Corruption, Security Agencies And National Security | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe

Comment, Opinion

Corruption, Security Agencies And National Security

Posted: Jun 4, 2015 at 12:16 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Rasak Musbau


In every society, there are bound to be deviants who disobey the laws of the society. This is why certain agencies are set up to regulate the behavior of people and preserve the general interest of the society. Hence, in Nigeria, the armed forces, the Police, Immigration, Customs and the Department of State Security Services are put in place for that purpose.

According to the Nigerian Constitution, the Police Force is to maintain law and order and ensure public safety in the country. The Police are to prevent crime by detecting and arresting any suspicious person. The police also are to enforce the law by conducting prosecution before the courts. Police are also involved in community support and outreach programs on a range of intervention activities such as drug awareness. The Police receive the powers to investigate, arrest and detain suspicious individuals from the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria.

It is also the Constitution that gives the armed forces the task of defending the country’s territorial integrity against external aggression and to protect Nigeria territory on land, sea and air.

Disturbingly, there is a myriad of problems presently confronting Nigeria that suggests systemic failure of our security agencies. Law and order appear to have broken down inexorably. Criminal tendencies and practices are on the increase in both the urban and the rural centres. From mushroom gang, hoodlums are conveniently and comfortably growing into terror organizations.  Things have been turned upside down such that while innocent citizens fear and despise security agencies, the police fear armed robbers, fraudsters, drug peddlers and currency traffickers.  While the ill-equipped and ill-motivated police fear the superior fire-power of criminals, innocents are treated by some of them like animals and subjected to diverse kinds of humiliation.

There has to be a holistic reform of the police and other security agencies, in the spirit of the change that we are witnessing in the country. At least going by the very obvious direct relationship between security agencies, corruption and insecurity in the country, one of the most fundamental issues that is very germane to a progressive change is the issue of nipping this cankerworm in the bud within the security agencies. Plainly put, reforming the security agencies must start with the provision of good governance by governments at all level. If corruption is to be totally eradicated, or at worse reduced to the barest minimum, the social, business, bureaucratic environment and judicial system must be hostile to corruption. Here, enlightened citizens, who can utilize human-right instruments to check and monitor governance, are vital. The fulcrum of efficient security organization in the modern world is intelligence gathering. Hence, Nigeria should give the country’s law enforcement agencies the leeway to use electronic intelligence gathering techniques to monitor civil and criminal offences across the country. There is a need for government to establish a well funded Anti-Corruption Intelligence Agency (ACIA), which can be a stand-alone agency that could have a relationship with the present ICPC and EFCC, but which preferably should report to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation.

However, fighting corruption, an obviously tough task, starts and ends with the police or other security agencies, but logically corruption cannot be fought with corruptors. The question now is: Is it possible to make police and other security agencies the face of change in the new General Muhammadu Buhari democratic dispensation? Unless we want to deceive ourselves, the police, as it is presently constituted, structured, financed and organized, cannot combat any crime let alone recording any meaningful service in the fight against corruption.

The new government must enlighten the public on the nature of corruption as well as its negative effects on the polity. This is a job that the National Orientation Agency (NOA), as well as the Federal and State Ministries of Information, must undertake. At the same time, the citizenry must be conscious of the stiff penalties that await those that engage in corrupt practices. To this end, certain legal instruments must be put in place to enable unfettered corruption detection, arraignment and conviction to be facilitated.