By Basil Okoh
- It should be known by the simple name of “CIVIL GUARD”. No operational need for wild animals as symbols or to adopt any other fearful or menacing name. The name of a wild cat cannot guarantee its operational success. The CIVIL GUARD must be friendly but effective. Its job is to secure the civil population of the South-South and it’s not to be feared but embraced by the people. Everyone in the zone must participate to bring it success in its assigned duties. Let’s be very modern as the people to first have contact with the outside world.
- Its operational command must be decentralised. The security challenges in Ogoja or Ikom is not the same as in Calabar, Bonny, Yenagoa, Warri, Agbor, Benin or Auchi.
- There shall be a Regional Security Board comprising a representative, the security chairman from each state. The six members of the board will elect one of themselves as Chairman of the Security Board and the position should rotate periodically. In each state, there should also be a security board comprising of representatives from each Local Government. The representatives from the LGA’s should elect one of themselves as state chairman of the State Security Board.
- Local Government legislators shall ask for nominations for Head of LGA security Department. The winner by simple majority should be the LGA Head of Security Department.
- A security department should be created in each LGA in the six States of the South-South. This department will recruit and train members of the Civil Guard.
- Preference for recruitment should be given to fit men and women between the ages of eighteen to twenty five but not more than thirty. Recruits must have SSCE as basic education. Higher education will be required for specialised duties. Referees for recruits must be identifiable and known members of the local community.
- Pay structure must not be lower than the present emoluments of the police.
- Uniforms must be recognisably the same across the region. Uniform must look modern, smart and attract respect, taking cognisance of our tropical climatic conditions. We have the largest pool of modern designers in Africa. Let there be a competition among them for the best design of Uniform. The uniforms must be well sewn with the epaulets to earn respect of the public.
- The best retirees from the forces and security services are from this zone of the South-South. Let us identify and mobilise them for action on the training of these recruits. Trainings in surveillance, self-defence, gun handling, night operations, general police duties etc. are crucial.
- Officers and men should be extravagantly kitted, provisioned and equipped. Men in surveillance may be in the forests for days tracking vandals. They must not experience lack in those days. Tracking devices, night lighting and goggles, medicines, tasers, demobilisers, modern bows and arrows or gun silencers, communication gadgetry, the entire works. The South-South must not be miserly on this matter.
*Basil Okoh can be reached at [email protected].