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How I will tackle insecurity, oil theft if elected president — Peter Obi

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THE Labour Party presidential candidate Peter Obi has unveiled his plans to tackle the nation’s growing insecurity and the endemic oil theft in the Niger Delta if elected as Nigeria’s president.

Obi, who spoke during his continued consultation with Nigerians in the diaspora in the United States on Friday, said his administration would pursue a three-level policing system to address the insecurity and oil theft malaise bedevilling the country.

The former Anambra State governor, who shared the key focus of administration with attendees at the event, said that he would take decisive reforms towards repositioning the Nigerian police for optimal performance.

“The relevant security institutions and agencies exist. The supporting national security enabling documents and strategies also exist.  We will tweak the security architecture, which will entail reform of the security sector and governance,” he said.

Obi said he would restructure, reequip and reorient the Nigerian police to operate on three levels of federal, state and community.

“We will build a compact, robust and ready mobile police force with rapid response deployment capabilities, and legislate the establishment of state police based on community policing. We will raise the population-to-police officer ratio to a higher level,” he added.

He said that there would be a properly manned, equipped and technologically driven security system, with particular emphasis on re-focusing the Nigerian military on external threats and border protection and the police on internal security threats and law enforcement.

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He added that necessary reforms that would enhance the swift prosecution of criminals, bandits and terrorists; enhance coordination among security agencies, and uphold the rule of law would be vigorously pursued.

The presidential candidate also said that he would integrate the activities of the national intelligence and security agencies by establishing a central reporting intelligence loop under the authority of the minister of national and homeland security.

He stressed that he would establish a national command and control coordination centre to efficiently manage actionable intelligence, resource allocation and force deployment, whose membership would consist of representatives of all security agencies on a need-to-know basis.

On oil theft, Obi said while he would likely continue with some of the policies being explored by Buhari’s administration to address the pilfering, his administration would leave no stone unturned to nip the criminality in the bud.

He said, “I believe in continuity in governance. But each extant policy must be considered and, if need be, reviewed on its merit. Oil theft is not petty pilfering. It is an organized crime by a syndicate that involves a certain degree of sophisticated intelligence and logistical arrangement.

“We must admit that oil theft is happening because there is domestic and external collusion. The government and the people have the collective responsibility to protect national assets.  On my watch, those responsibilities will be accorded high priority.”

As the country continues to battle with growing insecurity concerns, there have been persistent calls from Nigerians, including former president Olusegun Obasanjo, security stakeholders and state governors, to amend the constitution to make provisions for state policing.

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Faced with the urgency to provide security for their people and stem the lingering clashes between farmers and herders, governors from the country’s South-West region moved in 2020 to create a regional security outfit codenamed ‘Amotekun.’ The South-East governors also created ‘Ebube Agu.’

States in the North, including Katsina and Benue, have also floated their various security outfits.

A bill to amend the 1999 Constitution for state policing was rejected by the National Assembly in May this year.

 

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