……Challenges Elders In South East To Step In And Stop Sabotage And Killings
The pan Yoruba socio-cultural organization, Afenifere, has described the announcement by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, that the federal government may declare a state of emergency in Anambra State as a self-indictment.
In a statement by the organisation’s national publicity Secretary, Comrade Jare Ajayi, Afenifere stated that the declaration is more of a verdict of failure on the part of the federal government to provide security rather than the failure of the Anambra State government. To shift the failure-blame to the state government is therefore shocking and unfortunate.
“The situation in the South East, including Anambra, however poses a big challenge to the people of the area to be determined in calling those perpetrating the killings and economic sabotage to order. The elders in the area owe themselves and their people that responsibility. If they did this, there would be no excuse for the federal government to declare the state of emergency.”
According the spokesman, it was in order for the federal government to warn that the incessant violence in the state was unacceptable and may lead to undesirable consequence, but it is a height of blame game and hypocrisy to put all the blame on the state government when it is clear that the main security apparatuses in the country are controlled exclusively by the federal government.
The highest any state government in Nigeria is allowed to do in terms of security is to set up local vigilante groups who cannot carry equipment necessary to combat insecurity in this 21st security. The kind of weapon they could carry under the present Nigerian law is the type a person going to hunt for game in the bush can carry while those they are supposed to confront are armed with almost the most sophisticated weapons available. All the efforts states in the South West for example have made to allow their security network, Amotekun, have the power of a state police have been rebuffed. So, the Anambra state governor, like his counterparts in other states, is constitutionally and administratively encumbered from providing security in his state despite the fact that the same constitution dubs him as ‘the chief security officer’ of his state.
Afenifere asserted that were those at the helms of affairs genuinely committed to securing Nigeria as the situation currently demands, the state governments could be administratively allowed to establish state police forces while a quick amendment is made to the relevant sections of the constitution to that effect.
At the moment, state governments fund police commands in their states just as police commissioners in the states are members of the states’ security councils. Yet, the governor has no power to give an order to the state police commissioner as the latter only takes order from the Inspector General of Police or his lieutenants – and not the governor!
Thus, if anyone is to be blamed for security lapses in various parts of the country, it should be the federal government. Admittedly, the states ought to devise means to ensure the security of their people. But with the present structure of security institutions in the country, all the state governments can do would be supplementary to whatever the federal government does.
The hypocrisy in the threat by the Attorney General became manifest because no state of emergency has been announced to be in the offing in states where serious security challenges have been occurring for months if not years. States such as Borno, Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, Benue, Plateau, Niger where even sections of local governments are under the control of bandits as announced by the state governor.
But then, declaring a state of emergency does not, in itself, solve the security problems. Such a step would, at best, turn the state into a police state. Those who wreak are committing the atrocity may go underground for a time only to resurface after the election. What the government should do therefore is to holistically solve the security problem.
In any case, if government declares a state of emergency in Anambra State and there is insecurity in some other states, especially where and when elections are due, would the government again declare states of emergency in those states? Afterall, it is a fact that some unscrupulous politicians may orchestrate artificial atrocities if they consider it as the short cut to the declaration of a state of emergency.
The federal government is hereby enjoined to take security of the entire country more seriously by, among others, allowing states to come in since it is now clear that it could not handle it alone.