BOMBINGS: RINGIM CAN'T FIGHT BOKO HARAM -PEF CHIEF, KENNY MARTINS
Frontline security promoter and National Co-ordinator of the controversial Police Equipment Foundation (PEF), Chief Kenny Martins, has said that the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Alhaji Hafiz Ringim, does not have the type of weapons to successfully confront rampaging Islamic fundamentalist, Boko Haram. The group has claimed responsibility for the serial bomb blasts especially in the north.
Boko Haram also owned up to last Thursday's bombing of the Louis Edet House police headquarters in Abuja, that killed three people and scores injured. About 70 vehicles were also damaged 38 of them beyond repairs. A combined team of foreign and local detectives are presently investigating the incident, just as the IGP has assured that the perpetrators would be unmasked and the activities of the dreaded Islamic sect, checkmated.
However, against the backdrop of his vast knowledge of the strength of Nigeria police logistics including armament and other operational equipment while executing PEF projects, Martins said emphatically that the police cannot in the present circumstances, frontally tackle the Boko Haram insurgence, describing the situation as hopeless.
'What can the man [Ringim] do? Can he protect the Force Headquarters with bare hands? Then if he cannot protect himself, how can he protect me or protect you where you are? Our police are just not well-equipped to do the job; that is the reality. And from the look of things, where do we go from here, nowhere. We are just facing anarchy', he declared.
Speaking exclusively with Daily Sun in Abuja, Martins noted that PEF and a few security goons had long foreseen the emerging trend of militancy and terrorism, and were indeed, working towards averting the prevailing situation, but the efforts were thwarted by some powerful forces in government whose names are withheld by us. Excerpts.
We foresaw it; we said it that the trend of events and the deterioration of the security situation and circumstances in Nigeria nationally, and with individuals and corporate bodies was such that if you remember, the banks were being robbed with bombs and the robbers would come and stay there for eight hours all night long, blowing the banks up, and the police will not be able to get there.
Let me tell you today, PEF was the first body to come up with the idea of armoured vehicles, and I, Kenny Martins, took the group that supplied the first set of armoured vehicles to the then President. We were the ones who sold the idea to the banks and CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) to get them to support and fund the first set of armoured vehicles and the Lagos State government was the first beneficiary. I remember there was an incident at Iganmu, Lagos where there was a bank robbery and the police came after the armed robbers, arrest them and recovered about 5,000 expended bullets. But as soon as the armoured vehicles came, that was the end of bank robbery in Lagos.
So, we foresaw all these things coming; and you know that once you are able to nip some of the other security problems in the bud, there is the tendency for the same people to apply themselves to other areas of our security challenges. What will be government's response? And let me tell you, all over the world, this is what we found out and this is where we still stand: the government by itself, no matter how much money ex-president Obasanjo, the late Yar'Adua, and the incumbent President Jonathan have kept aside, they cannot fund the resolution of security problems in Nigeria. Let me tell you, the government's involvement in security is not up to 10 per cent of what is needed to solve security problems in Nigeria. Right now, as individuals and corporate bodies, we are spending 90 per cent as against the 10 per cent government is spending on security.
I can tell you that if we had gone on with the implementation of the PEF projects without the unnecessary disruptions, there was no way they could have come and bomb the police headquarters, and bombing would have been a thing of the past in Nigeria. I read the other day in the newspapers that the FBI and CIA are coming to inspect the police headquarters after the bomb blast, no. They were supposed to have been with us three to four years ago, because it was their governments that committed the funds for our security project. They were not supposed to come and ask now that what happened; they were supposed for a long time ago, to say these are the things you needed to take care of this situation. Over there, they don't bomb them, and you don't walk on their streets scared stiff. Now, they kill policemen every day in Nigeria, and I pity the Nigeria police.
Police capability to confront Boko Haram
Why are you talking of Boko Haram, talk of even armed robbers. Armed robbers that are carrying dane guns and pistols are killing police everyday, and you are talking of Boko Haram with bombs. In Yoruba language, they say why do you compare sleep with death; how can you compare Boko Haram and the police? When we came to the rescue of the Nigeria Police Force, their logistics and operational capacity was zero.
They couldn't even run their headquarters; they couldn't run their state offices. 'A detective who investigated a case will take a commercial motor-cycle and carry a case file to court; they couldn't do anything. But within a year when PEF came on board, we gave them 1,000 vehicles, excluding other items. But today, if you remove what the foundation put into the system, that the police system will still collapse.
And what we did was just the logistics, vehicles for patrol; we had not gone into the hardware, to the equipment that were supposed to come, to the helicopters, the troop carriers, the armament, and so on. Do you know that the Nigeria police does not have basic rain-coat for personnel? 'Do they have guns, do they have bullet-proof vests, to confront armed robbers not to talk of Boko Haram? So, that question is totally out of it. Talk of rain-coat, talk of bullet-proof vests, these basic things they don't have, then, how will they have the capability to discover bombs?
'I remember when we went to bomb detector production factories in Ukraine, France and some other places, and we saw what these people were doing. They have scanners on the roads which detect an Improvised Explosive Device in a vehicle once it passes through the route and a computer will pick it. Even if you scatter the device and hide in different compartments in the vehicle, the computer will pick, analyse it, and they will stop the vehicle for interrogation. That is how prepared they are over there. We are nowhere near that. It is not enough to blame poor IGP Ringim; what can the man do?
I PEF moribond?
PEF cannot be moribund because good ideas don't just die. I am sure I would not have been the first person to have brought about the concept of PEF. It was just that for some circumstances or whatever reasons, nobody could move on that concept until when we came along. And when we started, our own approach for implementation of the project was unique and it was globally embraced. We had series of invitations and visits to many countries and then the support and the yearnings of all of them to make security in Nigeria as perfect as they have over there.
Because they always believed that Nigeria is the next bus stop, the next destination for investment; and all what they look out for is investment, and there can be no investment or money making without security. It is paramount for investment and investors. This is what we had in mind, that is what we promised people, and that was what we delivered.
The objective was to make Nigeria a place where you can leave the key of your house under your doormat like it is in London, like places where you can be on the street 24/7, and nothing happens to you; a place where like in the banks if anything happens, the police are there to say what is the problem, and we were getting near it until the disruptions set in. So, I believe that until we go back to that concept, Nigeria's security will never be gotten right.'