By Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja
The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba on Monday said unhealthy inter-agency collaboration has been a major issue that limits the capacity to effectively achieve internal security.
Baba who spoke during the ongoing three-day annual Ministerial retreat with a theme “Strengthening Inter-Agency Collaboration and Organization Efficiency”, said: “This trend has been of concern to a cross section of Nigerians over the years. This trend, I must say, is not peculiar to Nigeria alone.
“In the United States for example, weak inter-agency cooperation and collaboration which manifested in the failure of strategic security institutions to share intelligence and work together to advance the national security interests of the country, accounted for the 9/11 terror attack which has been described as the worst, but most preventable attack on their homeland security since the second world war.
“In essence, the challenge of inter-agency rivalry must be seen and acknowledged as a global challenge which haunts internal security of modern states. Be that as it may, certain facts remain sacrosanct. Firstly, inter-agency friction constitutes a major threat to internal security and national cohesion. Secondly, it accounts for budgetary wastage, duplication of functions, mutual suspicion, and encroachment on each other’s legal and operational space by competing agencies. Thirdly, it exposes security agencies to public ridicule and possible loss of public confidence in the ability of such agencies to perform their statutory functions.
“We have indeed recorded situations where due to poor inter-agency collaboration, officers of the Nigeria Police had been victims of friendly fire from other security agents who responded to scenes of crimes in which police operation was already ongoing.”
Baba said the current and evolving trend of crime coupled with the challenges of funding, logistics and manpower which Nigeria police force is currently facing have combined to make it imperative that: “we build policing on the foundation of collaboration.”
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Meanwhile, the minister of police affairs, Muhammad Dingyadi said the gathering of critical policing minds, security intellectuals, and major stakeholders brainstorming would evoke actionable security strategies to neutralize growing crime patterns across Nigeria.
He said that the retreat would deepen realization of the laudable ideas of Mr. President, to advance the dynamics of Policing in Nigeria, through adequate equipping, sustainable reforms, and internalization of community Policing arrangements, enhanced welfare, and capacity development, to build an efficient, professional, and people-oriented policing system in Nigeria.
He further said changing crime pattern arising from upscale in global terrorism, increasing arm struggle in the Sahel region stimulates threats to National security and compromise the ideal of the nation-state as postulated in the 1948 treaty of Westphalia which emphasizes sovereignty, territorialism, and the ability of government to protect the state and its citizens.”
His words: “the need to employ sustainable measures, to tackle infamous security challenges threatening collective peace, security, growth and development in parts of the country, re-affirm the importance of having this retreat at this time. The increasingly sophisticated spate of violent crimes leaves no one in doubt, of the necessity to deploy all available security assets, conflict resolution mechanisms, and other peace building measures to enhance internal security arrangements in Nigeria”.
Dingyadi pointed out that the three-day retreat would enable a critique of the functionality of the various departments/agencies of Nigeria Police with a view to opening new frontiers, through fostering synergy, coordination, renewed loyalty to the system and firm commitments to professionalism with a view to achieving the set-out objectives.
The Minister said the manifestations of a threatening dimension of violent crimes in parts of the country, and secessionist agitations snowballing into attacks on security formations and other symbols of Authority, has reached unacceptable heights, hence the urgent need to employ the right combination of approaches to tackle it holistically.
The Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Alhaji Musiliu Smith emphasized the need for security operatives to work together to achieve a common goal.
Smith said: “When agencies of Government gather to correct errors that imperil co-existence, it is a good step forward for the nation. This indeed is a very noble step. An obvious target to be achieved thereby is effective and efficient policing. Synergy is absent where there is lack of cooperation; synergy is absent where there is lack of collaboration; synergy is absent where there is an open rivalry.
“What leads to all this is a matter better left to this gathering to ascertain? But it must be noted that engendering synergy is a form of conflict management. Fortunately, this is an intra-sector affair, a family matter. Family matters are more amenable to easy resolution than when outsiders are involved.”