Prof Nick Eze is the chairman, Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). He speaks on the image of the seat of power and the menace of crimes besetting the city in this chat with AGI ONDA.
About PCRC in Abuja
The Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) is an organisation set up to assist the police in the war against crime, and to foster a better understanding between the Police and their host community. The committee is also responsible for ensuring, as well as enhancing security in FCT. Among other things, the aim and objectives of PCRC is to foster good relationship between the police and the community, educate the public at large on community policing and to see the
Nigerian police as friends.
We help the police enforce the law in the society by providing authentic information and assist generally in all areas that will enhance security in the society.
Security situation in FCT
Security is a thing of the environment. Most kidnappers and criminals in Nigeria are within the age bracket of 16- 30, what we call the younger generation. What that means is that the leadership of the country has failed.
I’m not talking of the political leadership of this administration alone but leadership at all levels; the family, educational institutions, and government at all levels, and that includes even the judiciary.
Let me ask you; who are the herdsmen? We have lived with herdsmen and we have also lived with criminals. You can’t rule out criminality in the society but the leadership has always been there to stop the excesses of people before they form criminal groups and become nuisance in the society.
You don’t allow them to metamorphose into criminal groups to cause havoc to the society. Thuggery is one area the country has to look into. Thuggery is the first point to address criminality, because that’s what the politicians use to get to power.
In order words, the criminalities you see today started with thuggery. At some point you see young men and women standing at the centre of the road with some weapons stopping vehicles and extorting money from people. You also see security and none security men at the road extorting money from people. This is a training ground for what we see as terrorism, kidnapping, and armed robbery.
If we must correct our society, no man should carry gun in the public without the authority to do so. You have to be properly dressed and identified to carry gun. You have to have attire, uniform, that is easily identifiable before you can carry weapon.
Today, you see all manner of people dressing and brandishing guns everywhere; on the street, on the road, in the market and other places. It shouldn’t be.
If you see a vehicle, you should be able to identify who the occupants are and where they come from. It is not wearing pull-over or t-shirt, and brandishing gun that makes one a security man. And some of them come out with bath-room slippers. These are training grounds for criminal activities.
So, people copy from what they see. Everybody carries gun and you don’t know who is who. People block roads and use the slightest opportunities to extort money from others. So, you don’t know who the armed robbers are, because everybody is engaged in blocking road; you even see council people blocking federal roads too.
Withdraw all unauthorised people from all corners of the FCT, so that if we see you with a gun, you become a suspect if you are not a policeman or properly kitted as a security personnel. Soldiers are not even allowed to carry their weapons on the street. They go in convoy and they keep their guns in the barracks.
The policemen should carry their guns to office, get to work and at the end of the day, they drop the guns in their offices and go home.
This is the way to demilitarise Nigeria and then prepare for free and fair election because they have to have freedom to elect their leaders and in a democracy, your weapon is the vote that you cast for the person of your choice.
Presence of herdsmen in the city centres
That is why I talked about failure of leadership. Now, FCTA has six secretariats and two departments, each with a secretary; the equivalent of commissioners in states.
I ask you, what is the job of the administration department, the legal or social department? Why allow cattle to compete with road users in the FCT and cause nuisance in the seat of government? FCT is supposed to be the symbol of Nigeria?
What message are we spreading?
This is not about sentiment; if a Fulani man is carrying his cattle across the city unmolested, then the leadership has failed, not the herdsman who doesn’t know the bad image he is portraying. The problem lies with the man at the helm of the affairs in FCT to say, no we have routes for cattle to pass, where the train can pass, where cars can pass; the road is not cattle route.
Cattle should pass through the bush where they feed because they don’t feed on the road.