The plans to bring n Private Military Contractors to Fight Boko Haram is a disclosure by Danjuma Abudullahi, a civil engineer is the executive director, Umma Support Initiative, a faith based organization which is involved insecurity. In an interview with OpenLife’s Staff Writer, Isaac Ngumah, he speaks further about the proposed plan and the corresponding reactions
What is the focus of your organization?
First, our organization was formed and registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, in July 2006.
Basically, we try to engage government and other stakeholders for the most marginalized group, children and women. We are not a human rights organization. We are advocates and rights based organization. Our mission is to see a well developed society and to be one of the leading organizations that enhance positive development in our country. Our focus is basically on health education and anti corruption
Do you partner governments?
Yes, we collaborate with the government, United States Agency for Development of course, and other organizations in Nigeria.
What are your concerns about Nigeria’s security?
My interest in the security of our country is basically because, without a secured environment, we cannot practice our business or carry out our activities in villages and town where we have most of our people located.
However, only recently I was involved in what we call private security. We are trying to look at the role of private security in Nigeria. We know that our security sector is being overwhelmed by the insecurities in the country and that is the reason private security is needed to complement the efforts of government security agencies.
Technically, we know that by the nature of our system whereby, we don’t have enough policemen. According to the records, we have just about 300,000 policemen in Nigeria and that is not enough.
We have people who want to make use of what they have. What they do is to select number of youths, hunters and co opt them into a security concerns who are securing the environment and their impacts are well felt.
For instance, when an unknown person comes into a place, these people will stop you and ask you questions. If you are not able to identify where you are going, then, they would do the needful.
However, our interest is to see that these people don’t take advantage of being a private security to get involved in some criminal activities. Sometimes, some of them see themselves more powerful than the police and the army. I think their impacts are being felt but northerners are also conscious about checking them and that is where our organization is also working with other NGOs to formulate guidelines.
What are your roles as an NGO in the private security outfit?
Our role is partnering with DECAF. DECAF is an organization that has interest in the security sector. They have helped a whole lot of developed countries to modernize with a frame work on how private security operates. You know private military contractors were brought into Mali to quench the rebels because the Malians army were overwhelmed. They were trying to overthrow the government but the government brought in private security, military contractors to help. So, recently, some people talked about why can’t Nigeria bring in military contractors to fight Boko Haram and we say no because we have a frame work if private military contractors are coming into Nigeria.
What framework and guidelines are they going to operate?
This is because private military contractors are very powerful and need a whole lot of money.
So, DECAF has been doing that kind of activity in the last 30 years. And they are bringing in capacity into Nigeria through our NGO.
Has any government given any support to your organization?
Yes government has given moral supports. When we launched the guidelines September last year, we had a representatives of the Inspector General of Police, the Civil Defence Corps, Ambassador of Switzerland.
Security is very important and we cannot be doing this without the support of the government. We open our books for them to see what we are doing.
How Do You Fund Your NGO?
We get funding to run our NGO through donations. I just mentioned DECAF. DECAF sponsored our capacity building. There are NGOs around the world who have similar interests with what we are doing, be it in health and other areas.
What are your impact on education and health?
Our impacts on education and health are that we have been able to get out of school children back to school. About 4000 children have succeeded in going back school through our project in collaboration with United State Agency For International Development, USAID.
On health, we have been part of a campaign called Make Nigeria Stronger, MNS, in collaboration with one campaign led by Bono, a musician, activist who is interested in education and health.
How are your Empowerment Programmes?
Our empowerment programmes basically to try to empower women with soft loans so that they can do business and support their children in schools. A beggar who has no source of livelihood cannot support her child or children.