This Govt Has Failed


 One time Lagos State Commissioner of Police and Social Critic, Alh Abubakar Tsav spoke with newsmen in Makurdi over the recent bomb blast at the UN House , Abuja. He also lashed out at President Goodluck Jonathan for handling the issue of security with kid gloves . UBONG GEORGE was there for P.M.NEWS


What is your comment about the recent bombing of the UN Building in Abuja?

It’s a very big embarrassment to the nation. I think it’s a shameful and wicked thing to do. Whoever did that must be a devil’s incarnate.

Would you then say that Jonathan’s administration has failed, looking at the series of bombing that have taken place in recent times?

As far as I am concerned, I think this government has failed because we expected that the president would take steps to improve the security situation in this country. We thought he would improve power supply, we thought he would give us potable water to drink, we thought he would improve hospital services and the rest of them. But the first thing this man is doing is asking for tenure elongation. He is asking for six years tenure elongation which is not very important; what matters to us is security. So, Jonathan has failed already.

But at this point, would you be favourably disposed to military take over?

No, I wouldn’t subscribe to military take over because the military will make things worse for us. There would be no human rights, they will detain people at will and may be they will have more problems themselves because as soon as they come in there will be counter coups and all of that. The worst civilian administration is better than a military government. The only thing is that the government should try and involve honest and competent people in the governance of this country. What is happening now is ‘come and chop’. They are not bringing the right people to run the affairs of this country. They should get competent people and not appoint people on the bases of tribe, ethnicity or religion. We need people who are competent and honest to rule this country like this woman (Ngozi Okonjo–Iweala) who was brought from the World Bank. We have many of such people who can come here and do the job the way it should be done.

What is your advice to your Muslim counterparts now that the Ramadan fast has ended?

During the Ramadan, we were supposed to devote ourselves to the Almighty Allah. We were supposed to do things that would move us closer to the Almighty and keep us far away from hell fire. We were supposed to do things that will promote peace and love for one another. We have also learnt that during fasting period, we are reduced to the level of ordinary people. Since we have learnt during the fasting forbearance and other very good virtues, I expect my Muslim brothers and sisters all over the country to imbibe the spirit of Ramadan and continue their lives and behaviour in that light because there is nothing in the Quoran that preaches violence. There is nothing in the Quoran that says you must fight somebody or force somebody to come to your religion. The only closest thing in the Quoran is that if anybody unreasonably attacks you, you should defend yourself. There is nothing that says you must compel somebody to become a member of your religion. Rather, we have a chapter in the Quoran which says if you would not do my religion, I will also not do your religion. No compulsion at all. That is why you can see in all Arab countries that there are Christians and they make laws that affect Christians and Muslims alike. Even in Nigeria if you go to the west, there are Christians, Muslims and traditional religionists there, yet they don’t fight among themselves. I remember in 1983, I was drafted to Ilesha on Special duty. The Oba of Ilesha who was a Christian followed us to the Mosque and sat on a chair while we performed our prayers. There, they don’t make any case about religion. And I see no reason why we should make a case about religion here because when you die and you are buried in your grave, you cannot take the sins of another person. Whatever sins you commit, it is you that will be held responsible. That is very clear in the Christian bible and also in the quoran.

But there is a clear divide between the people in the north and those in the west that you have referred to.

Yes, people in the north do not understand. They read the Quoran as parrots, they don’t understand. If you read and you don’t understand, anybody can mislead you. We are having the same scenario in Benue State where people are saying that they have won the election and they are going to take over the government because they don’t know that they have been misled, whatever they tell them, they believe.

You seem to have laid so much blame on your former constituency (Police). Are you calling for a complete overhaul of the system?

Why we are not progressing in this country is that we fear to speak the truth. If the police are doing very badly, tell them so that they will improve. But if they are doing badly and you come and start hailing them, you are not helping the situation. If you tell them they are bad, they will be able to change from bad to good. But as long as you keep on praising them when in actual fact they are doing badly, you are contributing to the problem. Go to the roads and see how they are taking bribes; post them out and see what they do; go to the banks and see what they do. You post them to banks and sometimes they leave the place and go to wherever they want; sometimes they even leave their guns and go about to gossip. They are not attentive and they are not vigilant because officers do not go to visit them. They are supposed to visit them before midnight to make sure that they are doing their jobs very well. When there are no such visits, how do you expect them to do their job very well? Then, the Highway patrol men on the road; they formed that outfit to ensure that road users are safe and to make sure that they deal with armed robbers on the highways. But what do they do now? They stop people on the road and take money from them. VIO will do the same thing, Road Safety Corps men will stop for the same thing and so on. So, you have several people doing the same job and taking money and nobody is doing anything about that. During our time, these highway patrol men were making returns of how many cases they made, how many arrests they made, how many people they charged to court, how many people are convicted, how much money was realized as fine and sometimes how many stolen vehicles were recovered during the month. I think that is now gone, what now bothers them is how to make money for themselves and it is happening everywhere. The senior officers are aware, yet nobody is doing anything about it. And when you talk they say that you are biting the finger that fed you. The police did not feed me, I served them and they paid me for my service.

But some people are of the opinion that Boko Haram is protesting against the Nigerian system and not against religion or western education. What is your take on this?

Who are the leaders of this Boko Haram sect? I have suggested severally that they should hold dialogue with the leaders and know what exactly is their problem and what they want.

But are you in support of the prosecution of the policemen that killed the leader of the Boko Haram sect?

It’s a good development because what happened was that the people were arrested by the military and handed over to the police alive and the police shot and killed them in cold blood. So, they should be prosecuted. They shouldn’t have destroyed lives the way they did. And I think this is what angered the people the more that made them to start to engage in suicide attacks and the thing is now worsening.

How do you reconcile the death of Boko Haram leader and that of Osama Bin Ladin?

No, Osama Bin Ladin’s case is good because already he was declared wanted whether dead or alive. If the people had arrested him alive and handed him over and they killed him, it would have been a different case.

What is your comment on the fact that most of those who perpetrate violence in this country are not Nigerians?

That still comes down to corruption. Our borders are very porous all because of corruption. We have border patrol teams yet these people are still able to come in; that is corruption. People take money and allow them to come in. So, it’s the fault of the system and not the fault of these people. Nobody is interested in curbing corruption in this country. Everybody is looking for how they can make money for themselves. As long as we continue in that perspective without the fear of God, we still have a long way to go.

What is your advice to the Benue State Government on security challenge?

I want to first of all appeal to the opposition to sheathe their sword and come back and work with the government so that together they can move the state forward. If they do that, they will be able to check insecurity.

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