A former Director of the State Security Service (SSS), also known as the Department of State Services (DSS), Mike Ejiofor says the federal lawmakers in Nigeria contribute to insecurity in the nation when they take part of security budgets through various contracts.
Ejiofor said the nation’s security has gone beyond the disbursement of funds as publicly revealed, noting that the corruption of the National Assembly members who submit various projects to have their share of the money is the problem.
He also revealed that changing the Service Chiefs has not solved the insecurity problem in the country.
He, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to fight bandits and terrorists behind the nation’s security woes with organised tactics.
Ejiofor revealed this during City Talks with Reuben Abati, monitored by SaharaReporters on Saturday.
“I don’t think (begging bandits and terrorists) is the best way to go. We must take the fight to them. He is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, and a retired general. And we must take the fight to them. These bandits and terrorists are organised. They don’t look tattered. The earlier the government changes strategies, the better for us.
“You recall, that people have been calling for the change of the leadership of various Armed Forces. And, since the change, it now appears as if after changing the Service Chiefs, there are more attacks, more abductions and more kidnappings. So we need to look inward and look at our tactics. As we progress, maybe we need to proffer some solutions,” the ex-DSS boss said.
Speaking on the corruption of the National Assembly members as it adversely affects security, Ejiofor said, “I will not say the president is overwhelmed, but in reality, Nigeria is in a deep crisis. Anything short of saying that we’re almost at a war is underestimating the gravity of challenges we are facing. You can see a series of meetings with various interest groups, chief security officers, National Assembly, inviting the heads of security agencies.
“And it is abundantly clear that our security agencies are grossly underfunded. The Minister of Finance even came out with some figures for security. And, the question is how much of that budgeted amount is released to the security agencies. It is not sufficient that you’re budgeting. Are the funds being released? So, that’s the problem. And even when they are released, you know the deadly corruption in Nigeria.
“When they are released, National Assembly members will send contractors who will execute the contracts that they are supposed to look at the oversight function. And when you have substandard jobs, who is supposed to have oversight functions of the jobs? Is it the same National Assembly members who are sending contractors?
“So, we have big challenges. So, the little funds left that will get to the leadership are diverted so, at the end of it, the little equipment they will get will be substandard equipment. So, it’s not just about the issue of funding alone. There are a lot of multifaceted problems facing Nigeria that if we don’t tackle them, like I said in one of my interviews yesterday… I said these roots if you don’t take care of them, they’re going to crash up. We must speak out that we have challenges in this country and look at them critically.”
On the issue of declaration of a state of emergency on insecurity, the security expert said, “Are you saying we cannot handle the situation or we should prioritise the security which is supposed to be? Section 14 (2b) of our Constitution provides that the primary purpose of government is the welfare and security of people.
“If it’s in that line you’re talking about declaring the state of emergency, I don’t have a problem. But if you’re saying we should declare a state of emergency as enshrined in our Constitution, you remember that General Olusegun Obasanjo declared a state of emergency and thereby dismantling the democratic structures. So, I don’t agree.”
While answering questions on national conference, Ejiofor said the ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s national confab was a perfect fix for the country, enjoining President Muhammadu Buhari to look into it for implementation.
“Honestly, the 2014 confab meeting would have solved most of our problems but the question is people will ask why did former President Goodluck Jonathan not implement it? He knew that the conference ended a few months before the election. And people were going for election.
“Look at it now, we are in 2021, and people are already jostling for 2023. So, how could he have expected people to implement that confab before the election that year? If he approved it ahead, people would say he wanted to use it to score cheap political points. I believe this government should go and look at that report and see if it can be implemented,” Ejiofor added.