Dapchi: Security agencies learnt no lessons -Tsav, ex-Lagos CP
Abubakar Tsav, a retired Commissioner of Police believes that establishing a state police as canvassed by many Nigerians will mark the beginning of the disintegration of the country. He also believes that President Buhari has handled the security situation of the country the best way he could.
President Muhammadu Buhari finally visited Benue State on Monday, 71 days after the carnage there and some feel the visit was too little, too late. What do you think?
I don’t believe the visit was too late because I do know that the time of visit is determined by security report. If the president wants to visit a place and security reports advised him against at the time, he will not go. The president going anywhere depends on the kind of security report he receives, so I don’t think his visit was too late.
On the report that the Inspector General of Police disregarded the presidential directive to relocate to Benue, you insisted that he did not disobey the directive. Why are you taking that position?
This issue of relocating to Benue and going to Nasarawa state is normal because these people came from Nasarawa, attacked and ran back to Nasarawa. So he could not have stayed in one place and solve a case like that because these people that attacked Benue State were not resident in Nasarawa, they came from somewhere else. When the Inspector General of Police came to Benue, he visited all the areas that were attacked, he went round and he saw things for himself. And if you remember, the governor of Benue State kept emphasising that the attackers were at a particular place in Nasarawa State so the IGP took time to go to Nasarawa State and he spoke to the traditional rulers the same way he spoke to traditional rulers in Benue State. So regarding the type of investigation he needed to carry out, I don’t think the Inspector General of Police disobeyed the president’s order.
Besides these visits to Benue and Taraba States, do you really think that President Buhari has taken the requisite measures to stem the tide of violence spreading in the country?
The president does not have to go to the troubled areas personally to confront the insurgents. He has Service Chiefs, the Inspector General of Police and other security personnel working with him and who have been assigned to take care of these things and he gave directives to all of them including the minister of Interior to take care of these things and they visited all these places, so adequate steps were taken to curtail the crisis. You see people are heaping these blames on President Buhari because he is Fulani. But you must not forget that in the last administration we had the same type of crisis. Was former President Goodluck Jonathan a Fulani man? As far as I am concerned, President Buhari did not fail in his duty. He gave directives to Service chiefs; if they failed it will be his prerogative to now do what he sees fit with them.
With your service record as a retired Commissioner of Police, do you think the service chiefs discharged their directives worthily?
I think they did their best because in areas where you have violence what matters is the manpower deployed to combat the violence and adequate manpower was sent to Benue State, adequate manpower was sent to Mambilla, adequate manpower was sent to Zamfara and adequate manpower was sent to Taraba State to deal with all those violence. I think they have done their best.
But what I will keep saying is that the number of policemen we have in Nigeria is not enough. We have a lot of school leavers well qualified to join the police but they are roaming the streets. What I expect the government to do is to recruit these people and train them to swell the size of the Nigerian Police Force to be able to take care of things like these because people who are causing these troubles may be unemployed youths. So if you take these unemployed youths out by recruiting and training them for the police work, I think we will have peace.
In the wake of the crisis in Benue, Gov. Samuel Ortom said he would have been able to contain it if he had state police. What do you think?
He would have misused the state police. I’m telling you this because I’m there. If as state governor you give an order to Commissioner of Police and he refuses, you can report to the Inspector General of Police or the president did he do that? If he had state police he would have used it against political opponents and the situation would have been worse.
The same could be said of the federal police too which some Nigerians say is being used against the opponents?
The federal police is too large for anybody to use, in the state it is limited. As governor, who has the power to appoint the commissioner of police of your choice and you are not bothered about his qualification but his political affiliation, he will be at the political control of the governor and his associates. There will be no job security because he will feel that if he does not please the governor he will be sacked. State police will be the beginning of the disintegration of this country.
In establishing state police there will also be state police service commission…
(Cuts in) Who will control the state police service commission, is it not the state? I’m telling you what I know because I served in several states. I remember when I was in Ibadan, Oyo State, Chief Kolapo Ishola was then the governor and the state House of Assembly summoned me to appear before them over a matter, I wrote back and told them I will not appear because their duty is to make laws and my responsibility is to enforce the law. The Inspector General of Police at that time was happy with what I did and commended me.
In 2014, one year before general elections, over 200 secondary school girls were abducted from Chibok in Borno State. Now in 2018 which is also one year before general elections, 110 school girls were abducted from Dapchi Yobe State. Why is history repeating itself?
I think it is a coincidence; it is also unfortunate that the security forces did not learn any lessons from the Chibok girls’ abduction. If they did they should have provided adequate security at the Dapchi girls’ hostel. So it seems they learnt no lessons because there is no reason why they should have left the place so porous for these people to just walk in and capture the girls.
There seems to be extreme division among the component parts of Nigeria under President Buhari. Why is that so?
The thing is that Nigeria has never been able to tackle corruption and recover huge sums of money as the present administration has done. Those who do not like the Buhari government are the corrupt people because they are afraid that the government may turn on them. They are afraid that if Buhari should come for a second term he will have nothing else to prove rather than to tackle corruption headlong and deal with whomever is involved. So they think he wants a second term so they want to use that to distract him because if he comes for a second term he will have no more election to look forward to and will hit everybody hard. I think this is what they are afraid of.
Anybody who loves Nigeria and wants the country should want Buhari to continue because other countries that started with us have advanced and we are still lagging behind. We are a consuming nation that cannot produce anything. Look at Ajaokuta Steel Project that started so many years ago, what have we gotten from it? Absolutely nothing, people are just making money from it they don’t think about death, they think they will live forever. If we are able to get Ajaokuta on stream, we will be able to produce vehicles in this country, we will produce machinery.
Do you think corrupt officials are involved in the insurgency?
It is possible. When Boko Haram started allegations were made against certain politicians as being sponsors. The borders are also porous so politicians can buy guns and bring them in. There are also allegations that helicopters are used to drop weapons for these insurgents so I don’t know, it could be politicians.
What is your advice to the federal government on how best to tackle the security challenges facing the country?
The federal government should recover all illegal firearms from the possession of unauthorised people. They should also recruit more people into the security services and we should launch ‘Operation Know Your Neighbour.’ By that operation, I mean that if you are resident in a place, you should know your neighbours so that if a stranger comes into the neighbourhood you will know and report to the appropriate authorities. The police should be well equipped to ensure they do their duties well and not risk their lives unnecessarily.
Curled from the Sun