Internal security: Experts advocate inclusion of retired military personnel

Fri, Feb 9, 2024
By editor

Defence, Security

SOME security experts in the South South say inclusion of retired military personnel into state security system will ensure drastic cut in the country’s crime rate.

They made the call in a survey conducted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on utilisation of vibrant retired military personnel to boost internal security in the country.

The experts, who responded from Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Rivers States, said that the retired military personnel’s inclusion would make them to bring their sound experiences to bear in stemming crime.

Mr Solomon Eremi, Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Cross River Command, submitted that the experience of retired soldiers would be of great importance in policing the nation.

Eremi noted that many of the retired soldiers in Nigeria left the service in their fifties just because they clocked 35 years in service.

According to him, at this age, they were still very strong and had a lot to offer to better the security system of the nation.

Eremi said that the retired officers could be absorbed into community security apparatus on contract basis to assist in leveling down the crime rate.

“These retired officers can be sent to their own communities where they understand the language and culture so that they can work for the security of their people.

“We have been doing this in the nursing sector in Cross River, we can also do it to enhance security by simply giving them between five to 10 years contract with terms of reference.

“With this system, we can achieve more and nip crime in the bud in our communities as these officers would be ready to protect their own communities with all their hearts,” he said.

Eremi, however, said if absorbing the retired officers were against the nation’s policy, the policy should be reviewed to suit the peculiarity of the present situation in the nation.

He added that in reviewing the policy, officers who had positive impact, while in service and still strong even after retirement should be allowed for such jobs.

Similarly in Akwa Ibom, an Uyo-based security expert, Dr Fredrick Ekponta, supported any plan to co-opt retired military personnel into community policing

According to him, it will be productive to inculcate retired military personnel in any plan to establish community policing in the county.

He said that community policing would have been more effective and people-oriented if retired military personnel were inculcated.

”They have the requisite training, they have the experience too.

”We are talking about people who have been tested within Nigeria’s security architecture,” he said.

Ekponta said that retired security officers would be a source of inspiration and motivation for effective community policing.

The security expert called for a law to create a smooth transition from active military service to community policing for military personnel.

”This will enable who are interested to work after retirement to smoothly fit into the system,” he said.

According to him, it is important for the nation to carefully think through the community policing policy before implementation.

”It will help us to tackle the security challenges in our communities, we must think properly.

”It shouldn’t be another jamboree, we should give it the seriousness it deserves,” he said.

Similarly, a Security Relations Consultant based in Port Harcourt, Mr Bosinde Araikpe, agreed that the Federal Government could leverage the energy of young retired military personnel in the realm of intelligence.

According to him, there are two forms of retirement, after 35 years of service and voluntary retirement after five years of active service.

“Retiring after 35 years means the individual is no longer kinetically involved in security operations, except for their wealth of experience,” he said.

Araikpe stated that for the government to utilize the experience and intelligence of vibrant retired service personnel to enhance internal security operations, it must address some obstacles.

He said that the obstacles included poor remuneration, marginalisation, victimisation, lack of definition of the role of security outfits among others.

He said that by addressing the issues and offering appropriate incentives, the retiree might consider returning when called upon.

On the establishment of a reserve army, Araikpe said that the military reserved the right to call up its retired personnel if the need arose.

He, however, questioned the rationale behind funding a reserve army for deployment in community policing, especially when active service personnel have not been adequately cared for.

According to him, the Federal Government should focus on changing the mindset of Nigerians to understand that security remained the responsibility of every citizen.

“Insecurity in Nigeria will persist until everyone realizes that we all play a role in policing.

“No government can single-handedly address security issues without the full participation of all citizens.

“Therefore, the government should use the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to ensure that every Nigerian begins to operate with the awareness that they are part of the security force,” he stated. (NAN)

9th February, 2024.