By Okosun Dennis
If you call it one of the best attended security conferences in recent times, you are absolutely correct.
The guests, speakers and awardees who gathered at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island on Wednesday to discuss the theme: “Crime Prevention and Intelligence Gathering: Institutionalising Citizen Participation, Technology, and the way forward,” were very loud in their statements that Nigerian citizens must play a dominant role in intelligence gathering to stem the ugly insecurity bedeviling the country.
The gathering which was at the instance of the National Association of Online Security News Publishers (NAOSNP) annual conference was tailored at fashioning a modest way to harness and champion a crime-free society for the interest of harmonious coexistence.
Various speakers emphasized the need for synergy and citizen’s support of the security agencies to deal with the monstrosity of security hiatus.
In his welcome address, the President of the Association, Mr Samson Oki, noted that the intention of organising the annual conference is to use it to address the enormous challenges of crime prevention and intelligence gathering which our various security agencies are battling to curtail.
“We also intend to use this conference to charge and encourage the Nigerian citizenry – home and abroad – and the international community to participate in this task of ensuring territorial integrity and the maintenance of peace and order for our nation Nigeria,” Oki reiterated.
In his keynote address, Barr Michael Chika Enyinnaya, a principal partner of Country Hill Attorneys and Solicitors, advocated a robust citizens’ participation in crime prevention and Intelligence gathering.
He observed that the participation of the citizens in policing is key to crime prevention and intelligence gathering, adding that several successes recorded by security agencies emanate from the information obtained and investigated to prevent a major crime or crisis from happening.
Regrettably, the constitutional lawyer posited, security agencies have often ignored such useful information which has led to monumental, catastrophic repercussions resulting to senseless loss of lives and properties as witnessed on the 5th July, 2022 in an attack at the Kuje Medium Security Prison.
On the use of technology, Enyinnaya while supporting deploying adequate technology pointed out that “despite the robust tech ecosystem, there is yet to be a fully-operational and widely adopted platform or application for the reportage of suspected or real cases of crimes or attempted crimes.”
In his subtle advise on strengthening security architecture, the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 2, Onikan, AIG Bode Adeleke cautioned Nigerians to stop oppressing one another rather, support security agencies with top-notch intelligence reports to nip in the bud criminal elements that have infested the society like a behemoth.
Also, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Governor of old Imo State, Major General Ike Nwachukwu (Retd) commended NAOSNP for organizing such conference to tackle Security issues. He also commended security agencies for rendering selfless service to the country and added that people can sleep with their two eyes close because the security agencies have been putting in a lot.
However, despite the current challenges, he urged the citizens to collaborate with them in intelligence gathering that would enhance their performances in securing the nation.
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP Sylvester Alabi in his admonition, said the proactiveness of the security agencies particularly the police have helped in no small measure for a secured society but urged the citizens to continue to support security agencies in every ramifications especially given prompt and timely reports of malfeasances within their dealing areas.
On the problems of bribe allegedly demanded by some policemen before granting bail, CP Alabi reiterated by calling on Nigerians to stop given police bribe. “You are the one encouraging corruption. Why do you give bribe when administrative bail is free? He called on complainants to report such a case of demand for bail to any superior officer if the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) insist on giving bribe.
“Some Nigerians are very lawless and feel that they can continue to buy their way by offering police money,” he reiterated.
In her contribution, the Managing Director, Safety Signature Limited, Dr. Cynthia Gregg, alluded to the fact that without the police, we can’t have a nation as people will act as if they are in the jungle. “We need to respect them because the day you would ask for their assistance, the law of karma will beckon on you.”
A member of the panelists, the Lagos Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Sector Commander Olusegun Ogungbemide solicited training of the youths in intelligence gathering, adding that the citizens should be carried along to fight crimes.
Students of Gulf Flower International Schools, Lagos who were presented in large numbers urged the federal government to be proactive and develop new strategies to win the hearts of the citizens especially the Nigerian youths.
The delegation led by Adeboyejo Omotoyosi, in her paper noted that the level of insecurity in the country had reached an alarming level, adding that the youths across the country were tired of the mindless killing of innocent Nigerians by terrorists on daily basis.
During the conference which saw the award of “NAOSNP Man of the Year” going to a member of Board of Trustees, Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF), Dr. Ayo Ogunsan, so many other distinguished Nigerians both serving and retired military and paramilitary men and women were also honoured.
High point of the well-attended security conference was the unveiling and launch of the second edition of NAOSNP LENS Magazine by AIG Bode Adeleke, supported by a host of other dignitaries.
Numerous Nigerians awarded by NAOSNP for their roles at ensuring security of lives and properties in various areas included the Olofin of Isheri, Arole Olofin Ogunfunminire, and the Adimula of Aworiland, Ogun State, His Royal Majesty, Oba Sulaiman Adekunle Bamgbade (Ayodele III); the Imo State Commissioner of Police, who was represented by the wife; the Lagos Sector Commander, FRSC, Sector Commander Olusegun Ogungbemide; the Lagos Commandant, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Commander Eweka Okoro; Major General Ike Nwachukwu (Retd); a security analyst and media guru at the Television Continental (TVC), Babajide Otitoju; Anthony B. Iwute and many others.