Civil society organisation, Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy Development (FENRAD) has bemoaned the abuse of rights of citizens, torture, and extortion by security agencies against Nigerian citizens.
The group said this forms the basis of the stakeholder’s dialogue on Civil-Military Relations for Peace and Security in the South East which took place in Umuahia Abia State capital.
The Executive Director of FENRAD, Comrade Nelson Nnanna Nwafor said the stakeholders dialogue organised in collaboration with the Action Group on Free Civic Space (AGFCS) was held to tackle the loopholes between the security agencies and the civilians.
The dialogue as as the theme; Building Bridges for Resilient Communities: Strengthening Civil-military partnerships with Homeland Security and Civil Society.
Nwafor said the major problem faced is the abuse of the rights of citizens by some law enforcement officers, police brutality, extortion, and exploitation of citizens.
He also, said he wishes to help amplify issues of concern to the law enforcement authorities because their rights too must be protected.
Dr Anthony Chukwuebuka Okorie of Federal University Of Technology Bayelsa during a presentation noted that the main duty of the government is to ensure that the security and lives of the citizens are protected.
He stated that the southeast has been the most peaceful part of the country adding that the southeast zone as other zones in Nigeria faces multiple security challenges like Farmers herders conflict, communal clashes, cult wars, kidnappings, armed robbery, attacks by unknown gunmen, and so on.
Okorie said Section 14(2) (b) of the 1999 constitution provides the security and welfare of the people and should be the primary purpose of the government.
He stressed that the spate of insecurity has impacted people’s lives, disrupted socio-communal life, and deepened public distrust of state institutions.
Okorie further stated that one of the contributing factors to insecurity in the southeast zone is perceived sense of marginalization of the region in the federal structure, power equation and distribution of resources.
“Evolving a whole of society Approach (WOSA) presents a formidable posture for fostering sustainable peace, security and development in the zone”
“WOSA is a broader approach, moving beyond public authorities and engaging all relevant stakeholders including individuals and families”.
On the other hand, the Abia State Chairman Police campaign against cultism and other vices (POCACOV), Mrs Adanma Odefa-Wachukwu spoke on the threat of street gangsterism (Cultism); Engaging youngsters to prevent gang up and security agents face-off.
She noted that the police and other security agencies are working hard in the fight against cultism in the state noting that the young once are to be empowered on different skills.
The senior special Adviser to the Governor on Homeland Security, Fire and Emergency Mr Chukwunenye Nwaogor while addressing the group said no society can fully develop and reach its potential if security cannot be assured.
Nwaogor noted that the governor Dr. Alex Otti has massively invested in security architecture, launching Operation Crush and other measures which has made the State a safest place in the east of Niger.
He stated that the Governor has begun to reorganize and reform the Homeland Security which before his coming to office was instituted but abandoned by the previous administration adding that he has insisted in ensuring that Homeland Security does not replace the Nigerian police, but the agency complements the police as it helps to safeguard the people.
He said both individuals and community effort will play major roles in the governor’s new approach while leveraging the use of Technology to finally deliver a security system that is second to none in the country.
He further stated that in executing the agenda, the Governor realizes that societies evolve better when trust between civil societies and the security agencies who serve them become the building blocks for progress and sustenance.
“If ENDSARS taught us anything in Abia State and Nigeria, it is that truth and trust both in communication, intention and deeds must be the organizing character of the relationship between security agencies and the civil society”
“The Homeland security in the coming months and years will drive this collaborative effort, not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it is economically smart to do so as well”
Speaking to ABN TV Nelson Nwafor said the arbitrary arrest and detention of agitators by state actors is uncalled for and causes a sense hostile environment in minds of people of the region.
He said the stakeholder’s dialogue has come to stay in order to fight the security challenges in the state adding that the purpose of the conversation is to see how synergy will be built between the citizens and the security agencies.
Mr Chukwunenye Nwaogor, Senior Special Adviser to the Governor on Homeland Security, Fire and Emergency while briefing newsmen said partnering with the security agencies is to ensure safety for the citizens in the state and south east zone.