Securing The Federating Units – :::…The Tide News Online:::… – The Tide

The current level of insecurity in Nigeria appears to have defied all security architecture put in place at various levels of government. However, critical commentators argue that the problem with security in Nigeria does not lie with the policy thrusts, but with the implementation and operational capacity of operatives as well as investments in logistics. This is food for thought.
Insecurity in itself has become a huge monster that has pushed various state governments to dabble into emergency security plans. Every security architecture experts say must have the capacity and scope to respond to and confront specific security situations. No such thing as general security. The Federal Government of Nigeria exclusively enjoys the control of the Armed Forces, Police and strategic paramilitary apparatus, such as Immigration, Customs, Nigeria Civil Defence Corps, FRSC, etc.
The military structure is constitutionally empowered to defend the territorial integrity of Nigeria. The military is expected to confront and combat any act of terror or violent intrusion into the Nigerian territory as well as secessionist uprisings.
The police and the Nigeria Civil Defense Corp are empowered to enforce orderly conduct within the polity as well as confront and combat all forms of criminality.
The police have also joined the Army in Joint Task Force operations and fight against terrorism, banditry and kidnapping. Recent developments in the country, however, indicate that both the Army and Police have been overwhelmed by the ravaging security issues in the country.
The various states of the federation are at the receiving end. The states and their various grossroots have suffered different forms of security challenges that are better handled by home grown security state operations.
The police are no longer invincible. The sad realities of operating in unfamiliar environments have reduced them to under performers and many leakages dot their operations, making the people they are expected to protect more vulnerable. The local populations in some states especially in the Middle Belt and Southern Nigeria have begun to doubt the capacity of the police and even the Army to protect them against the murderous herdsmen, unknown gun men, kidnappers, cultist-related violence, etc. Ethno religious bias appear to have been affecting the sincerity of purpose of federal security operatives posted to the states. Many political activists and politically exposed persons have been calling for state police for these reasons. In the absence of state police, some state governments have fashioned their own security operatives to protect their vulnerable populations. There is Hisba in Kano, Amotakun in the South West,Civilian JTF in the North East and Ebube Agu in the South East.
These are attempts to fill the gap created by the absence of the state police. The Rivers State Government under the leadership of Governor Nyesom Wike has remained a trail blazer in this quest to make the state more secure by providing alternative security infrastructure. The NEW Rivers Vision recognises the place of security in development. The state government in 2018 through the State House of Assembly Law Number 8 of the 2018 established the state Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency to address the growing security challenges in the state.
The agency was inaugurated on April 16, 2018 but was scuttled by uninformed security operatives who invaded their training camp. This ugly scenario triggered off litigations which the state government won.
Happily, the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency resumed operations on the first day of March, 2021, with operatives posted to the 23 local government areas of the state. The objectives of the agency include gathering of intelligence, and sharing intelligence with law enforcement agencies, arresting of suspects where necessary and handing them over the police.
The Director General of the agency, Dr. Uche Mike Chukwuma said RIVNESCA also carries out crowd control duties at designated public events. These functions pose monumental challenges but CATALOGUE suggests that RIVNESCA can be put into more use in the security architecture of Rivers State.
Many public infrastructures in the state have been exposed to thefts and vandalism. Many schools, hospitals and health centres have been literally destroyed, looted and even deroofed by unpatriotic elements. It is sad that while government is making efforts to address the infrastructural deficit in the state, the fifth columnists are busy destroying them.
RIVNESCA operatives should be mobilised to defend and protect public infrastructures and institutions. They should be used to police all public institutions, supervise security of schools, hospitals, M.D.As outside the state secretariat as well as road infrastructures which usually are the targets of some depraved elements.
These additional responsibilities will surely pose more challenges in the areas of funding, logistics and manpower. Government should strengthen RIVNESCA by recruiting more hands and re-strategise their operations to make them more productive and justify their establishment. Another implication of re-organising RIVNESCA is the need to create special units to address the specific roles. At the right time, the Agency through proper legal frame work can be empowered to carry light arms and ammunition.
By: Bon Woke
NAPTIP And Use Of Town-Criers
Njiowhor Was My Editor
There was deliberation recently about ways in which communication can be more effective in local areas, especially to sensitise the populace and to create awareness on the prohibition of trafficking in persons. The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) said it would engage local town-criers to help in spreading the message against human trafficking.
The agency had the deliberation with a delegation from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). The theme for that deliberation was: “NAPTIP, IOM Set to Improve Collaboration to Tackle Human Trafficking and Irregular Migration”.
NAPTIP said the agency’s mandate touches various families in the country. ”I want NAPTIP’s anti-human trafficking messages to be in mind and door-to-door steps of Nigerians irrespective of the languages and locations. We shall use various means of communication, especially the town-criers.  
“Nigerians need to know more about NAPTIP and the various offences and punishments attached to them as well as various legislations put in place to protect citizens from all forms of slavery,” the Agency’s source stated.
I think the use of local town-criers in this situation was a welcome development. It will help in the fight to tame local traffickers. The town-criers go about the village using their gongs through the streets, various lanes, door-to-door. They will be able to sensitise the local populace about dangers inherent, both to the persons who sponsor such acts and the victims. Negligence is a challenge to some of them because the issue of trafficking persons has existed for long in the society. Of course, one can look at it twice with objectivity; logically, people who may not have access to modern means of communication. 
The use of town-criers in disseminating information about human trafficking will help reduce the problem. Some persons have narrated their experiences as victims of human trafficking and they were not encouraging tales. A lot of persons are falling victims, perhaps because they are not properly sensitised or not totally aware so it is proper to create more awareness. It is almost becoming an everyday affair and there can be many reasons for that. Sometimes, people are promised greener pastures which unluckily turn out to be something else. There is need to increase information and expand knowledge about travelling with people one may not know, in the pretence of going to search for greener pastures. The person may not know that he or she is being trafficked.
The reasons why people are being sold may be as a result of hunger, illiteracy or poverty while luring them into modern-day slavery. The perpetrators of the act are not patriotic. It may surprise you that some persons knowingly travel for such. A lot of people traffic themselves in the society to search for the so-called greener pastures. They volunteer and traffic themselves to other vicinities to achieve fame, due largely to hardship.
The system should be used to correct so many ills in the society, so that the down-trodden and less-privileged will not be easily deceived. If economic and other policies are well-articulated and are functional, with some comfort from concerned authorities, the issue of human trafficking will be eradicated. There should be strategic plans to grow the economy so that those who engage in such activities can be meaningfully engaged. Sending the message home through town-criers will actually help to reduce the rate at which human trafficking has become such a luxurious and profitable business in Nigeria.
The use of town-criers to convey the message to the local people is commendable. Some of the rural dwellers do not have access to modern means of communication, hence the need is imperative. Normally, the town-criers perform their jobs either first thing in the morning when everywhere is quiet and people have not left for their daily activities and last thing at night when they have returned home. As we talk about the rural areas, we should bear in mind that there are no electricity which will assist them have access to information. The 21st century gadgets are not there. In fact, the present-day town-crier also interprets his message in English after giving out the message in local language.
Religious organisations visit markets to propagate their faith, the town-crier can also go to markets, where mostly women and girls do their buying and selling. This group of people is more vulnerable to abductors or those whose stock-in-trade is to kidnap and abduct or even deceive them in the guise of providing them greener pastures. At the end, the victims find themselves outside the country for inhuman practices. A lot of young women have been deceived. House core jobs turn to something else.  
Recall that town-criers are used in disseminating information about political campaigns and voter registration in the way the local people understand, therefore, the message on the dangers of human trafficking in persons to the villages using different dialects will record a huge success.
Some don’t access information due to lack of exposure to current technology. Radio, one of the oldest and fastest means of communication is not there. So the use of town criers will augment what is being done through 21st century gadgets.
Use of local languages will serve a great purpose in doing the job. The town-criers live within the vicinity and know how to communicate in their local dialect. Conveying message in ones dialect makes the whole thing beautiful. It should be noted that the urban areas which are heavily populated also need such means of communication. It should be done through the streets, lanes and avenues as continuous sensitisation for those who are negligent. When people are aware of danger coming their way, they will definitely avoid it and take more precautionary measures.  
The use of town-criers to disseminate information in the rural areas is good because there are people who do not listen to news, neither do they watch television. They believe in “hear-say”. This group of people needs the services of a town-crier to confirm any information they are not sure of. When people are better informed, it can reduce the rate of social vices. After getting the populace informed, relevant authorities should put action plans to ensure that human trafficking is not as lucrative as it is perceived by those involved in it.
By: Eunice Choko-Kayode
To doubt that Mrs. Juliet Njiowhor is dead is like struggling to reject a fait accompli. Indeed, it shocked us all. Until the sad event, penultimate Saturday, Madam (as we all called her) was a Director in the Rivers State Newspaper Corporation (RSNC), publishers of The Tide Newspaper, which Acting Editor she also was. Even till the recent appointment of a substantive General Manager, she briefly doubled as the Acting General Manager. You may have heard that she was also chairman of the newspaper’s Editorial Board.
I joined The Tide in 1996 when Mrs. Njiowhor was the Women Editor and shared an office with late Chief Soye Jamabo, the then Entertainment Editor and one of the finest journalists I have had the privilege of working with. Not long after my arrival, Madam contested to become Chairman of The Tide Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ). Jamabo campaigned for her as though his life depended on her victory. Frankly, I hadn’t begun to like any of them back then; and despite their several overtures to me, I voted against Njiowhor. My candidate failed, anyway. And Madam knew she didn’t get my vote because I still clung to her rival.
Not quite long after, someone resigned from the Chapel’s new exco to contest in the State Council election; thus creating a vacancy for which filling I picked a form to vie against two others. Naturally, that would have been Madam and Jamabo’s payback time. But no. Instead, and even without my campaigning to them, the duo still mobilised support for me. I defeated my closest rival by just one vote in an election where I would have been roundly trounced had they not rallied for me. That was the first proof to me that Njiowhor had a very large heart. I eventually mustered the courage to go and thank them but not without a face still full of shame. I just couldn’t forgive myself.
In the course of time, I had another opportunity of being very close to Njiowhor when we worked together on the Midweek title of the paper with her as editor. Ordinarily, editors are known to be a greedy folk, especially when it comes to sharing pecuniary rewards with their reporters. For example, a typical editor can receive N50,000 appreciation for a good publication. But while relating back to the reporter who probably wrote the story, the tendency is for him to swear to have received only N20,000; of which he still had title to a lion share! Thank God, Madam was different. At least, I still remember how much of the weekly production allowance she released to us during our Tuesday night productions back then. I can also recall without any fear that we received close to nought from the fellow who acted during the period she was on annual leave. We did kick, though; but no one seemed interested.
Another ugly trait found in our editors of yore was that they hardly voiced out their appreciation of younger writers but were always quick to shout at them over the slightest failing. In my early years at The Tide, only very few editors stopped by to encourage a reporter whose news story or article was commendable. They included our then General Manager/Editor-in-Chief, Mr. Dagogo Ezekiel-Hart, who often walked into our offices to literally pat a reporter on the back whose published work he considered very good; the others, for me, were Mrs. Njiowhor, Chief Jamabo, Chief Dagogo Clinton and Nengi Josef-Ilagha (now of Bayelsa). We were highly encouraged by their words of commendation (and sometimes gifts) and will remain ever grateful to each and every one of them.
With Madam around, there was never a dull moment at the office. She was easily accessible, very lively and also very hardworking. Or was it when she sat on promotion interview panels? While some of the panelists asked ridiculous questions to unsettle and possibly deny us a career lift, Njiowhor hardly joined in as she often spoke in defence of any deserving staff. In short, for those of us without protective godfathers, it was always our prayer that she sat on all such panels.
The experience was no different when one had a demand or defence to make before the Corporation’s Management. All you needed do was approach Njiowhor early and explain the matter to her. If really your case deserved help, she would naturally lend you her weight. And trust me, Madam did carry a lot of it!
Or need I talk about the day I closed early from work and opted to spend some time in the reception, snacking up a combination of fried groundnuts and ‘manpower’. I saw my Acting Editor drive in and, rather than alight, she sat back in her vehicle while discussing with a security guard who had gone to welcome her. They always did. And you will soon know why.
Before long, a passing Hausa yam seller pushed his wheelbarrow into the premises and headed toward Madam’s car. After what appeared like a moment of haggling, I noticed our security man leave with a sizeable yam tuber in his hand. Later, word spread and people started emerging from every corner to pick a yam each. In no time, the more than ten yams in the mini cart were gone and the trader wheeled away an empty barrow. That was vintage Njiowhor! The aboki got a good bargain for his yams while the ‘buyers’ all smiled home. She really knew how to tickle those located at society’s lower rungs.
As a member of the Editorial Board, to which I also belong, Madam was bold, even if decidedly obstinate at times, and never shied away from discussing a topic no matter how uncomfortable it appeared for an only female member. She was always quick to grasp the topic of discussion even when she walked in late. This rare attribute became most evident when she had to combine three top management positions at the same time. Mrs. Njiowhor was a workaholic, no doubt about it. In fact, there were times I wondered how she coped at the home front.
With her active role as a two-term Standing Committee member of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Njiowhor was already well known among Guild members across the country. Even news of her death reportedly got to editors in Lagos and Abuja before reaching any of her office colleagues here in Port Harcourt. She was a very good ambassador of The Tide family. And I’m sure we shall all miss her very dearly.
By: Ibelema Jumbo
To say that the rich also cry is to say that no section or class of humanity is immune from the vagaries and vicissitudes of life, from olden to modern times. Recently, my intervention was sought in the resolution of a family feud where siblings of late rich parents had become bitter enemies for several years. Neither were they opposed to my writing about the issue at the end of a happy re-union, for the purpose of public enlightenment.
Anyone may be tempted to think that family feuds and long-drawn bitter feelings are the exclusive experiences of polygamous homes. But this is not quite the case always; rather, what should be of greater public interest would be the issues which bring about feuds and bitter divisions in rich homes of highly respected parents, whether living or late. Because of the comic way that this 31-year old family feud was resolved, the previously antagonistic siblings joined hands as resource persons in a research project. Quite instructive!
Wealth of rich homes is most often invested in real estate, with landed property in and outside Nigeria. In fairness to the rich class, we must admit that not all rich persons and homes made their wealth through politics, corrupt or criminal means. In higher economic and business studies there is the theory that it takes great wealth, which would not exclude crude, primitive accumulation, to create and spread wealth. Someone must have the crude audacity to be a Robin Hood, before wealth can spread out; neither must such robbers hang!
Recent experience in South Africa is a message; not that nobody is above the law, but that human law is an ass that can be led by the nose. For an ex-President to be sent to the prison for proven cases of corruption, resulting in widespread violent protests, looting and death of many persons, gives the impression that one man’s looter is another man’s hero. The danger lies where a looter or corrupt leader eats alone, without spreading the crumbs from the high-table to his grassroots. The fault lies with capitalist economy which we operate and which can hardly be changed without sad results.
We may not believe or accept it as a factual reality, but current global political economy operates on what is known as Schwartz’s First Law, which states that 80% of any nation’s wealth is owned and enjoyed by less than 20% of the nation’s population. On the other hand, more than 80% of the population scramble over less than 20% of the national wealth. Call it capitalism or primitive accumulation of wealth, the truth is that it is a system that has been enthroned, behind which lies what we call corrupt practices.
The operational mechanism of this system of political economy is not known to over 80% of Nigerians who suffer under it; rather, the way out is to join the operators of the system. To say that behind every great wealth there is usually a crime is quite correct, so long as it is understood that the crime in question is a crime against collective humanity, fostered by capitalist global economy. It is also the root of global crimes and national instabilities.
It would hardly be denied by any honest person that all human institutions and all spheres of life have been corrupted and debased. The result of this sad state of affairs is that only smart and clever ones fit better into the current state of global aberration. They succeed better too, while those who long for something better gnash their teeth daily. Even as being rich is not evil, wealth and power have become vital instruments of corrupting humanity in all ramifications.
We find the working of capitalist economy in Shakespeare’s Pericles, where a fisherman said: “Master, I marvel how the fishes live in the sea”. The master replied: “Why, as men do a-land: the great ones eat up the little ones”. That is the predatory political economy operating on Earth, which nobody can do anything about.
The ancient belief that marriages and hanging go by destiny also includes the one that wealth goes by destiny too, manifesting in a peculiar mindset. Some people, like the legendary King Midas, seem to magnetise wealth, with everything which they undertake yielding spectacular profits. Truly, being wealthy is not an aberration, but what can be wrong include how an individual amassed wealth, his attitude towards wealth, and how he invested or applied his wealth. In every case, when wealth controls the volition of an individual, the result can be unpleasant.
It can be quite deadly when the attitude of an individual is dominated by obsession, propensity and mad attachment to anything, including an obsessive hatred for those who are wealthy.
Sad experiences which rich parents can have come largely from conscience that is burdened because of unethical exploits of the past which have not been atoned for. Wealth that has the tinge of blood, for example, cannot fail to set crises in a home. Aspiring politicians have been known to lure some rich persons into sponsoring and financing their political ambitions, and eventually dragging such rich persons into a life of regrets and agony.
Any Nigerian who would want to take on the task and challenge posed here should search out the records of the backgrounds and parentage of the most dangerous students in tertiary institutions in Nigeria. The danger referred to here goes beyond cultism, possession of arms and lots of the good things of life, but more of the spread of corrupting influences in the universities. Same research project should extend to foreign universities, to dig out the lifestyles of Nigerians studying abroad and their backgrounds. Much money can spoil growing children; they often grow old with a conviction that everyone owes them obligations.
Fights and quarrels over property inheritance constitute parts of the questions about how parents made their great wealth. A house I lived in, owned by a Nigerian, long ago in Manchester, UK, continues to brew tension among siblings and grand children! Apart from making a Will before death comes, parents should not hide their secrets and past activities from their children. Honesty rewards itself. Rather than feuds among children, rich parents should set up Foundations to explore some worthwhile values. No one takes wealth into the grave.
Dr Amirize is a retired lecturer from the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt.
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