Pilot Law

CURRENT ISSUES: Killings in Nigeria: State police not way out


Saka Abimbola Isau (SAN) is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria based in Ilorin, Kwara State. He was onetime Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of the state as well as Secretary to the State Government. In this interview, he speaks with our JUDICIARY CORRESPONDENT, KAYODE ADEOTI on the need to beef up security in the country given the level of insecurity. Excerpts:

Some members of the public have kicked against the call for establishment of state police based on the perception that the institution will dance to the tune of the state government…?

We need to beef up our security apparatus in this country, however, state police is not the solution. With the way we play our politics in Nigeria, the state government may manipulate the state police if established. If our democracy eventually improves, we might consider having the institution but with the present situation we find ourselves, we’re not matured for it. What I will advice is that, Federal Government should employ more hands security operatives, in particular, government can beef up the Directorate of State Security Services (DSS). This will complement intelligence gathering and our police will find it useful for their investigative work. Also, the security agencies should establish a more cordial relationship, police should be able to relate with the DSS, customs and vis-versa. They should have a nexus that connects them.

(Cut in…) And do you think this would address the issue of incessant killings in some parts of the country?

If all these suggestions are taken to, I believe we will have a sane society, however, state police is not the solution. These suggestions will curb killings across the country. The killings doesn’t happen spontaneously, it’s a planned work, if the intelligence gathering apparatus is beefed up, plans of any evil doer can easily be exposed.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo ordered general overhaul of a department of the Police; F-SARS, this directive has received commendations and condemnations from members of the public, how do you see it?

By virtue of chapter 4 of the Nigerian constitution which borders on human rights, some officials of F-SARS are taking laws into their hands and harassing innocent Nigerians. The Vice President had gotten this information being a lawyer, and that was why he made such directive. To me, it’s a good one and we can all see how it’s working. There has been so much complaints from members of the public on how these officials are misbehaving, hence, the need to checkmate them. It’s good to have a leader that is sensitive and responsive to the yearnings of the populace.

We’re in the era of politicking and there has been defection of politicians from one party to the other…

(Cuts in) To me, all what has happened so far are parts of the development of our democracy; our system of politicking allows one to move from one party to the other especially when one’s interest is not safeguarded in a particular political party.

Morally or constitutionally, is there certain number of times a politician can defect?

A politician can defect hundred times, the constitution did not specify the limit. Also, this is not about morals, it’s about constitution and one’s right to do what pleases one.

At the recently concluded Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association in Abuja, President Buhari in his speech at the event placed national interest above the rule of law…

(Cuts in) I have never been on the side of the president on this issue but believe in the rule of law and the constitution. Constitution is above everything and I follow whatever it provides and that is why we refer to the constitution as the grand norm. It’s the basis of our existence and relationships.

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