The governor of the state of Ondo, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, has condemned the alleged refusal of the federal government to strengthen the security of the states of the Federation.

Akeredolu claimed that the federal government was playing the ostrich by leaving states to their own devices regarding the safety of people’s lives and property, but instead authorizing some private security equipment in the country.

The governor stated this in a statement issued Wednesday through his Chief Press Secretary. This was in response to the recent alleged awarding of contracts by the federal government to a number of private security companies to protect the pipelines from destruction.

According to the chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum, the action of the FG implied that it was allowed
private security equipment “to carry heavy assault weapons while denying the same privilege to the states, the federated units”, to deal with insecurity.

The statement read in part: “The news of the alleged awarding of pipeline contracts to some individuals and private organizations by the federal government is disturbing. More troubling is the thinly veiled hostility shown to the idea or actual creation of security equipment by some state governments to fill widening gaps in the scope of security coverage that are noticeable nationally.

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“The federal government, through the Office of the National Security Adviser, has been consistent in its refusal to comply with requests from some states in the Federation to strengthen the additional initiatives adopted to protect life and property. This is done despite the knowledge that the very problems that necessitated the creation of these outfits support the provision of adequate weapons. All attempts to get the federal government to take a critical look at the current security architecture have been rejected, despite the obvious fundamental flaws caused by overcentralization.

“It is therefore shocking to read that the federal government has upheld the award of the contract to ‘protect’ the country’s pipeline from vandals to private organizations. This story, if true, leaves a sour taste in the mouth. The NSA, of course, will not advise the president to approve the award of a contract of such magnitude if the operators have not demonstrated sufficient capacity to checkmate the criminal activities of equally powerful groups. Consequently, it is safe to conclude that the federal government has, by implication, allowed non-state actors to carry heavy assault weapons, while denying the same privilege to the states, the federated units.”

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The governor added: “The awarding of contracts to private organizations to protect pipelines raises fundamental questions about the sincerity of government advisers on safety issues. The open and seemingly enthusiastic embrace of this idiosyncrasy, despite the constant and consistent admission of a willingness by the security services, especially the navy, to contain the pervasive and deeper crises of encroachments and threats to life and property, draws the charge of insincerity woefully bordering on doubt.

“If the state governments, eager to protect their citizens, put in place additional security equipment and there is a pronounced unwillingness, if not outright refusal, to consider allowing them to carry weapons for the sole purpose of defence, granting private individuals and/or free access by organizations to assault weapons suggests, curiously enough, deep-seated suspicion and mistrust between the federal government and the supposed federated units.

“The commitment of private organizations to address serious security challenges reinforces the belief that the entire defense architecture in the country urgently needs to be overhauled. It cannot be seen that the federal government is playing the ostrich in this regard.”

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