The presidential candidate of People’s Trust (PT) in the 2019 election, Mr.Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim has announced his plan to establish a National Guard to contain internal security threats if elected President of Nigeria.
Speaking in an interview at the weekend, he chided the APC government for failing to contain internal security breaches, promising that he would overhaul the security architecture to make Nigeria a safer place for all.
Olawepo-Hashim stressed that “security
is not just a question of spending bigger budgets; it is about having the right structures and strategies.As it is, the armed forces of the Federation is over-stressed and distracted by deployments for internal security operations.
“I think it is time for Nigeria to have a National Guard. I’m going to put up a National Guard as a President of Nigeria. My reasons and justifications are self-evident.Our internal security questions have graduated to the level of insurrection. We are now having well trained militias perhaps having more training than the police but probably, you may not need full scale military action to handle them.
“That is what a National Guard job is, an intermediate force between the regular armed forces and the police. Nigeria needs a well trained intermediate force that is going to act between the Army and the police, which is the National Guard.
“We don’t need to expose the regular army trained mainly in the art of war.The military is meant to focus on defending the territorial integrity of the nation.The National Guard is for deployment to prevent or quell internal conflict and eruptions beyond the capacity of the police service.The idea of deploying military for internal security assignment is an abnomality which I will correct as a President “, the Presidential hopeful disclosed.
Lamenting growing lawlessness in the country, Olawepo-Hashim said what encourages ongoing rascality and bloodletting is that “people are not promptly punished when they murder other people”
According to him, “government issued long statements, giving excuses, telling us why some people were killed. That’s not what we should be hearing from law enforcement officers. When people commit crime, they need to be punished promptly. And as you make example of a few people, it acts as deterrent to others”, he emphasised.
Justifying his plans to create National Guard as part of general overhauling of national security apparatus, the PT candidate observed that the life of ordinary Nigerians has become so cheap even as murderers and arsonists go mostly unpunished”, plegding that “from day one, we would act decisively so that people would know there is a new Sheriff in town.”
“Under us, every Nigerian would be assured that his life really counts, and that there are no special Nigerians who have license to kill other Nigerians. Now, that’s the first thing, we need to change the psychological environment and people know that look, you have to be careful”, he explained.
Speaking further:”The other step is to upgrade security communications and mobility capabilities. Advanced surveilance and reconissance equipments must be acquired and personnel trained to run them. Early warning signals will be taken more seriously. We will demonstrate political will to tackle insecurity in Nigeria”, he stressed.
Beyond creating the National Guard, Olawepo-Hashim also pledged to institutionalize community policing and State Police through relevant legislative amendments of the subsisting police laws and Constitution of Nigeria.
“We are going to sponsor an executive bill to amend the constitution to make for the establishment of state police. I will address fears of those opposed to state police by getting the executive bill to confer on the federal police the mandate to protect fundamental human rights of Nigerians.
“So no governor can just say, oh you cannot just have your assembly here because he doesn’t like your face. You can get your permit if they say they need a permit from the federal police. But I think even under the Nigerian constitution you may not need any permit. Your right to assemble is your right.”
“But these are some of the issues adjudicated upon by the federal high court.The enforcement of such issues would be mostly in the hands of the Federal Police and we can make a clean demarcation with this. So, with police at the local level, we can see more proactive initiatives in terms of controlling security”, he said