Ending insecurity in Nigeria not difficult but for corruption, says General Williams

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Major General Ishola Williams has asserted that ending insecurity in Nigeria is not difficult but for corruption entrenched within the political and constitutional framework.

Speaking on Channels TV’s “Inside Sources with Laolu Akande,” on Friday, the retired general highlighted how the Nigerian constitution fosters corruption, aiding politicians’ greed and selfishness.

According to him, “Any country that looks for equity, not equality, that country will have selfless leaders. But, then, you have a code that guides the followership and leadership, if that code is corruption-prone like the 1999 constitution, that constitution is corruption-prone. And why is it corruption-prone? Immunity is equivalent to impunity,”

Williams stated “In any constitution that has immunity, you are creating a situation for impunity because you bring a crook into government and you say this crook, so, because he has come into government he has become a saint, so, anything he does, leave him until he leaves. And when that happens, the governors become kleptocrats, demigods in their states, approve any amount of money they like, nobody audits them, and if you ask accountants, the accountants will tell you that everyone is auditable except God, but not in Nigeria.”

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Reflecting on the systemic issues plaguing Nigeria’s security forces, General Williams emphasised the need for doctrinal change.

He said, “There’s a lot of insecurity in the country and whether for the police or the military, there is what is called doctrine, official tactics and tactics. If you’ve been doing something for the past 10 years and it’s not working, you change your doctrine. Your doctrine will now determine your operational tactics and tactics at the lower level.”

He explained, “I’ve been telling people that if you don’t change the doctrine and the tactics, we will never be able to deal with the problems.”

General Williams also criticised the outdated structure of the police and military, stressing the necessity of strategic thinking.

“The structure is completely outdated, but the police will never agree. Now, talking about the structure, not only about the police, I will come to the military later. But, in the case of coup or no coup, in the Nigeria sense, any military officer in his right sense will know that it doesn’t work and it doesn’t solve problems because it is temporary, and that is the mistake those boys in other West Africa countries, Mali and co have been making.”

The retired general reflected on past military leadership, particularly the pragmatic approach of Abdulsalami Abubakar, saying, “The only person who understood that was Abdulsalami Abubakar. Within eleven months, he handed over because he knew that he couldn’t solve the problem of Nigeria. And about that 1999 constitution, they are blaming him for that, but I’m sure, and I was told he called to look at those papers.

“But what has happened in the course of that? It was let them just go, the constitution is okay, once they go, we, politicians know how to do it, till today, they’ve not been able to.”

Highlighting the persistent inequality in Nigeria, Williams pointed to the selfishness and greed among leaders as the root causes, as he said, “Why there is a gap between the rich and the poor is this, human beings are selfish people, and not only selfish, they are greedy.”

According to him, “The Creator has created a world in which there is enough for everybody. A good country is like Denmark, Norway, Finland. Nordic countries. Why? The gap between the rich and the poor is deliberately reduced by taxes to take care of those who are not as fortunate as those who are rich. But everybody gets an equal chance, so, you have equity, not equality.”

General Williams lamented Nigeria’s missed opportunities and lack of progress compared to other nations, saying, “What has been going on since 1966 has not been good for Nigeria, and, therefore, has disrupted the progress we ought to have made by now.”

“By now, we should have been competing with South Africa in terms of infrastructure industries and so on because we have the brain power, but unfortunately, you can now see a recent country like Rwanda, see what Rwanda is doing,” the retired general said.

Major General Williams in his explosive and exclusive interview with Laolu Akande, a veteran journalist and former presidential aide submitted that Nigeria’s struggle with insecurity is fundamentally linked to corruption and outdated structures, which are perpetuated by a corrupt constitution and the greed of its leaders.

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