A special security event convened by the new leadership and members of the National Association of Online Security Reporters (NAOSRE) on Friday, December 11, 2020, in Lagos has taken a new dimension on the insecurity bedeviling Nigeria.
NAOSRE members comprised professional journalists with strong media credentials who have worked with the conventional media with most of them being Nigeria’s finest hands in security reportage.
Established with the main objective of providing accuracy and transparency in relaying security news, the association also stands as the long-expected information bridge between citizens and security agents.
To this end, NAOSRE has successfully established a sustainable working relationship with key security players in the corporate world and security agencies in Nigeria, including but not limited to the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force, Nigeria Police Force and the Nigeria Customs Service as well as Federal Road Safety Corps.
Without doubt, NAOSRE’s clout in Nigeria’s security stratosphere was displayed by the event of December 11, which, as it were, has passed into history as a watershed in the annals of security discourse in the country.
NAOSRE Dinner/Discourse drew participants, guests and speakers from the safety and security agencies, the legislative arm of government, traditional leadership and corporate organizations and of course, the media; both traditional and the digital.
Interestingly, the evening of intelligent discourse with a theme: ‘2021 Nigeria Security: Issues, Funding and Prospect’ unlocked a plethora of security solutions and ideas.
Expectedly, the convergence of key players in the security circle opened the windows set of suggestions which would embellish 2021 security policy formulation and implementations in a manner that would made Nigeria one of the secured countries on the continent.
NAOSRE President, Mr. Femi Oyewale in his welcome address was, unmistakably, the needed bullet that hit the bull’s eye, considering the various security challenges that reared up in the course of the year, culminating in the purification of the #ENDSARS protest.
“Today’s security discourse was birthed out of the need to address the security issues in Nigeria, bearing in mind that 2020 has been a very tough year for citizens, businesses and indeed, the security sector. It provided room for elaborate sharing of ideas and offered a 360-degree view of Nigeria’s security apparatus.
“Each security agency spoke on the unique challenges confronting the efficiency on the job and also informed the public about the gains and the good strides that have been achieved by their respective organizations” Oyewole remarked.
From the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, came a detailed analysis of the use of hi-tech speed sensors to check recklessness of drivers on Nigerian roads, and thus secure road transportation in the country.
Superintendent Route Commander, SRC Olasehinde who represented FRSC spokesman, Marshal Bisi Kazeem, elaborated the professional working abilities of Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi, adding that, the Corps has embraced technology in all its operations.
Kazeem also hinted that a drivers’ license issued by FRSC in Nigeria can validate a user’s driving permission across many countries in the world. He however, sued for strict adherence to driving rules and codes by road users to mitigate the growing list of disasters on Nigerian roads.
In his remark on behalf of The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the National Public Relations Officer, Deputy Comptroller Joseph Attah, ably represented by the Tin Can Island Port public relations officer, Mr. Uche Ejesieme, Attah gave a wide-angle view of the new developments. According to him, the agency is not relenting in doing their best to drastically reduce smuggling to the barest minimum and also elaborated its deployment of intelligence in the discharge of its duties at all the country’s points of entry. The Customs particularly advocated for synergy among security agents in view of the multifaceted dimensions of border security.
Lagos State Police Commissioner, Hakeem Odumosu, who was well represented by SP Adebisi Adewunmi highlighted that there is need to inject more funds in the security apparatus from military to the Police.
“In Lagos, Policemen work 24/7. They are overstretched. But with proper funding, everyone will sleep with their eyes closed. We have also been promised an improved salary and retirement package.” Police boss said.
Noting that the work of the police is further made difficult by online mischief-makers who created unnecessary panic, CP Odumosu advised that working hand in hand with the police will go a long way in ensuring the safety of lives and property.
“Tell us our wrongs, but don’t encourage sensational journalism that can further breach the peace in society,” he appealed to NAOSRE.
Acting Deputy Director, 81 Division Army Public Relations, Major Osoba Olaniyi, who represented the Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sagir Musa at NAOSRE dinner stated that the Army accepts criticism because they are a professional institution but was quick to add that they despise aspersion casting because it has the tendency to weaken the resolve of those still fighting and dishonor the memories of fallen heroes and can also undermine national unity. He also disclosed that the Nigerian Army is conducting internal security operations in 34 states.
While responding to concerns raised about members of Police and Army impunity when dealing with civilians affirmed, Olaniyi said irrespective of whatever uniform is worn, security agencies still share the same humanity with members of society.
The military is still high on discipline. We still don’t condone indiscipline. Both the Police and Army agreed that there are bad eggs among their operatives. And we shall try to remain humane.” Olaniyi stated further.
He nonetheless advised the public to report cases of infractions to 81 Division and 9th Brigade, stressing that Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff has zero tolerance for indiscipline among officers and men especially in relating with the general public.
Corroborating Major Olaniyi’s submission, SP Adewunmi said there will always be Judas among people and that the same applies to the Nigeria Police but assured that efforts are ongoing to keep training and re-training officers on how to relate with the public.
He gave the anecdote of how some communities rose to protect Police officers and prevented attacks on police stations located in their neighborhood. He advised that citizens should imbibe the spirit of supporting security agents at all times.
Veteran Nollywood actor, Dr. Tony Akposheri, who represented Prince Honorable Ned Nwoko, NAOSRE Grand Patron, while praising NAOSRE for organizing such great event, pointed out that the public has roles to play in the security of our society.
“Nigerian security discourse is timely at this time of our nation because we cannot leave everything to the government. This is not the issue of sacking service chiefs; if they are sacked and the right things are not in place the situation will not improve. Our security personnel are not adequately well taken care of and the number of security operatives in this country is not adequate,” he submitted, pointing out other deficits including working with obsolete tools and technology.
“Children of security agents should enjoy free education from primary school to university as this would boost the morale of security operatives. We are not happy with the state of the Nigerian Police. They are not well remunerated. There should be transparency in what goes to them as earnings and allowances,” Akposheri averred.
Various speakers from the non-security sector that graced NAOSRE occasion include, Aare Ona-Kakanfo of Yoruba land, Otunba Gani Adams, Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, Obateru of Egbin Kingdom, Ikorodu, Lagos, HRM. Oba (Dr.) Adeoriyomi Akeem Oyebo and HRM Oba Abdulwasiu Omogbolahan Lawal Abisogun, Oniru of Iruland.