Present security architecture of Nigeria cannot solve the nation’s security problems

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, on Wednesday, maintained that Nigeria’s present security architecture cannot guarantee effective policing and address the array of security challenges confronting the country.

Akeredolu who stated this during a virtual panel discussion on the #EndSars protest that occurred last year noted that a single command in Abuja cannot oversee the 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory and ensure effective tackling of the issues affecting policing in Nigeria.

Speaking on “Constitution and the Rule of Law prescribe the working mechanism of the State Security Outfit vis-a-vis the rights of the individuals,” Governor Akeredolu explained that the Nigerian Constitution guarantees the rule of law and fundamental human rights.

He, however, said such rights can be suspended or abridged during social or political upheavals, adding that the state has an obligation to maintain law and order in a period of pervasive crisis or violence.

Pointing out that there is no absolute right, the Governor re-emphasized that basic rights can be suspended for peace which is the collective interest of the people.

Governor Akeredolu, who noted that there was no consistent policy conceived to address the security issues that have festered for a while, stressed that the #EndSars protest exposed one of the numerous crises facing the county.

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Akeredolu frowned over the turn of events during the protest which ended with so much destruction, adding that the beginning was commendable before it was hijacked by hoodlums who were destructive elements.

He said “the ENDSARS protest was hijacked by hoodlums. It was not organised to loot and destroy. What happened in Lagos cannot be said to be #ENDSARS.

“It was the handiwork of destructive elements. It is not something that anybody will encourage. When it started, it was commended. The way it ended must be condemned because we allowed hoodlums to hijack it.

“One thing is clear, the Nigerian Constitution as we have it today, in spite of the flaws, has guaranteed the rule of laws and fundamental human rights. Everybody including the security agents must respect this.

“But the state has an obligation to maintain law and order. In a period of pervasive crisis, certain basic rights can be suspended for peace which is the collective interest of the people. It gives us a clear understanding that no right is absolute.”

The Chairman of the South West governors forum also faulted the recruitment and employment process of the officers of the Nigerian Police, saying reports of payments for recruitment into the Police Force are very worrisome.

Others who spoke as panellists include; Former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Solomon Arase; Activist and Co-Convener, #Bringbackourgirls, Aisha Yesufu and Professor of Political Science, University of Notre Dame, Rev. Robert Dowd.

Meanwhile, the Ondo State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality and Other Related Matters has recommended payment of N755m as claimed by the petitioners.

The Chairman of the panel, Justice Adesola Sidiq (Rtd) made this known while members of the panel visited the office of the state governor, Akeredolu to submit the report of the committee to him.

Sidiq also disclosed that apart from the payment of the N755m, the panel also recommended the publication of apologies in national dailies, particularly where the reputation of victims had been tarnished.

According to him, the panel received about 77 petitions from public and private persons including organisations, saying the assignment which borders on human rights violation involved some cases as far back as 2003 which had remained unresolved until this Panel was set up.’

Justice Sidiq who said the panel heard 14 criminal and 63 civil matters in the petitions also disclosed that properties were vandalised in four Local Government Areas of Akure South, Ondo West, Odigbo and Okitipupa.

He called for a review of Section 84 of the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act, (2004) to enable judgement creditors to enjoy the fruit of their litigations.

According to him, “Apart from the monetary recommendations which totalled at the sum of N755,730,897. 88 (Seven Hundred and Fifty-five Millon, seven Hundred and Thirty Thousand, Eight Hundred and ninety-Seven Naira eighty-Eight Kobo), the Panel equally recommended publication of apologies in national dailies particularly where the reputation of victims had been tarnished.

“Another issue which became thorny was on the cases which had been decided by Courts of competent jurisdiction but were brought before the Panel for lack of payment of judgement debts.

“Mr Governor Sir, the Panel, after careful consideration of its limitations in line with extant Supreme Court judgments on the powers of Panels of Inquiry to entertain res-judicata cases, suggests that it is high time a review is carried out on Section 84 of the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act, (2004) to enable judgement creditors to enjoy the fruit of their litigations.”

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