Solomon Arase, the Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), says the military officers deployed to areas where terrorists operate freely, particularly North East, lack training and knowledge to gather evidence against the criminals, hence the increasing rate of their activities.
Arase, a former Inspector-General of Police, also faulted the practice where arrested bandits are released and reintegrated into society without proper profiling, noting that most of them eventually return to the crime, creating more harm for the region.
He, however, demanded that the police take over the fight against terrorism and other crimes from the military, arguing that officers of the force were trained to secure crime scenes, gather evidence and prosecute criminals which is different from the standard operating procedures for the military.
Arase was quoted to have stated these in Abuja when he played host to the police advisor, Lake Chad Basin Support Framework of the United Kingdom High Commission in Nigeria, Elizabeth Macleod; leadership of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms led by its Director-General, D.I. Arabi and a delegation from the NTA News 24 led by its General Manager, Fatima Abbas Hassan.
The PSC boss, in a statement issued by the spokesman of the commission, Ikechukwu Ani, on Sunday, advised the federal government to reduce the military component of the war against insurgency and allow the police, the lead agency in internal security to lead the battle.
Arase said, “The police are properly trained for internal security and leading the battle will curb the activities of the terrorists in the North East. More convictions of these criminals in the North East would serve as a deterrent to others and eventually reduce the spate of crime and criminality in the region.”
“The military deployed to the troubled regions in the North East have no such training and this has resulted in a low rate of prosecution of offenders and a conviction rate less than five per cent”, the statement read.
The former IGP lamented that the problem of the counter-insurgency mission in Nigeria was a lack of inter-agency collaboration and intelligence sharing between the security agencies, adding that the conviction rate of less than five per cent was disproportional with arrests and it does not send the right signals.
Speaking earlier, the police advisor, Macleod had informed Arase that she was based in Maiduguri, Borno State and that the project was to assist the Nigeria Police in Borno State in tackling the insecurity in the state. It was also noted that the project was funded by the United Kingdom High Commission in Nigeria and implemented by Adam Smith International.
In his reply, the PSC chairman said the commission would be happy to collaborate with the Support Framework and have officers of the Nigeria Police Force benefit from what they are doing in the North East.
He also reiterated that the Police Recruitment Board will soon be inaugurated, maintaining that the commission and the police are not working in unity for the overall benefit of national security, adding that all modalities were already in place for the commencement of the recruitment.