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Olawepo-Hashim hints at founding National Guard to curb insecurity

Olawepo-Hashim

Presidential candidate of Peoples Trust (PT), Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, has expressed dismay at the worsening level of insecurity in the country; stressing that if elected president he would establish National Guard to stem threats to Nigeria’s internal security.

The PT presidential hopeful who spoke to journalists weekend blamed the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for lacking the capacity and competence to act proactively to address issues of security breaches in the country.

While regretting the growing lawlessness in the country, Olawepo-Hashim said as president he would overhaul the security architecture to make the country safer for all, pointing out that what encourages ongoing rascality and bloodletting is that “people are not promptly punished when they murder other people.

Security is not just a question of spending bigger budgets it is about having the right structures and strategies. As it is, the armed forces of Nigeria are over-stressed and distracted by deployments for internal security operations.

“I think it is time for Nigeria to have a National Guard. I’m going to put up a National Guard as president of Nigeria. My reasons and justifications are self-evident. Our internal security questions have graduated to the level of insurrection. We are now having well-trained militias, perhaps having more training than the police but probably may not need full-scale military action to handle them.

“That is what a National Guard does, an intermediate force between the regular armed forces and the police. Nigeria needs a well-trained intermediate force that would act between the army and the police, which is the National Guard.

“We don’t need to expose the regular army trained mainly in the art of war. The military is meant to focus on defending the territorial integrity of the nation. The National Guard is for deployment to prevent or quell internal conflict and eruptions beyond the capacity of the police service. The idea of deploying military for internal security assignment is an abnormality, which I will correct as a president.”

Olawepo-Hashim lambasted the government for constantly issuing “long statements, giving excuses, telling us why some people were killed,” remarking that that is not what citizens should hear from law enforcement officers.

He said people should be promptly punished when they commit crime, insisting that when example is set with a few people, it acts as deterrence to others, even as he said the establishment of a National Guard would be a part of general overhauling of national security apparatus.

His words: “The life of ordinary Nigerians has become so cheap even as murderers and arsonists go mostly unpunished. From day one, we would act decisively so that people would know there is a new Sheriff in town.

“Under us, every Nigerian would be assured that his life really counts and that there are no special Nigerians, who have license to kill others. Now, that’s the first thing; we need to change the psychological environment and people know that look, ‘they have to be careful.’

“The other step is to upgrade security communications and mobility capabilities. Advanced surveillance and reconnaissance equipment must be acquired and personnel trained to run them. Early warning signals would be taken more seriously. We will demonstrate political will to tackle insecurity in Nigeria.”

The PT standard bearer explained that apart from establishing the National Guard, he would endeavour to institutionalize community policing and state police through relevant legislative enactments, review of existing police laws and constitutional amendment.

He said: “We are going to sponsor an executive bill to amend the constitution to make for the establishment of state police. I will address fears of those opposed to state police by getting the executive bill to confer on the federal police the mandate to protect fundamental human rights of Nigerians.

“So no governor can just say, ‘oh you cannot just have your assembly here because he doesn’t like your face.’ You can get your permit if they say they need a permit from the Federal Police. But, I think even under the Nigerian constitution you may not need any permit. Your right to assemble is your right.

“But these are some of the issues adjudicated upon by the Federal High Court. The enforcement of such issues would be mostly in the hands of the Federal Police and we can make a clean demarcation on this. With police at the local level, we can see more proactive initiatives in terms of controlling security.”

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