Nigeria is not a failed State, but… – Ex Commissioner of Police

By Paschal Emeka, Abuja. | Posted May 31, 2022 4.45 PM

Barr. Lawrence Eko Alobi Mni is a retired Police Commissioner in FCT and Chairman/CEO HI-Tech Security Training and Services Ltd.

In this exclusive interview with our Abuja correspondent Paschal Emeka, Barr. Alobi recommended what every Nigerian must do to stop the country from being finally called a failed state. He also commended the Police and other security organizations for their committed fight against crime and criminalities while advocating for annual massive recruitment of police personnel. He also spoke of factors fueling agitation, corruption, among other sundry national issues. Excerpts:

To some people Nigeria is a failed state. What is your take on this?

Yes, there are indices that may make somebody to call Nigeria a failed state; these include high poverty rate, high level of unemployment, the huge gap between the poor and the rich, etc.  When there is no more trust between the leaders and the led, because trust has eroded many people would say the government has failed them. To some people the leaders are no more trustworthy. 

Yes, in Nigeria all the indices are there but we must work harder because this is the only country we have. We have no other country we can call our own apart from Nigeria.

Leaders must stop embezzling public funds; seek to address the needs of the people because that is why they were elected. Most politicians are far from the people who elected them into offices but now they are only concerned about their pockets.

Leaders and politicians must realize that they are there to meet the needs of the people as well as to take care of their wellbeing as Nigerian citizens.

Despite the efforts of the Nigerian Police force and other security agencies, crime and criminalities continue unabated, it seems crime is endemic in Nigeria?

 As a psychologist there are several factors that instigate crime and criminalities. These factors are also found in our society. They include poverty, unemployment, hatred, ethnic violence, religious animosity, selfishness of politicians, and unruly political ambition. These are some factors that breed crime and criminality in the society.

 For instance, students have been at home for more than three months now, without doing anything and these are youths of active age, they need to be engaged, but when there is no job, they sit at home without doing anything. An Idle mind is a Devil’s workshop and so, they engage in several anti-social activities, man must survive.

They also engage in ‘survival of the fittest’ approach to life, yes, they must eat to survive. Their basic fundamental human needs must be met; these include food, shelter and clothing. Therefore, these are the factors that promote crime and criminality in our society. That is why you see insurgency, farmers/herders’ clashes, kidnapping, terrorism, bad governance, among others, as well as leadership failure.

Imagine a government that refuses to listen to the wishes of the people; the government that refuses to address corruption and the government that refuses to use her resources to promote people’s well-being, but decide to steal at the detriment of the masses.

Crime and criminalities are not endemic, but they thrive when all these factors are there and we must face the consequences.

Because of incessant crime in our society what important message will you pass across to the Police and other security organizations in Nigeria?

My message is not just for security practitioners only but to everybody. Every citizen should know that they have responsibilities under section 24(E) of the Nigeria’s Constitution as amended which says that it is the responsibility of every Nigerian citizen to assist security forces to maintain peace and order in the society.

Citizens are not supposed to break law and order, they are not supposed to cause mayhem, they are supposed to maintain law and order while assisting security agencies with correct information on how to curb crime in the society.

Laws are meant to be obeyed. Citizens should avoid violence and all animalistic tendencies. They should also assist the security agencies to forestall crime in their areas, they should support law enforcement agencies in line with section 24(E) of our constitution.

The same constitution in section 14(B) says that the main function of government is to guarantee the wellbeing and safety of citizens. That means the government itself should create all necessary environments for a conducive atmosphere of peace and security.

I think security agencies like the Nigerian Police Force should be commended for doing their best in maintaining peace and order in the country despite all challenges. Because of retirement and deaths it seems the number of policemen and women are reducing.

So, let the Police Service Commission be ready to recruit like 10,000 personnel yearly to complement the force’s numerical strength.

Recently, in Federal Capital Territory (F.C.T.) there was a clash between traders and Okada riders in Dei-Dei market, as a security practitioner, how can we avert such an incident in future?

Yes, that incident was not planned for, it was a spontaneous reaction which the Police and other security agencies responded to promptly. It was spontaneous in the sense that nobody envisaged it coming but we want to commend the Police for their action in preventing it from spreading to other parts of the city.

It was an accidental action carried out by some miscreants, who used the situation to cause mayhem by destroying cars and some shops in the market. People are angry and tired and so in every little thing they begin to foment violence because there is a lot of poverty, a lot of anger in the land.

There is what psychologists call anomic society and that is when things are not going on well in the society. The situation tends to provoke anger and violence in the society.

Why do we commend the Police and other security agencies for their prompt response in curbing crime, will you say their actions were proactive or reactive pertaining to the Dei-Dei market incidence?

You see, what happened at Dei-Dei market was never anticipated by any security agencies. I want us to talk about how the police and other sister security organizations were swift in tackling the situation. They responded very well to the distress call, let us not talk about whether they were proactive or reactive but how they handled and arrested the situation.

That prompt action was very key because they responded quickly to a distress call that was put across to them otherwise that incident might have snowballed into a very high magnitude of mayhem that would not have been easy to control.

Prompt response of the Police should be commended, they responded quickly and faster to the ugly incident that was on ground.

The 2023 general elections processes are gaining momentum now, what message do you want to pass across to politicians even as there are more agitations for self-actualization and independence among several sections of the country?

Agitation comes when the government is not all-inclusive, when there is nepotism in the land, when there is corruption of high level in the land, when social structures are not distributed equally among various sections of the society. There is bound to be agitation when key players refuse to listen to the wishes and aspirations of the people. This agitation is meant for the government to have a listening ear. The government is meant for the people and not for the animals. Therefore, the government should listen to the people in order to address their problem. We are now approaching the 2023 general elections. Very soon campaigns will commence. There should be no vote buying and cajoling of electorate. There should not be thuggery, let the election be free, fair, and credible because our democracy is for the good of the people.

The opinions expressed by interviewees or columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

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