By Yetunde Gbadamosi 

The respective Presidential candidates of the four frontline political parties- Peter Obi, Atiku Abubakar, Rabiu Kwankwaso and Bola Tinubu -are unanimous on what has to be done to make Nigeria safer.

Section 33 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria provides that “every person has a right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life, save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria.”

However, insecurity remains one of Nigeria’s manifold challenges. Nigeria’s next president must therefore be on top of his game in stemming the tide of violent criminalities across the country.

Security must be top of the agenda because the primary responsibility of a government is to secure lives and property. Thousands of Nigerians have been deprived of lives and property by criminals almost every week.

In the northeast, Boko Haram has waged a bloody insurgency for the past 13 years, killing an estimated 35,000 people and displacing over three million people from their homes. In the North-west and North-central regions, terrorists generally referred to as bandits, have sacked rural communities, abducted hundreds of pupils in daring school raids and routinely kidnapped people on the road, in their farms and from their homes, even in the cities, for ransom.

In the South-east, terrorists dubbed “unknown gunmen” are targeting government buildings and security personnel. They have also imposed a sit-at-home order that has crippled the economy of the zone and those who break the order are attacked and killed.

However, former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, understands the place of the security of lives and property of the people in revitalizing the Nigerian economy. For this reason, he has promised to ensure the security of lives, properties, and the dignity of Nigerians. in this area, he plans to restructure and enhance the funding of security agencies as well as retrain security personnel.

Atiku, in his agenda on how to tackle insecurity, plans to restore merit and professionalism in the processes of recruitment, appointment and promotions as enshrined in the acts establishing the security outfits and their extant rules and regulations. He also intends to implement a Special Presidential Welfare Initiative for the country’s security personnel just as he aims to increase the number of security personnel to meet the security needs of over 200 million Nigerians.

Atiku made the promise when he said, “we shall conduct systematic and guided recruitment exercises of up to one million personnel into the police force, to combat current security challenges and meet the UN police-to-citizen ratio of 1:450.”

Besides, he intends to employ the tools of strategic engagement with state and non-state actors in theatres of conflict and at the same time, promote Police-Community relations to build mutual trust and confidence as a proactive strategy for crime prevention and control.

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The PDP candidate has consistently lamented insecurity in the various parts of the country. He had said “The ruling All Progressive Party (APC) has woefully failed to protect people’s lives and property since the assumption of power in May 2015. Since then, tens of thousands of people were either kidnapped or killed by terrorists, kidnappers and bandits operating in the forests of three geopolitical zones.”

Atiku noted that leadership is about the wealth of experiences, integrity, and commitments with patriotism to overcome the security, economic and power supply challenges that have lingered for over a decade. He, therefore, pledged that if the delegates elected him to clinch the PDP presidential ticket at the primaries, peace will be restored after he wins the 2023 elections.

Also lending his voice to the insecurity in the South East, the Director-General of the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Council, PCC, in Anambra State, Professor Obiora Okonkwo is optimistic that Atiku will grant detained IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, unconditional release, when he is sworn in on May 29.

Revealing Atiku’s plan, the Director General of the Presidential Campaign Council, PCC, of Atiku/Okowa in Anambra State, Professor Obiora Okonkwo, said the PDP candidate will rely on the Appeal Court judgment to release Kanu.

Okonkwo argued that the appellate court was explicit that Kanu should be a free man and that no court can try him again for the alleged offence.

He said: “I am saying this with every sense of responsibility that Atiku will grant Nnamdi Kanu unconditional release. That is in Atiku’s agenda for permanent peace in the southeast. In addition, he will also apply the political solution to release all those genuine IPOB agitators in detention without trial.

“Atiku’s government have serious talks with the group and others, with the view to restoring their faith in the country, and making them part of the effort for a better Nigeria. However, the criminal elements will be dealt with decisively.

“What we are now therefore saying is for this to happen, peace must reign for election in the Southeast, and the need for the South Easterners to fall behind PDP.

“With this plan, Atiku is the only candidate that has the plan to address the situation in South East, to the benefit of the region and country generally.”

The rest depends on the vote of Nigerians.