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FCT residents thank Bello for raising committee on Security Trust Fund - Isaac, president, Abuja Original Inhabitants Youths
• 'Everyone must assist govt on security'
23rd Mar, 2020

He is a restless young man with over a million ideas in his head to move society forward. As president of Abuja Original Inhabitants Youths Empowerment Organization (AOIYEO), Commandant Isaac David is a popular youth in Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The Sarkin Samarin Abuja is well known for his erudition and outspokenness especially on issues bordering on security, social welfare and overall development of FCT. He is the originator and major promoter of proposed Security Trust Fund for FCT. Niyi Lawal sat down with him and as usual he was in his elements. Excerpts:

Abuja Digest Weekly: What actually informed your decision to propose a Security Trust Fund for FCT?
Isaac David:The establishment of the Fund is informed by the fact that given the current budgetary constraints, the challenge of security cannot be left to Government alone. All hands must be on deck as it is a shared responsibility. Aside that, being the administrative and diplomatic nerve of Nigeria, Abuja has its peculiar security challenges which the proposed Security Trust Fund wants to address. It's sheer human density driven by increasing population due to endless survival and economic-driven immigration that make Abuja naturally attractive to criminal activities. Accordingly this proposal calls for a private sector-driven initiative through Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) that will complement the efforts of Government in providing solutions and stem the growing insecurity in FCT.

Arising from the above, we are requesting that a good leader like our Honourable Minister, FCT, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello may consider the urgent need for this and institute machinery for the establishment of the Fund, which he has done by constituting a committee to look into the merits of our proposal. So, we heartily appreciate and commend his present efforts in tackling insecurity in the FCT. Please, kindly accept the assurances of our highest regards and esteem, Honourable Minister.

It should be stressed that every investment on public security by any government is a priceless one. Universally, security is the most essential duty of any government, which is quite understandable. Insecurity leads to chaos and anarchy which ultimately undermine every genuine effort to transform the society. Therefore, public security remains the primary duty that any government is obliged to offer to all of its citizens on equal basis, irrespective of class, wealth, position, tribe, religion, or any other such classifications.

Besides, we feel the public security status of any government is ultimately an indicator of its public acceptance. This is because public security is one of the most prominent factors that determines good governance and guarantees the extent of socio-economic growth and development. Therefore lack of viable public and safety mechanisms in any given society makes sustainable socio-economic development a very difficult task.

By this, we feel there is need to partner with relevant stakeholders, especially the private sector, for the realization of government's effort to achieve peace and security in the country. This has been emphasized because effective public security cannot be obtained without the active involvement, participation and support of every section of the society as public security is the responsibility of all individuals, groups, communities, organisations and other units that constitute society.

Abuja Digest Weekly: How do you think this Security Trust Fund will address the problem of insecurity in FCT?
David: Across emerging and developed economies, the issue of security, safety of lives and property has become a key index of measuring the success or otherwise of government---like I said earlier. This country has over time witnessed a surge in crime and other sophisticated life- threatening attacks such as insurgency, militancy, cyber crime and so on and the situation within the FCT isn't any different as cases of theft, burglary, child abuse and trafficking, kidnapping and other institutional crime being reported are on the increase.

So as our society becomes civilized, so also are the increasing cases of sophisticated crimes and this is exactly what we decided to do by placing issue of tackling insecurity within the context of the development agenda of the FCTA to assist Honourable Minister of FCT to act true to his values and ideas by improving investment in the internal security of the FCT. This will be as an approach of government to ensure a safe and secured environment for investment and investors to thrive in line with the Next Level Agenda of the Government.

We are proposing the establishment of the FCT Security Trust Fund as a direct response to the security challenges in FCT as a robust option to combating the growing menace of violent crimes in FCT and the seeming inability of the police and other security agencies to confront this challenge in spite of their best endeavors. The problem is essentially related to logistics, mobility, communications, kitting and so on especially when considering the peculiar security challenges in FCT which the proposed Security Trust Fund tends to achieve. Though it must be pointed out that security is the exclusive responsibility of the Federal Government, but the cooperation of the private sector is needed to achieve synergy.

Abuja Digest Weekly: How do you plan to raise funds for the proposal because you claimed that budgetary constraint is one of the reasons that informed this?
David: The idea of creating a Trust Fund is to source for funds from government, private organizations and individuals in order to meet the operational capacity needs of security agencies particularly in the areas of logistics and provision of crime fighting equipment in the effective discharge of their duties.
This is because security agencies have suffered long years of neglect by successive Federal Governments whose primary responsibility it is to fund them. It is important to note that the Fund will not receive any subvention from government; rather government makes donations in kind to the Fund. The Fund will also ensure that all donations are properly accounted for and that its operations are transparent.

In addition, the account of the Trust Fund will be audited by international auditing firms and published annually for public information at yearly town hall meetings on security with the Honourable Minister of FCT where the FCT Security Trust Fund renders its account of stewardship.

Abuja Digest Weekly: How would organizational and operational structure look like, at least if the Minister gave his nod?

David: The law that will set up the Fund seeks to provide for structures, funding,

decision making and accountability procedures, but in our proposal to guide the FCT the funds are deliberately modeled as a PPP in order to create autonomy for the Fund, ease the Fund of administrative processes and encourage private sector participation to achieve quick and easy response to the needs of security agencies to combat crime as the urgency arises for the Fund's assistance and interventions.

This proposed model for the governance and financial operations of the Trust Fund will be informed by the energy and expertise that exists in the private sector and for timely security interventions devoid of bureaucratic bottlenecks. The Board of Trustees of the Fund, though appointed by the Honourable Minister, will come mainly, 80%, from the private sector and operate independently of government. They shall be notable members of the business community that use their goodwill to attract donations to the Fund.

As such Board members accept their appointments, it has become an opportunity to give back to the state. The composition of the Board shall include, in addition to those proposed by the Minister from the private sector, heads of all the security agencies and paramilitary units working in FCT, a Christian religious leader, a Muslim cleric, representative of youths groups, traditional rulers, members of NURTW, other relevant NGOs and Chief Executive Officers of companies in Abuja.

Abuja Digest Weekly: What would be the main functions of the Fund since we have police, military and other paramilitary doing the job already?
David: The Fund will have the major functions to provide funding for the acquisition and deployment of security equipment and other resources as shall be found necessary for the effective functioning of all security agencies operating in the FCT while also training and retraining security personnel. Other subsidiary objectives include monitoring through the use of trained volunteers the activities of hoodlums operating in various motor parks in FCT, checkmating the indiscriminate parking and loading of vehicles along various roads which cause traffic logjams and inducing criminal activities.

Like I said, the Fund is strictly donor-funded and monies raised are used for the acquisition and deployment of security equipment and such human, material, and financial resources as shall be found necessary for the effective functioning of all security agencies operating in FCT. Some of the funds shall be reserved for the training and retraining of security personnel and the recruitment and training of youth from the 858 communities in FCT as volunteers.

Another primary responsibility of the Fund is the provision of operational and logistic support for the Rapid Response Squad (RRS). The Fund will help in no small measure to address the peculiar security situation through prompt provision of necessary professional and logistical supports for the various security agencies in FCT to operate seamlessly.

Its Board of Trustees shall, among others, solicit for and receive donations to the Fund, review the financial status of the Fund from time to time, liaise with relevant security officials such as the Commissioner of Police, the Director of the State Security Service (DSS), etc, receive security reports from the Commander of RRS attached to the Fund, and other vital security agencies, help to advise the Minister on the security needs as advised by the police and receives and review proposals on supply and maintenance of security equipment, training, communications and so on.

With regular provision of training and critical security equipment and others, crime rate will decline as most hitherto notorious areas will become safer for the citizenry to carry out their lawful daily activities without fear.

Abuja Digest Weekly: Thank you for your time.

David: You are most welcome.

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