Governors should adopt Osun 2014 security model 

There is need for the 36 states governors to revisit 2014 Osun state security architecture to put a stop to insecurity in Nigeria. I am worried over recent kidnapping of school children in Nigeria. There is no law in Nigeria that prevents states from building satellite tracking sites and drone stations. State police is meaningless if policemen are not equipped.

There areterrorists in the North-east, bandits in Abuja, North-west and North-central. Nigeria has, in recent years, witnessed a rise in banditry across the country, including in the North-western states of Sokoto Zamfara and Katsina. The criminalities by armed bandits and kidnappers are carried out mostly under the cover of the contiguous forests reserves and areas stretching from Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna and Niger states.

The 36 governors in Nigeria should learn a lesson from Osun 2014 security architecture that was introduced by the former governor of Osun state. With the Osun security architecture, Rauf Aregbesola purchased helicopter for aerial security surveillance and presentation of more sophisticated 25 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) to the Nigerian Police Force, a feat that has never been achieved by any government in the 36 states. The procurement of the helicopter and the APCs was the security architecture that particularly drove away many undesirable elements from the state. I challenge any state governor to prove me wrong.

It was during the presentation of the 25 APCs in 2014 that the then Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, who was represented by the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of zone X1, Mr. David Omojola saluted the courage of Aregbesola in fighting crime in the state. He said the Aregbesola administration has demonstrated high sense of responsibility in keeping the state safe in line with the dictate of his office. Also, the then commissioner of police in the state, Mr. Ibrahim Maishanu, described the gesture by the governor as the first in the history of the state, assuring that the equipment would be properly put to use and Osun state would be one of the most peaceful in the country henceforth.

However, in order to make communication easier for security purposes, the state government as part of its commitment procured modern communication gadgets for security agencies in the state and ensured installation of various communication equipment at security commands for easy communication. Also, the government established Osun Emergency and Citizens’ Inquiry/Contact Centre in Oke-Fia, Osogbo, which has since been serving as the easiest way of reporting any emergency situation to the security agencies.

The Nigerian Army, for example, has been deployed in 32 of the 36 states in the country as at June 2023, battling terrorism, cattle rustling, kidnapping, communal clashes and other forms of insecurity. The former governor ensured security of lives and properties with provision of 25 APCs, over 100 security patrol vehicles and one helicopter for surveillance, state of the art police stations were also built. 

To enhance security of lives and properties, the state government provided about 125 patrol vehicles to security agencies such as the Army, Police, FRSC, NDLEA and the Civil Defence. Armoured personnel carriers, the first in the history of the state were provided to fight incessant robbery attacks. It is also noteworthy that the state acquired one helicopter for area surveillance and ‘’quick emergency response’’ in the state. Since this noble initiative, crime, especially bank robberies were reduced significantly to the barest minimum in Osun.

The helicopter, a French Five-Plus-One passenger Eurocopter AS-355N, is a 2006 Model with twin engines. The latest security acquisition was to complement the state’s earlier investments on adequate protection of lives and properties of the citizenry through the procurement of several APCs, communication gadgets and police patrol vans. The helicopter was to ensure aerial surveillance. The helicopter was also to provide emergency services for the “Osun Emergency Management Agency and O-Ambulance” for medical emergencies and other forms of evacuation.

Through effective leadership and good governance, Osun state was remedied from apparent slide into state fragility and failure. Osun is one of the states in the country known to be peaceful, owing to the security measures that have been put in place by the administration of former Governor Aregbesola to support security agencies to carry out their responsibilities effectively. The lesson from Osun security strategy is that Aregbesola strengthened the effectiveness of the Nigeria Police Force which required improving trust with local communities and better responding to citizens’ security needs. Doing so requires systemic reforms in governance and accountability. Tackling modern security threats in Osun, then, was directly tied with improving the governance and oversight of the security sector, especially the police.

Aregbesola took responsibility of security in Osun state. The lesson from Osun state is that it has developed comprehensive strategy and home-grown solutions to security challenges in the state. The government has developed a security plan to resolve challenges such as robbery, cultism, drug abuse and arms proliferation, among others.

Before the advent of Aregbesola administration in 2010, Osun was one of the volatile states in the country, as bank robbery cases, extra-judicial killings, political violence and such other crimes were rampant and to a large extent, the residents of the state, particularly in some major towns like Ilesa, Osogbo, Ile-Ife and so many others could not sleep with their two eyes closed because of fear. There has been a trend that is nobody takes responsibility when things go wrong. No doubt there are many instances of negligence and poor security where people should hold the failing institution liable for threat to life.  But there must be some shared responsibility of security.

The story began to change shortly after the ‘power-shift’ to the hands of former Governor Aregbesola, who, as part of his security measures declared that none of his supporters should attack any member of the opposition, who attacked them when they were in power, What then followed was the procurement of five sophisticated Armoured Personnel Carriers and 125 Patrol vans and some other security equipment to combat crimes that already had an established ground in the state. 

The impact of this was the reduction in crime rate, particularly in the state capital and some other major towns in the state. This was a feat that had never been recorded by any government in the state. The vans were distributed among all the security agencies, including the Army, Police, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Immigration and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) amongst others.

The state government also subsequently inaugurated a combined quick emergency response team, Swift Action Response Squad (SARS) which comprises security forces like the Army, Police, and NSCDC officials whose activities reduced crime rate significantly to the barest minimum in Osun.

When Aregbesola launched and handed over more than 20 armoured personnel carriers, APCs to the Osun Police command in Osogbo, he lamented that when government fails to guarantee safety of lives and property, such government had no business to be in power. Aregbesola said security, safety and the welfare of the people were the primary responsibilities of government as enshrined in the nation’s constitution, saying “security is the most essential responsibility of a responsible government. When a government fails to provide security, it has no business in power.

The former governor had explained then that once the state is well-secured from the activities of criminals, the state would become attractive to investors, thereby catalysing rapid growth of the economy. In Nigeria the Pf2 and Pf3 have been supplied to Osun state government for the use by the police in combating armed robbery in the state. Osun APCs are rigorously tested and proven in the toughest environments and are certified and compliant with military norms and standards.

Inwalomhe Donald,

Osogbo, Osun state

[email protected]