Insecurity: Why Uzodinma Search and Flush Fall Short




While his advisers might have convinced him that acquiring 100 pick-up vans and holding a show before cameras was the best way to announce his readiness to combat the scourge of insecurity in Imo State, anyone with some ideas about security and conflicts would have told the governor that that show at Heroes Square was unnecessary and will do almost nothing to stop the bandits terrorizing Imo State from continuing to carry out attacks in the State.

The governor certainly has more security experts advising him than anyone in Imo State, and it is not in argument that no matter what little ideas I may think I have about how best to tackle this situation, I cannot compare to ideas that the many military personnel, police and other security experts at the disposal of the governor would have shared with the governor. But as vastly experienced as these security experts may be, what they may lack is that selflessness required to share ideas from which they expect to benefit nothing, but which would be solely for the benefit of the State and its people.

I do not think there is any agency or organization in Nigeria that has more vehicles than the Nigerian Police and its sister security agencies. If all the vehicles donated to these agencies are properly accounted for, we can be sure that vehicles are the least of the problems of our security agencies, unless as someone had suggested in the past; the police and other security agencies now dispose of operational vehicles in few months.

If there is anything the Nigerian Police and their sister security agencies deserve more now, it is for the rank and file to be motivated better than they are, presently. These operatives need to see how the family members of their fallen colleagues are being taken care of by the government or what special efforts are being made by the Police management to take care of the many officers that are in different hospitals being treated for injuries sustained while engaging criminals and terrorists. Governor Uzodimma would have made more impact if one of the first things he did as soon as he returned to the State was to visit the families of slain police officers and visit others who are in hospital. But, in a situation where your first response is to settle your acolytes by giving them a contract to acquire vehicles (the profit or kickback made by the go-between in the purchase of these vehicles may be more than the salaries of ten commissioners of police in ten years), you would have further dampened the morale of these operatives who risk their lives every day, confronting terrorists and criminals, because the inadvertent message you would have sent to them is that the more they die, the more politicians reap from their pains.

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Procuring another 100 vehicles barely one year after procuring the same number of vehicles for the same security outfit and without any explanation as to what happened to the previous ones, raises the suspicion that the government is more interested in showy settlement of political associates than resolving the real issues that fuel insecurity in the State.

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The governor's charge to the "Search and Flush" outfit to invade all joints where indian hemp is sold and to arrest indian hemp smokers also exposed a most embarrassing ignorance by the governor. The governor should have understood that the group behind these coordinated attacks on police headquarters and other critical security infrastructure couldn't have been a group of drug dazed criminals, but a very intelligent, idealistic and well organized group of dissatisfied, angry and mostly indoctrinated young people, who have adopted the guerrilla tactics of warfare. To combat such gang, you need more than the conventional approach to crime fighting to rein them in.

The governor said that he also acquired additional communication gadgets for the outfit, but some people believe that these communication gadgets may not be far from sirens and police radio gadgets, which are almost useless in the circumstance. For any outfit detailed to tackle the current level of insecurity in Imo State to succeed, they need more than the usual gadgets, personnel and strategies. The governor must understand that the rate and pattern of insecurity currently ravaging the State is different from what we had seen in the past, and more proactive and maybe, unconventional strategies need to be adopted, if we must have any chance of successfully reining them in.

Beyond acquiring vehicles and charging security operatives to crush those behind these restiveness in the State, the governor also needs to explore the carrot and stick approach to resolving these issues, just like his counterpart in Ebonyi is doing. Most of the youths involved in these destructive and criminal activities are victims of perennial bad governance that has been the lot of our country. The governor's boastful rhetoric would only inspire more anger in these youths and push them further into these suicidal affronts on State forces.

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More than anything else, the governor needs the cooperation of Implores to defeat these criminals. And it is very easy to obtain this cooperation. Just execute people oriented programs, roll out empowerment programs (not with rabbits oo) and speak to the people in a more loving and humane tone. Appeal to people's love and understanding and do not continue to sound like a despot who has successfully conquered the people, and you will see people coming forward with information about the camps and even plans of these guys. There is the saying that "You can capture more bees with a sprinkle of honey than a thousand AK-47 rifles".

The governor has to understand that the so-called unknown gunmen are everywhere. They have sympathizers even within the kitchen cabinet of his own government and they are even in the police force. This is not a war we will win by playing to the gallery, but by quiet and far-reaching strategies that must involve the people.


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