Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), says his government would stop the habit of using the Nigerian military for purely civilian police duties if elected as Nigerian President.
Obi, a former governor of Anambra State, is looking to become Nigerian president in 2023 as the country approaches another general election slated for next year.
“We will embark on immediate and intrusive security sector reform and governance (SSRG),” he said in a series of messages he shared on his Twitter page on Sunday night.
“Relatedly, we must improve the functioning and effectiveness of the police by strengthening their civilian oversight and increasing their strength, material, financial allocation and enhanced professional training.”
Due to the rising insecurity in Nigeria, the government has deployed its military strength to fortify areas affected by insecurity. But there have been concerns that the government is using the military for what is purely civilian duty.
He stressed that “Our national policing strength must be relative to our national population and meet global standards. We will desist from using the Nigerian military for purely civilian police duties.”
“The relevant security institutions and agencies exist. Supporting national security-enabling documents and strategies also exist. The problem is with policy coherence, coordination and implementation.”
He argued that the country has no lead agency for counter-terrorism or counter-insurgency. “That will change under my Presidency,” he added.
“We will tweak the security architecture by offering each arm or agency lead in areas with comparative advantage.
“Security will be in four parts: reforming the security sector, with particular emphasis on re-focusing the military on external threats and border protection and police on internal security threats and law enforcement; swift prosecution of criminals, bandits and terrorists; enhanced coordination among security agencies; and upholding the rule of law.”
Obi, whose candidacy is gaining momentum among Nigerian youths, is neck deep in the presidential race against Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president and the presidential candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).
Under the current administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari, insecurity has become a major challenge for Africa’s most populous country.
Nigeria is struggling with insurgency in the Northeast region, banditry in the Northwest, North-central and kidnapping in the Southwest, while secession agitation is confronting its Southeast region.