Posted by News Express | 27 April 2013 | 3,563 times
A one-time Nigerian Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Sir (Dr.) Mike Mbama Okiro, has challenged African leaders to modify their concepts of security as a panacea to sustainable development.
In a lecture he delivered yesterday morning at the Caledonian University, Glasgow, United Kingdom, Okiro also advised African leaders to include in their security agenda various non-conventional threats to the well being of their people.
“I consider it expedient as a security professional to say that it will be very necessary for African nations to modify their concepts of national security as well as their security agenda to include the various non-conventional threats to the well being of their people. The purpose of course, is to ensure that the continent benefits immensely from the advantages of the emerging African market. We should remodel our national security policies to reflect the need to promote security and democracy in Africa for sustainable development,” the security expert said.
Okiro, who spoke on “Re-thinking Global Security: An African Perspective”, was one of the lead speakers at the annual Scottish-African International Business Conference and Exhibition 2013 held at Govan-Mbeki Conference Center of the Caledonian University.
He stressed that “it is important to distinguish the concept of crime control or combating crime from that of crime prevention,” saying: “Crime prevention is not necessarily about law-enforcement or the activities of the traditional pillar/agencies of the criminal justice system –Police, prosecution, courts, prisons – which have been viewed as a collection of interrelated, semi-autonomous bureaucracies and which are often at odds with each other.” Rather, “crime prevention,” according to him, “is the attempt to use social resources to change the conditions that can predispose people to commit crimes, as well as reduce the opportunity for crime. Crime Prevention also requires adequate resources, including funding for structures and activities, in order to be sustained. There should be clear accountability for funding, implementation and evaluation and for the achievement of planned results.”
The former police chief advocated “community programmes designed to improve social condition; public education campaigns to alert people to the consequences of deviant activities.” Other solutions he gave include informing potential victims of ways to minimise risk, as well as programmes to reduce the opportunity for perpetration of crimes by improving the security of property and person.
“Some crime programmes may have fairly general focus, while others may be developed for a range of specific crimes, such as drug abuse, terrorism, burglary, theft, vandalism, shoplifting or personal violence,” he said, adding: “The ultimate goal of crime prevention is the creation of safe communities – hence, any crime prevention effort/endeavour must solicit the active involvement of all sectors of the society. And such involvement can be effected by, and through the use of the mass media.”
On ideal policing mandate for African Nations, Okiro said that policing should now be geared towards national development and economic growth efforts. Recalling his experience with the United Nations Crime Prevention and Control option for ensuring safer and secured environments conducive for meaningful socio-economic growth and development, Okiro said: “I really do not think we have a choice other than this option for efficiency and effectiveness.”
The ex-IGP used the Philippines’ security policy as a case study, noted that “to the average Filipino, national security is the state or condition where our most cherished values and beliefs, our democratic way of life, our institutions of government and our unity, welfare and wellbeing as a nation and people, are permanently protected and continuously enhanced.”
He advised that this concept “should really challenge us Africans, as a people, as an end that we should strive to gain as nation states.”
Okiro listed seven fundamental elements that further amplify their vision, which he said include socio-political stability; territorial integrity; ecological balance; cultural cohesiveness and spiritual consensus as well as external peace.
“We must pursue constructive and cordial relations with all peoples, even as our nation itself must chart an independent course, free from external control, interference or threat of aggression,” he advised.
•Photo shows Sir Mike Okiro.
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