Scuffles among security personnel must stop — Daily Trust Editorial

Posted by News Express | 3 February 2022 | 399 times

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The brazen manner in which security operatives conduct themselves when their job requires synergy with their counterparts in other services has become a national embarrassment. Their egoistic show of force while on duty was witnessed during the recent two-day working visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Kaduna State. Security operatives exchanged blows when the president was on Thursday, January 20, 2022, billed to inaugurate the Kawo Flyover in the heart of Kaduna City.

The clash happened when operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) blocked access to the flyover immediately after the president mounted it; barring VIPs, journalists and other state officials from reaching the bridge. Governor Nasir Ahmed el-Rufai, who had earlier alighted from his official vehicle, rode in the president’s convoy to the bridge. El-Rufai’s Aide-De-Camp (ADC), however, insisted that the governor’s official vehicle must be allowed access. The refusal by the president’s aides resulted in a hot argument that led to a fight among the security operatives. The governor’s vehicle was thereafter granted access.

Few days after the Kaduna incident, some staff of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) had an altercation with the Customs Area Comptroller at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, when the comptroller “pulled up behind a NAHCO vehicle that was being attended to and a customs officer on the comptroller’s entourage shoved aside the Aviation Security (AVSEC) officer at the gate. FAAN accused the comptroller of breaching airport security; adding that the “blatant abuse of the privilege of bearing firearms by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has become a recurrent threat to the safety and security of staff.” Reacting to FAAN’s accusations, the NCS spokesman, Mr Joseph Attah, argued that customs could not be denied access through any gate within the airport.

It would be recalled that operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) clashed with officials of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) over who was to take custody of the former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reforms Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, when a federal high court in Abuja sentenced him to 61 years imprisonment on a 12-count charge bordering on money laundering, with the sentences to run concurrently for eight years. Although Justice Okon Abang held that Maina should be handed over to the NCoS, EFCC operatives disagreed and their insistence that Maina must go in their vehicle resulted in a public quarrel.

While it is bad when security operatives turn their guns against each other, it is worse when death is recorded. A misunderstanding between police officers and soldiers once left a soldier dead in Kujekwa community of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

In April, 2017, soldiers and counter-insurgency policemen in Yobe State turned their guns on one another in Damaturu. A man who was later identified to be an army officer was said to have interfered with the convoy of a police mobile squadron and was consequently manhandled. The man later returned with soldiers, took away the mobile police commandant and detained him. In a shootout between the soldiers and the police, two policemen and a soldier were reportedly killed.

The public display of crudity by security men, especially when armed, is a national disgrace that should henceforth be discontinued. Most public scuffles ensue over simple matters that can be resolved amicably if only the operatives involved have proper training, including being decorous while working with colleagues from sister agencies. Believing that a code for interfacing with others exists in all the services of Nigeria’s armed forces, a raging anger against a fellow operative can only occur where ego is allowed to take over common sense. The exchange of gunfire by security operatives when misunderstandings arise among them is the height of indiscipline least expected of a trained military or para-military personnel.

Security operatives that engage in public quarrel are passing a wrong message to citizens who look up to them as law enforcers. This common act by security personnel is unconsciously aiding crime, because when law enforcers behave in this manner, what moral right will they have to effect the arrest of civilians who engage in such? Daily Trust encourages them to see one another as partners; not rivals. Authorities of all the services are urged to educate their officers and men on how best to manage protocol matters, as well as the image of their individual organisations, before the public. Security personnel involved in inter or even intra-service public fight should be promptly investigated and sanctioned according to the codes of conduct existing in their respective services.

•PHOTO: From left: President Muhammadu Buhari flanked by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (left); National Security Adviser (NSA), Babangana Monguno (3rd left) and Service Chiefs, during the security meeting at the Presidential Villa Abuja yesterday

Source: News Express

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