The North Central Development Initiative (NCDI) has urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to consider the establishment of a National Intelligence Service (NIS) to counter insecurity.
Speaking Saturday in Abuja, during the inauguration of the Initiative’s nine standing committee, expected to pilot its affairs for the year 2024, the Director General/National Coordinator of NCDI, Comrade Musa Ali Otigba, said the NIS would be charged with the responsibility of providing intelligence to counter threats to Nigeria’s internal security.
He said a separate internal intelligence agency is one of the ways to effectively curb the current insecurity in the country.
He said: “Today, insecurity has become a recurring phenomenon that threatens the well-being of Nigeria citizens. From the south west, to the north central and from the north east, to the south east, nowhere is safe.
“The country is plagued by unprecedented surge in cybercrime, armed robbery, kidnapping, domestic crime, extra-judicial killings and armed banditry, farmer/herder conflicts, communal clashes, ritual killings and attacks by unknown gunmen, Boko Haram insurgency, ethno-religious killings, militants ‘attacks on security personnel, government infrastructure and installations, drugs and child trafficking, crude oil theft, among others.
“These have become a thing of great concern to well- meaning Nigeria citizens both at home and in the diaspora.
“While I commend the efforts of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led federal government, particularly the security agencies in their relentless efforts towards making Nigeria a safe place, it is my considered opinion that the government needs to adopt more strategies and introduce more ideas on intelligence gathering that will provide the security agencies with the knowledge about what the enemy may be doing or is going to do in the future.
“Towards this end, I will recommend that the government do consider the establishment of a National Intelligence Service (NIS), that will be purely a disciplined civilian agency, and charged with the responsibility of providing intelligence to counter threats to Nigeria’ internal security, while the current National Intelligence Agency (NIA), should be left only with the responsibility of overseeing foreign intelligence and counterintelligence operations to counter foreign threats.
“By so doing, Nigerians will now know which agency to hold responsible when there is failure intelligence gathering, or commend when there is success in intelligence, as against what we have today where the military, police, DSS, and even Civil defense, all claims to be involved in intelligence gathering thereby making the job look like a jack of all trades and master of none.
“In my opinion, a separate internal intelligence agency is one of the ways to effectively curb the current insecurity in Nigeria. Countries like Botswana, Rwanda and Kenya, did it and they were able to achieve tremendous successes in recording peace and security in their countries.”
On how to tackle the development challenges bedevilling the North Central region, he said: “The only way to address the developmental challenges bedeviling the region and to fast track the rebuilding of homes and economic activities in the region which have been under constant attacks by bandits and unknown armed men, is through the establishment of the North Central Development Commission (NCDC).
“I, therefore, want to use this opportunity to call on the citizens of north central states, and our representatives at both chambers of the national assembly, to come together and support the agitation for the establishment of North Central Development Commission.
“On our own side, we have already prepared a draft bill for an act to establish the north central development commission and it will soon be presented to our representatives at the national assembly for further necessary action. The time to act is now.”
Also speaking, Dr Daudu Barnabas Adeku Ojiah, the Eyize of Ebiraland, said that the issue of insecurity has been affecting the development of the North Central region in particular and Nigeria in general as many people can no longer farm for fear of being killed.
He said: “I’m glad that an initiative of this nature is happening at this time. However, I’m disappointed that the youths are not much here. These are perilous times for us in Nigeria. God has blessed us with a lot of resources as a country, but we are taking things for granted.
“Anytime I go to Ajaokuta, I weep because of the abandoned steel project. It has been abandoned for rodents and insects. I’m not happy because that’s where I come from. I’m equally sad because as a farm, I can’t farm again because of insecurity. As a farm, I had over 100 farmers, but nobody wants to be killed in the farm, so why won’t we go hungry?
“If we can restore security in our land, our youths will go back to farm. It’s so pathetic that many of our young people now rush to Abuja for political appointments as SAs, PAs and so on, which is not supposed to be so if things were addressed by government. So, I hope that those who will be inaugurated today will take the message to the communities so that the situation will improve.”
On his part, the Special Assistant on Media to Nasarawa State governor, Hon. Ali Abare, said that there is hope for the North Central as it is not all about suffering and gloom.
Blueprint reports that the event had in attendance political bigwigs from the states in the North Central region of the country.