Pilot Law

2019: Politicians need high dose of maturity


Barrister Taiye Oniyide is a legal practitioner based in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital. In this interview with KAYODE ADEOTI, he speaks on the need for politicians to play their games with maturity in the forthcoming 2019 general election in the country among other sundry issues. Excerpts:

Members of the public have condemned Nigeria Police for disobeying the rule of law, especially on the aspect of the training suspects, what can you say to this?

On this issue, we lawyers believe that the law is an ass. This means that the law can be made to suite several purposes. The law is clear on the time frame a suspect can be detained, but the law also give rooms for exceptional cases especially when the police are not through with their investigations. What the law says is that within 24 or 48 hours, the police must charge the suspect to court. The beauty of it is that, the police can go to court to seek for extension of time in exceptional situations. It on that basis I will agree that the police had done the right things. No matter the gravity of the offence, an accused is presumed innocent, until the court proves it otherwise. Even in the case of the kingpin, Evans, he is still innocent though the nature of his alleged offence appears usual to the layman. Even if the suspect confesses to the crime, the court must record him or her not guilty and allow the prosecution team to establish the case. For as long as that is the position of things, we are bound to follow it. Our society is guided by law and Nigeria is not a country that allows jungle justice. Law must still take its course. A suspect confessing before administrative authorities is not yet condemned as he/she must be condemned by the court of law. That is why some suspects charge government to court because they feel their fundamental human right have been infringed upon.

The issue of ritual killings in our society especially in Ilorin; do you think that certain laws should be implemented to prevent it?

It is unfortunate that we have such prevailing. In respect to what action can be taken particularly if there are laws that could be made, I can tell you affirmatively that we have more than enough laws to curb crimes. Establishing another laws are not what we need, rather the execution of the existing laws, more efforts need to be put in place by the law enforcement agencies and the government. It is also unfortunate that it has extended to cultism. Leader of the institutions of higher learning have roles to play in this aspect too since cultism. The action has to start from within because a house that is divided against itself cannot hold.

With the current prevalence of clashes, killings, how will you rate our security operatives in Nigeria?

I will have to be personal about this, I’m not impressed. They have taken some positions which are questionable. You will see them taking action sometimes and you will applaud, and when it comes to another aspect, you see a different ball game. One thing that has continued to dazzle me is the number of police officers deployed for elections exercise and the few numbers that attends to situation that has to do with human life, this is unfair and it is disturbing. Imagined what was deployed to Ekiti State during the last election. 30,000 force men, if we could have such number across the states where existence of lives is been threatened, then we will rather be applauding the government. Personal self ambition has become the primary duty of our government. This doesn’t make me happy and I won’t rate our security agencies high.

Since the invasion of the DSS on National House of Assembly…? {Cut in}

The law enforcement agency were caught up in the web of been partisan, there were debate among members of the public that DSS invaded the place to stop the plans of some people who want to impeach the Senate President and many other issues like that. My worry is that the development portends a lot of danger to our democracy. As we move into electoral period, a lot of maturity needs to be employed. High dose of maturity is expected from our politicians in order to ensure our democracy is sustained. As it is now, they are not laying good examples for the Nigerians because whatever happens, it’s the common man that will suffer the consequence not them, they must have the interest of common man at heart. On the issue of invasion, it’s very difficult to take a position, I don’t want to be partisan because this issue can be viewed from both angles. If chaos eventually resulted at that drama, the law enforcement agency will be at the receiving end because if a faction of members of the house plan to meet and another faction decided to disturb the peace of the former, then it will call for the attention of the security agency. But if it is true that the security agency were been partisan by blocking the lawmakers from going into their offices, that is condemnable.

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