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‘Consider using private defence contractors to fight insurgency’ – Reps advise Buhari

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The House of Representatives has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently consider the use of private defence contractors for targeted security operations to combat insurgency and terrorism.

This was among the 19 recommendations made by the Special Committee on National Security.

The report of the Committee laid before the House on July 8, 2021, was considered in the Committee of the Whole on Tuesday.

The recommendations are:

“Instruct the immediate enhanced training for the Police Mobile Unit to improve their capacity to deal with insecurity. A special team of 40,000 Police Mobile Unit officers should undergo this special training. 1,000 should then be deployed to every state for immediate operations. North East, South West, South East can receive the officers remaining out of the 40k.

“Create a new team under the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to train and work with the guards of Nigeria’s forest. This unit will collaborate with the current Forest Guards who will remain under the control of States

“Encourage the Intelligence Agencies (working with the National Security Adviser and the Chief of Defence Staff) to initiate a screening and vetting program of all frontline officers of

the Nigerian military to fish out moles and double-agents who have so far compromised most efforts at combating insecurity and win the war against insurgents and terrorists

“Strategically, the Executive should initiate a Presidential Police Reform initiative that will be resident in one central place within the Presidency. Also, an operational specialised unit should be established within the NPF to champion and drive all the change initiatives (based on a Presidential Policing Reform Roadmap) from within the institution

“Direct the use of the Nigerian Police Trust Fund to procure some of the immediate equipment need by the rank-and-file police officers in Nigeria. This intervention will include the procurement of modern critical equipment for the Nigeria Police Force as specified by the leadership of the NPF.

“Give immediate consideration to the use of Private Defence Contractors for targeted security operations to combat insurgency and terrorism especially;

“Urge the Executive to use all means at its disposal (while Legislation is pending), to require the creation of a protocol that will compel intelligence (as a matter of necessity) sharing amongst all security agencies;

“Deploy Early Warning Systems nationwide including installation of CCTV cameras and other surveillance, satellite and electronic equipment along major highways, public places, and major cities and our borders;

“Establish and strengthen a National Crisis Centre (NCC) within the Nigerian Police. The NCC will be the national coordinating centre for all civil security response actions and monitoring of resolutions of such with monthly reporting on all incidents. It will also be the central place for any Nigerian to report major security incidents;

“Through an Executive Order, initiate a Civilianisation program in all our security agencies. This should compel the agencies to use civilian staff to perform most back-office and non-tactical duties. This initiative will free up thousands of security personnel for frontline duties immediately;

“Encourage and resource the National Orientation Agency and the Federal Ministry of Information to begin a structured strategic Communication and orientation campaign using all available media channels and platforms to promote peaceful coexistence and national unity;

“Support for the creation of Local Security Committees in all 774 Local Government Areas. This panel should include Traditional Rulers, Religious institutions, and local opinion leaders.

This should be managed by the NPF as part of its Community Policing mandate;

“The use and development of grazing reserves and ranching should be pursued in lower population areas. Pilot schemes should commence immediately in all states that are positively disposed to it.

“Strengthening the judicial and law enforcement administration through a Digitisation initiative for the judiciary. This will speed up the administration of Justice and reduce corruption. Swift administration of justice will help reduce causes of disaffection which feeds into insecurity.

“Strengthen and instruct widespread use of the centralized national criminal database by the NPF and mandate access for other security agencies, providing resources to ensure this can be done. This should also include modernization of the national fingerprint database.

“The NSA in collaboration with civil security agencies should identify, map, and arrest cult group leaders, violent agitators, and networks of criminal groups at tertiary education level as well as society at large.

“The nation’s dependence on the import of basic security requirements should be reduced by enhancing the existing military production facilities and private companies across the country for immediate supply of needed security equipment.

“Target poverty as a must; as poverty is the main driver for all the insecurity issues currently prevalent across the nation. This can be done through a focus on infrastructure and a new jobs’ creation drive and initiative by the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Executive is also urged to consider doing even more by declaring a state of emergency on job creation considering the high rate of unemployment.

“That Nigeria must take major steps to control the flow of illegal arms into the country. The first step must strengthen the control of our borders to detect and seize any illegal shipment of arms into the country, and arrest and prosecute any person associated with the illegal flow of arms into the country. In the next step, Nigeria should reach out to overseas arms dealers to enlist their cooperation against the sales of arms to non-state actors. A third step should be a major diplomatic initiative with the governments of countries known to have companies engaged in selling arms to non-state actors. Continuous Arms-Collection and Depository scheme should be established national to encourage disposal and collection of illegal firearms.”

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