Insecurity and challenge of inter-agency rivalry
By Monday Ijeh, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
Unhealthy inter-agency rivalry is one of the major factor limiting the capacity of security agencies to effectively tackle the current insecurity in the country.
However, inter-agency rivalry is not peculiar to Nigeria, but problem experts are usually confronted with globally.
To promote inter-agency collaboration in the security sector, a German Foundation, Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), recently conducted a review of legal provisions of the various security agencies with Nigerian experts.
Dr Valadimir Kreck, Resident Representative of KAS, Nigeria, said the review revealed, among others, that, ineffective joint approach to curb crime and terrorism as well as inter-agency rivalry were caused by overlapping or conflicting mandates.
He said to solve the problem, KAS commenced strategic engagement with the Executive and the National Assembly to discuss reforms that could create more effective security apparatus in Nigeria.
“Considering the present security challenges in Nigeria and the overstretching of security agencies in Nigeria, it becomes clear that neither the armed forces nor the police or any other Nigerian security agency can address the problem alone.
“Only joint collaborative approaches will bring the prospect of success needed in the country,” he said.
It was to boost collaboration that KAS, in partnership with the Ministry of Police Affairs organised a three-day retreat on “Strengthening Inter-agency Collaborations and Organisational Effectiveness for the Ministry and Related Agencies.”
Participants were drawn from the Ministry of Police Affairs, Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Police Trust Fund, the Police Service Commission, Police Academy and the academia.
Kreck said KAS has been supporting security reforms in Nigeria in the areas of capacity building, among others.
He said officers of the Armed Forces, Nigeria Police, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigerian Immigration Service had benefited from the support.
According to him, security agencies, including the various security training departments and colleges had been supported to optimise the quality of their training.
The Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Muhammad Dingyadi, said the retreat was meant to deepen the realisation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s desire to advance policing in Nigeria.
He said the desire would be realised through equipping, sustainable reforms, internalisation of community policing arrangements, enhanced welfare and capacity development.
Dingyadi said the rate of violent crimes and secessionist agitations in some parts of the country have reached unacceptable heights.
He said the violent crimes and agitations had snowballed into attacks on security formations and other symbols of authority in the country.
The minister said the need to put in place sustainable measures to tackle the security challenges threatening the peace, security, growth and development in parts of the country reaffirmed the importance of the retreat.
The minister said the increasingly sophisticated spate of violent crimes, necessitated the deployment of all available security assets, conflict resolution mechanisms and other peace building measures to enhance internal security arrangements in the country.
He said the retreat would provide the platform to critique the various departments and agencies of the Nigeria Police Force.
According to him, this is with a view to opening new frontiers, through fostering of synergy, coordination, renewed loyalty to the system and firm commitment to professionalism to achieve the set objectives.
“The retreat will also bring to fore, the state of our border security and implications of poorly policed borders on internal security.
“Attention will also be focused on pivotal policing departments, intelligence, operations, research and planning, ICT and other key segments of policing arrangements.
“This is to engender a rebirth of new security architecture to meet global best policing standard practice,” he said
The Inspector General of Police, Mr Usman Baba said the unhealthy inter- agency rivalry was a major issue limiting the capacity of the police to achieve its internal security mandate.
He said the trend had been of concern to a cross section of Nigerians over the years, but added that it was not peculiar to Nigeria alone.
Baba said weak inter-agency cooperation and collaboration accounted for the 9/11 terror attack in the US.
He said the weak collaboration manifested in the failure of strategic security institutions to share intelligence and work together to advance the national security interest of the country.
“In essence, the challenge of inter- agency rivalry must be seen and acknowledged as a global challenge that haunts internal security of modern states.
“Inter-agency friction constitutes a major threat to internal security and national cohesion.
“It accounts for budgetary wastages, duplication of functions, mutual suspicion and encroachment on each other’s legal and operational space by competing agencies.
“Inter-agency rivalry exposes security agencies to public ridicule and possible loss of public confidence in ability of such agencies to perform their statutory functions,” he said.
He said the police had recorded situations where due to poor inter- agency collaboration, been victims of friendly fire from other security agents who responded to scenes of crimes where police operation was already ongoing.
According to him, a critical example was the Aug. 6, 2019 incident,where some police personnel attached to the Intelligence Response Team of the force were killed in Taraba by a military detachment.
He said the operatives who were on legitimate investigation activities to arrest a notorious kidnapping kingpin in Taraba were killed and the suspect set free by the military detachment.
“To address the challenge of inter- security agencies collaboration, upon my assumption of office as the inspector-general, I visited service chiefs and heads of some security and intelligence agencies.
“In the course of the visits, pathways for deepening collaboration were discussed.
“I am happy to note that this initiative has paid off as inter-agency trust and collaboration between the police and other security agencies is being increasingly strengthened.
“This has occasioned an increased intelligence sharing process and a more effective joint operation across the country,” he added.
The participants at the end of the retreat stressed the need to improve collaboration and synergy in order to ensure organisational effectiveness.
They also said it was necessary to deepen engagements with the Nigeria Police Force, Police Service Commission, Nigeria Police Trust Fund and Ministry of Police Affairs to create a platform for information exchange and management.
They urged individual agencies to examine their mandates to see where their constraints had restrained effective collaboration and engagement.
The participants underscored the importance of training and retraining of senior police personnel, rank and file along with senior officers and staff of all relevant agencies to enhance their proficiency and professionalism in the performance of their duties. (NANFeatures)
** If used, please credit the writer as well as the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).