Nigeria: Reform of Internal Security System 0

Demands for increased operational effectiveness in internal security operations in Nigeria has grown in the past decade due to increasing level of public perception of insecurity. Growing terror campaign since 2010 has further worsened calls for overhaul and restructuring in Nigerian Policing and Law enforcement system. Several reforms later, Nigerian security environment is now populated by Pretoria of security agencies performing overlapping functions, thereby leading to confusions and chaos.

As internal security agencies has been bundled under the ministry of interior, under a seasoned security professional for the first time in the history of the country, the whole world awaits the institution of a well-orchestrated Programme for thorough reform of this sector.

Three major issues –aside from normal security problem any state surfers from- challenges law enforcement operations in Nigeria today; the Niger Delta militants operation, the Fulani Herdsmen attacks and the Boko Haram terrorism in Northeast Nigeria. Unfortunately, policing authorities in Nigeria has always been bedeviled with high level of public mistrust. Policing can only succeed if the people could relate with local law enforcement institutions with some amount of trust.

To improve policing operations in Nigeria the Ministry of Interior could:

Improve the Police to Population Ratio: The ratio of police to population in Nigeria is clearly below international average. The Nigeria Police Force has about 390,000 and the NSCDC has about 80,000 officers and men, direct policing in Nigeria is expectedly performed by less than 500,000 officers in a country of about 180,000,000 million people, an average of 1 policeman securing 400 people. This number though higher than the UN basic average would have been sufficed, but the use of police officers as; security guards for the elites and government functionaries, escorts for banks and money movements, admin and other non-operational functions. To top this there are no direct operational supports between the NPF and the NSCDC leading to duplication of functions.

Integration of Policing Units: There exists need for a formal integration of NPF and NSCDC functions towards achieving a better focus in policing operations. As both organizations enjoys constitutional backing, merging them might not be the right solution, but a formal management of functions to reduce current rivalry could help in improvement of the deliverables in the short run.

  • Deployment: Security operative deployments are currently done without any proper interagency collaboration. This lack of institutional cooperation is reflected on the field as joint operations have severally turned to turf war while the project suffers. There has been several calls by practitioners for the setting up of a committee on Internal security, comprising of all Heads of security agencies operating in the Nigerian Homeland and an office of Head of Internal Security (HIS) which should constitutionally be the Inspector-General of Police. The roles of this office should include among other things:
  • Joint internal security planning and operational roles delimitation during joint ops
  • Information and intelligence sharing and analysis
  • Policy formulation and harmonization
  • Act as central operation command in time of national crises
  • Draw up joint internal security development Programme for the MOI in sequence with overall needs of all agencies

Recruitment: The process of security personnel recruitment in the country is too politicized. Hence mediocrity is allowed under the guise of catering to favored candidates. To improve this process recruitment of security personnel should be done with all professional conduct. All recruitment process should be supervised by the MOI to reduce influence peddling.

Patrols: Security operatives in Nigeria are mostly reactive and never proactive. This was due to operational environment and no personal ties with the people there. Policing can only survive when the people are part of its operations. The lack of synergy between policing authorities and the people was the basis of failure of security in all areas of Nigeria. Current vehicular patrol system with arms never endears the security personnel to the people. The foot patrol system is still used globally and is reputed to bring cohesion between security personnel and the public.

Formal Policy Management Body: Lack of a formal body to manage internal security in Nigeria. NPF, NSCDC, NIS, DSS, NPS and other bodies are operating individually in securing Nigerian Homeland without a direct policy making, monitoring and evaluating and supervisory management body. Nigerian Defense is better managed through the office of the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) unifying and managing the three arms of defense. Lack of centralized body has occasioned several mishaps in the homeland security operations.

Creation of the office of the Director of Homeland Security to manage the affairs of internal security reporting to the Minister of Interior. The DHS federal operations may compose of all policing heads in the country and should meet weekly to analyze and plan security operations in Nigeria. At state levels, DHS could discus policies made at federal level and adapt to suit local operations; dividing operational duties according to personnel capabilities to agencies and setting basic monitoring and evaluation deliverables for all allotted tasks. The DHS in states could compose of all heads of law enforcement units in each state.

Internal Affairs Office: Lack of independent supervisory body for internal security has led to several cases of abuse of power by security personnel in and out of duty. Set up department of internal affairs to monitor, supervise and recommend disciplinary measures for officers’ infringements and abuse of power and process. This may increase the operational efficiency of the security personnel and at the same time increase public supports for the security institution.

Introduction of a Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) with responsibility for supervising and monitoring policing operations in Nigeria will improve local perception of the forces and efficiency of the policing agents. The DIA could be designed to be independent of current policing organisation and based in the MOI with offices in all states of the federation. This department could be in state and federal levels.

Clear Definition of Roles: Overlapping functions of several agencies needed to be redefined. The Nigerian public is sometimes confused on whom to defer to on security issues. The MOI may need to rearrange functions of agencies and publish to guide the agents and the public on roles, duties and responsibilities of all agencies to clear all ambiguities.

The MOI may control security information decimation to reduce ongoing security mediatization in the country. The need to showcase operational abilities of agencies above others has occasioned this unrelenting performance for media camera by all agencies. Security information that might need proper vetting are divulged by agencies to score points in the media. The public needed to be informed but there has to be a process for doing this.

Monitoring and Evaluation: Who really guards the guardians? Power corrupt has been the bane of public supports for policing in Nigeria. There are no direct authority managing policing operations in Nigeria. This lack has been blamed for increasing lack of proper services delivery in this sector. There should exist an independent body charged with overseeing the operations of law enforcement agencies in Nigeria.

Legal Development: The MOI could sponsor better law enforcement laws to bring policing into the next generation in Nigeria. Nigeria Criminal Code is still in the last generation and needed proper development to meet 21st century policing challenges.

Training and Retraining: To meet the challenges of the future, there is need for training and retraining of current policing personnel. There exists need for a reorientation of the psyche of an average security operative in Nigeria. Aside from lack of appropriate level of force in operation and the need to respect the suspect, security men are known to become judge and accusers at the same time while on duty. There is need for attitudinal and operational development training and retraining for them. The MOI could design and supervise major training for the development of personnel in policing agencies to achieve stated goals.

Promotion, postings and welfare: All internal security agencies are bedeviled with unethical favoritism in promotions, postings and welfare distribution in the past twelve years. This has led to high incidence of indifference and indiscipline in the services. This challenge has to be revised towards improving operational efficiencies and incentive to perform. There is need for a review of personnel promotions in the past ten years towards achieving proper justice in the service. The practice in which favored officers without any special performance or abilities are promoted several rungs above their colleagues and seniors should be revised and remediate to ensure justice and equity in the system.

Recognize and Integrate Informal Policing Organizations: Policing in Nigeria currently encompasses the formal and informal sectors. Increase reliance of the public on informal policing organization in day-to-day security needs is a pointer to the importance of this sector in Nigerian internal security operation. There is need for formal regularization and inclusion of the informal sector in Nigerian security planning and operations.

Regularization of this sector under the MOI might improve its standardization and improve services delivery within the sector. The MOI could undertake the certification of proficiency and professionalization of corporate bodies and professionals in the industry. Proper standards will ensure better trusts in this growing industry.

Above all, the Nigerian Homeland need a well-structured security operation with evaluable achievement over time. The MOI could use this opportunity to instill professionalism in local security operations through formal and informal reorganization and upgrade of current system. The obvious low productivity in this sector is clearly a function of uncleared vision, obvious lack of direction; purpose; supervision; and lack of coordinated cooperating system by all agencies involved.

There are many more process that might improve current standard, this was not a direct indictment of the internal security system in Nigeria, yet we all surmised, there exists need to tinker with current operations towards achieving a better value chain in our security system.

Towards achieving this, proper identification of the challenges of these agencies has to be elucidated, properly itemized and proffer workable solutions to before we could start shouting ‘Uhuru” This is the onerous task before the MOI and the time for this to be done is now.

By Don Michael Adeniji

Senior Contributing Editor

Cameroon Concord News Group