Abdul Tunde Gegele is an Ilorin-based legal luminary who has carved a niche for himself in the legal profession. He bares his mind in this interview with our Judiciary Correspondent, KAYODE ADEOTI on government’s failure to provide necessary ammunitions to fight crimes in the country among other germane issues. Excerpts;
There seems to be drama-like scenario surrounding the stolen and recovered mace at the National Assembly, can you put a face to the issue?
Since it happened, the issue has generated concerns from well meaning Nigerians who felt that the drama could have been averted if necessary things had been put in place. It’s quite funny at this time and age to hear of such development in the country and in the ‘house’ of our lawmakers. The question on the lips of many in the country is how the so called thugs got into the National Assembly not searched or questioned. It means anyone can access the facility easily. Democracy is playing out itself, the suspension of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege was as a result of factions between the Senate and the Presidency. He’s supposed to be one of the supporters of President Muhammad Buhari, but there are issues of election time-table tearing the relationship apart…
(Cuts in…) How do you think our security operatives in the country will henceforth be perceived…?
Security needs to be beefed up in the National Assembly, though we are in a democratic world, citizens must be able to see their legislators at work but notwithstanding, proper screening of whoever goes in and out of the complex should be done and adequate security should be provided, not only for the facility but the lawmakers too. Before now, there have been security lapses, everything is being taken for granted. People walked in and out unchecked. I believe if the gate was properly manned, they would have stopped the hoodlums from gaining entrance into the building. The principal suspect in this drama is Senator Omo-Agege and he has gone to court seeking to enforce his fundamental human right, he’s asking for injunction against the police not to arrest him. I remember that the mace was picked on the high way, they will not know who dropped it there because of the security lapses no means of identifying those that stole the mace, no CCTV to reveal that. I don’t think any suspect has been arrested, and if there has been, we ought to have been informed, the public want to know those threatening the smooth runnings of democratic system of our government.
Some Nigerians were alleging that the development has political undertones, will you agree with that?
I agreed absolutely that it has political undertones, the Senate is already in faction, the Senate President is leading some part of the legislature while others are pledging their loyalty to the President. The crisis we are having now is largely in connection with 2019 general elections in the country, it will be another year of test for the democracy. The elective offices will surely be keenly contested because people are becoming more aware of their rights. People will surely come out en mass to vote persons of their choice.
Members of the public in Kwara state have been blaming state government for the success of the armed robbery attack that occurred in Offa, Offa Local Government on the 5th of April, 2018. What is your take on this?
This is not the first time robbery attack will be carried out in that region, I believe the security situation should have been improved. The location of their police station is just behind the market, it shouldn’t be. It shouldn’t be located where there are other human activities. Government ought to have relocated it from Owode market in Offa to a secured place. Also, we don’t have security gadgets and no manpower, that’s why robbers could go into the town at will and strike without anyone scaring them off with any form of counter attack.