope with the
challenge that they are facing. You must look into the aspect of their training
and capacity building and development. You must look into the aspect of their
motivation, at the end of the day a disgruntled security man, a disgruntled
soldier is a liability. So, you must put in place all these measures to ensure
that they do not have disgruntled elements within your ranks. What I’m saying
now is true of the military, police force, law enforcement agencies;  it’s
true of the intelligence services.
As a retired military personnel, do you think the partial state
of emergency is affecting the operations of the armed forces in the North-east?
I can’t answer for the military. That issue is for the military to deal with
but I can tell you I have absolute implicit confidence in our armed forces, in
our security agencies to resolve this problem as soon as possible.
Could you please tell us your background?
I spent my entire 35 years career in public service in the security sector,
spanning different agencies. It started with the Nigeria Army in 1974 and then
the Nigerian Security Organisation (NSO) in 1985. In 1986, the Nigerian
Security community was organised by virtue of Decree 19 of that year, the NSO
ceased to exist in its place were created three different agencies namely, the
Nigerian Intelligence Agencies (NIA), the State Security Service (SSS) and the
Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA). I was privileged to be among those who left
the NSO to found NIA in 1986, our boss and mentor was Chief Albert Horsfall,
the first DG of the new agency. I served in the NIA until 2009 when I retired
on clocking 35 years of service. I was Director-General of NIA from 2007-2009.
Aside the intelligence aspect, service in the NIA also afforded me a good
measure of diplomatic and international exposure, with diplomatic posting to London,
and Washington amongst others. I would say my background is military, security,
intelligence and diplomacy.

Source: Thisday

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