Last Monday, the Nigeria Police Force in conjunction with the SUN publishing limited held a National Security Summit, NSS in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. During his keynote address, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Mohammad Sa’ad Abubakar III led the participants into how the security operational guide of his kingdom was formed and how it has been sustained. Senior Crime Correspondent IORAKPEN ISHU-JOSEF attended the summit for Crime Beat.
The theme of the summit was “Community partnership approach to internal security and crime management”, and in the words of one of the organizers, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, a former governor of Abia state and publisher of the SUN newspaper, the theme of the summit is apt and very timely and pertinent, considering the fact that if all the participants understand their roles and commit to the resolutions reached at the end of the programme, it could be the lasting solution in security in the country.
Dr. Kalu said that understanding that crime-control tactics need to be augmented with other non-combative approaches like community policing because a participatory approach to policing of the Nigerian society will ensure ownership of the reform of the stakeholders, which in turn will make the programme sustainable.
Historically, our (Nigeria’s) revered traditional institutions are known to be strong social control actors who have been deploying their grassroots reach and time-tested cultural frameworks for information collection and dissemination, crime detection, and dispute resolution at the community level.
The Inspector General of Police, IGP Solomon Arase, during his remarks at the event, said the traditional institutions’ strong knowledge of history, culture, norms and customary practices as well as their reverence by their subjects are vital assets that could be tapped into to engender community-driven policing and address local and national crime and security challenges.
Based on this, Sultan Abubakar citing the Kano Constitution of 1490s as one of the early documents that spelt out the various personnel required in the maintenance of law and order that include intelligence officers, Police officers, night patrolmen as well as security guards, quoted part of the kano constitution, which stated that, “the ruler should find out about the enemy condition through trusted spies at all times-peace or war-so that nothing of the enemies activities shall be hidden from him at any moment. For he who is ignorant about something is also blind to it, while he who can see can defeat one thousand blind men”.
The Sultan said with the advent of the Sokoto Caliphate at the beginning of the 19th century, the security architecture, especially in the northern part of Nigeria, underwent substantial change.
He said the conceptual basis of state and human security in the Sokoto caliphate, besides the setting up of a Police Force, was predicated on three other pillars.
“The first pillar was the issue of justice and fairness to all, for Shaykh Uthman Ibn Fodio believed that one of the key foundations of good governance is justice. His son and lieutenant, Shykh Muhammad Bello was equally emphatic that there can be no development without justice, for justice is the basis of all progress”, Sultan stated.
Sultan Abubakar, a retired army general, said the second pillar which the Sokoto Caliphate leaders considered important in ensuring human and state security was the issue of socio-economic development.
The third pillar, according to the Sultan, is the fight against corruption which he said at an early stage of the caliphate, leaders realized that they needed honest persons, at all levels, to be able to establish a decent state.
Quoting Sultan Mohammad Bello, Abukabar III said “leaders are like a spring of water and all your officials are like water-wheels. If the spring is pure, the filth of the water-wheels cannot harm it. If on the other hand, the spring is polluted, the purity of the water-wheel will have little effect on the purity of the water”.
“On his employees, the ruler was urged by the caliphate leaders to estimate their wealth before appointing them and should watch their conduct at all times. He shall confiscate whatever is in excess of their legitimate income and if in doubt, confiscate half of it. To his subject he will be as the shepherd of a flock among ravening lions, for from evil employees precede all manner of corruption in every land. On bribery and gift-giving, Shaykh Abdullahi b. Fdio could not be more emphatic.
The royal father revealed that another thing agreed upon as being illegal is the collection of bribes on behalf of the leader or other officials like the judges and other employees.
“It is also illegal to accept gifts from the common people. For such action is the door leading to all types of calamities. When a gift finds its way to a man of authority, justice and goodness will find its way out of him, and he does it to purchase for himself a place in hell”.
The royal father advised that Nigerians should face the task of reforming and repositioning our national institutions, including the Nigeria Police Force and related agencies.
“It is imperative to ensure that our security agencies truly become 21st century organizations able to discharge their mandates effectively and efficiently. We should be able to cater for the operational needs and to the welfare of their members. When we state that they serve and protect, we should mean it by word and deed.
“We should endeavour to build sturdy bridges and bridge the gap between our security agencies and our communities. The record of our recent past is before us and shall serve as a true guide to the future. But we should also learn from our past and avoid expediency. Whatever we do, should be meaningful and sustainable.
He decried how the last few years had been a very trying period for Nigeria, noting that blood had been shed with impunity and careless abandon, lives had been lost and livelihoods had been shattered.
He challenged traditional, religious and community leaders to come together and safeguard Nigeria. “On our part as traditional rulers, we pledge our support to the security institutions. Traditional institutions over centuries have played vital roles in the sustenance of peace and security in their domains”.
“Our national security agencies must join the crusade against corruption, with commitment and determination. Regardless of how well trained and equipped an organisation is, it cannot attain its full potentials if it allows corruption and corrupt elements to grace its corridors. Those who conspire to corrupt our national institutions from the outside must face the same consequences as those who do it from inside.