By Haruna Mohammed Salisu
Security is everybody’s business. It’s your business and it’s my business. It’s Wakili’s business and Ngozi is not left out. It’s Alabi’s business just as it should be Bala’s business. It concerns all of us. We are all in it together. When Bauchi is insecure, Alabi will lose sleep just as Bala’s eyes will not get some catnapping too.
When Bala spent N50 to erect road to Haruna’s village; Bala should remember to reserve N10 to guard the road against retrogressive forces threatening Wakili’ quest to ply the road. When Bauchi is insecure, the infrastructural facilities built by Bala will not benefit Ngozi and Wakili is also left out too.
Self and collective security should be everyone’s priority. An insecure society is on its way to self-extinct. It should worry all of us, and all of us must complement the effort of security agencies to fish out criminal elements in our society. We should defy the blame game. We must take responsibility and act in our individual and collective ways. Evading responsibilities and pushing blame will never help us. If Haruna has mustered the courage to remind Bala Mohammed of the need to do the needful via his pen, Bala Mohammed should not characterize the write-up as “mischievous”, he should listen and complement Alabi’s effort by doing more for Alabi’s boys to secure us.
This is because Alabi’s boys are making a lot of sacrifices for us to sleep. They are awake throughout the night even when mosquitoes are on the rampage. They are outside under the rains just as they remain outside under the sizzling sun. The windy weather and breezy cold did not spare Alabi’s boys either. Their cars are in tatters; sometimes they lack the most basic equipment to function properly. Their allowance is nothing to go by when one recognizes the rising inflation and cost of food. They deep hands in their pockets to buy expensive food to feed.
Like any other person, the police are human beings who have families to cater for. They have children to feed. They have old ones at home that depend on them for survival. They have wives, children, parents and other relatives to feed, educate and shelter. They equally have their natural constituency to serve—which is to secure all of us. Leaving them under terrible working conditions is the greatest pretence and dis-service we can do to ourselves as a people. They cannot police us when the conditions within which they operate is not healthy.
Look, I’m very conscious of the fact that it’s not within Bala’s purview to address all these problems I have mentioned. I know it’s a national pandemic that must be addressed. I equally know that Gov Bala has done well for the police by giving a substantial number of vehicles to the force.
To be fair to Bala Mohammed, he has done so much—at least in comparison to others. We still bear the brunt of the wasted four years. But Bala Mohammed must remember that his investment in the areas of infrastructural development could only make meaning under a peaceful atmosphere. Unfortunately, the relative peace being enjoyed in Bauchi State for years is being threatened by forces of doom who continue to antagonize meaningful progress.
These forces of doom need to be confronted by superior fire-power under a strong and motivated police force—and the only way to do that is to invest in security just like the state continue to invest in infrastructure. It’s significantly clear that under our federal system as it stands now, the police is controlled and funded by the central government. But states most, in their own interest, compliments the efforts of the central government by supporting security agencies, particularly the police with not just vehicles and other working tools, but with stipends to motivate them.
Of recent, I had interacted with many police officers in the state, and from the conversations, I had with some of them, the terrible working conditions that is visible by any interested spectator is quite worrisome. It is a natural de-motivating factor for many of them. We cannot continue to pretend that our police are equipped to arrest the evolving security challenges we continue to face as a people.
The Katsina and Zamfara-like atmosphere is highly likely in Bauchi if the right thing is not done to avert the disaster. In my humble opinion, one of the ways to do that is to motivate the Police—with a monthly stipend since it is public knowledge that their salaries and allowances are nothing to ride home about.
Bauchi for example can borrow Lagos’ model by establishing Trust Funds where workers’ salaries can be deducted in mean percentages like the BASOVCA Model. The state can also bring its wealthy individuals and big business owners including Tech Companies and Banks to contribute to its Trust Funds.
These kinds of initiatives will contribute in no small measure not just to secure Bauchi State, but also to restore investors’ confidence who might be willing to put in their money on many investment opportunities that abound in the state. A stitch in time saves nine, they say!
Haruna writes from Bauchi. He can be reached via 08063180608