Dear Police Inspector-General Mohammed Adamu,
You cannot tackle the atrophic security threat assailing the country by pandering to the whims of the antagonists. Of course, being a sterling security professional, you know this; hence my befuddlement by your statement at the meeting in Kebbi state yesterday.
At the indaba with the leaders of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), you were quoted to have said these words by national newspapers: “We will take measures to dialogue with the bandits to become better citizens, but if that fails we will deal with them.”
Dear IGP, when did it become a national policy or security strategy to “dialogue” with terrorists and bandits who have pulverised many innocent lives? Does it mean there is no punishment for the crime committed? Is your gesture not a sign of capitulation by the police? How do you even have that conversation with bandits to become “better citizens”? Does it mean the lives wasted deserve no justice?
With due respect Sir, your utterance and approach is what gives oomph to violent crimes in the country. You have just ossified the perception that violence is the language that the authorities decipher easily.
That is, when you protest against injustice with your voice, the police harass you; you could even be killed or imprisoned. But when you attack the state and dispatch violence against citizens with guns, the authorities call you for a meeting to beg you. They could even offer you some concessions to become a “better citizen”.
Sir, as you already know, “dialoguing” with bandits or terrorists will not stop the killings in the north. It is the reason I suspect there is an implicit meaning beneath the surface of your statement. Really, I do not need to be caught in the undertow of the subliminal vibe of your statement, it is obvious you were pandering or were ordered to pander for some “reasons”.
Nasir el-Rufai, Kaduna state governor, once admitted that he made reparations to some herdsmen to stop the killings in the state. I believe the governor might have had good intentions doing this. But his “mollycoddling” did not yield any fruit. The killings in the state are unabated.
Also, the government is rehabilitating “repentant” Boko Haram members and releasing them into the wild, but how successful has this programme been in tackling the insurgency? Can the government give a guarantee that these “repentant” insurgents are not returning to their pastime? Does the government put a tab on them? Does it monitor their activities even after they are released into the civil population? The fact is, the Boko Haram crisis has worsened even with the government’s “soft approach” – military barracks and soldiers are now the biggest targets.
Dear IGP, criminality only succumbs to the punitive force of the law, but it is emboldened by appeasement or an offer of easy truce. Where a crime is committed, the law must take its course, and it is the duty of the police to ensure that law-breakers are brought to justice.
Sir, have you considered how the families who lost fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters in Zamfara would feel when they hear you are “dialoguing” with their killers to let them go without retribution?
Begging or dialoguing with bandits or terrorists is not a security strategy. It is like using Jacuzzi steam for cancer instead of radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
Finally, Sir, your appointment as the acting inspector-general of police came with great promise, but it is becoming a plus-ca-change. Your men have been reported to have sexually assaulted some women abducted from nightclubs in Abuja; there are heightened expectations of how you will do justice to this matter.
I hope for the better.
Fredrick is a media personality, Twitter: @FredrickNwabufo