Williams, Alemika demand security overhaul at Caleb Varsity’s summit
A former General Officer Commanding Training and Doctrine Command, Minna, Maj-Gen Ishola Williams, (retd.), and a Professor of Criminology and Sociology of Law, Prof. Etanibi Alemika, on Thursday called for a radical overhaul of Nigeria’s security system in order to meet with the growing dimensions of criminality in the country.
They spoke at a security conference organised by Caleb University, Imota, Lagos State entitled, ‘Peoples-Centred Security Sector Reform in Nigeria: Architecture, Policy, Doctrine, Organisation, Laws, Budget and Technology,’ and declared open by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Nosa Owens-Ibie, while the chairman of the occasion, Prof. Olufemi Onabanjo, read the biographies of the speakers.
In his presentation titled, ‘Insecurity and the Imperative of Security Sector Reform In Nigeria,’ Alemika decried the incessant wranglings and clashes between security agencies.
The don, who was the lead presenter, noted that security challenges had assumed frightening dimensions since the return of civilian rule in 1999.
Represented by Dr. Ayodele Olabisi of the Department of Sociology, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, he said: “After the return to civil rule in May 1999, violent conflicts between and within ethnic, religious and community groups occurred in different parts of the country. Violent inter-group conflicts were fuelled or compounded by the introduction of Sharia in several states in Northern Nigeria, emergence of armed ethnic and religious militias, agitations for resource control by armed militant groups in the Niger Delta.
“Terrorism by Boko Haram which started in 2009 remains a serious problem even though their activities within and outside the North-East have been significantly curtailed in comparison to 2012-2015. Kidnapping for ransom which was initially employed by Niger Delta militants has become a widespread industry across the country.
“The law enforcement and security agencies have been overstretched and demonstrated limited capacity in tackling the security challenges plaguing the country. Contrary to the norm, the military is involved in internal security operations in all states of the country because of the scope and range of the crimes and conflicts and the deployment of high calibre weapons beyond the level of force approved for the police.
“The insecurity problem in the country may be solved by rethinking and restructuring of the country’s security architecture.”
In his paper titled, ‘Thoughts On Safety and Security Sector Architecture and Reform for Nigeria: A Human Security Approach,’ he decried the high level of corruption in the counrry.
Williams, who is also the Executive Director of the Pan-African Strategic and Policy Research Group, lamented that since Nigeria gained independence, the nation had continued to operate the same security architecture inherited from the British former colonial masters.
He said it was unfortunate that security agencies had turned into recruiting centres instead of I using on their core mandate.
Williams accused Nigerian politicians of failing to include plans for safety and security in their manifesto and called for a change of attitude.
He advised President Muhammadu Buhari to rejig the security architecture by introducing state and community policing to be controlled by governors and local government chairmen respectively.
He also said the president can save cost by eliminating some tiers in the security architecture and introducing an inter-ministerial approach.
A professor of Accounting, Prof. Gabriel Emecheta, who delivered a paper titled, ‘Using Biometrics to Protect Customers of Firms against Criminals,’ stressed the need to adopt new methods to make it “easier to detect and prevent fraudulent activity.”
He lamented that existing legislation is too weak to safeguard bank customers against loss of money to authorised payment scams.
“However, the industry has not stood still and has undertaken a number of initiatives to tackle fraud and in particular, authorised PUSH scams.
“While the fraud threat may be constantly evolving, so is the banking industry’s capability of stopping the threat. The advent of artificial intelligence means financial institutions can now overlay services such as the confirmation of payee to pre-empt and prevent fraud before a transaction happens.
“Industry efforts to solve these issues are underway in several countries by creating a checking facility to cross-check the account name with the account details and the payee,” he stated.
There was also a short presentation by an ICT expert, Harmony Emecheta, on techniques used by fraudsters to skim bank accounts.