FeaturesFrom the CourtPilot Law

Insecurity: Kwara SANs, others disagree on Sunday Igboho’s ultimatum, activities

Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANS) and other top legal practitioners in Kwara State have found themselves at the opposite end of the pendulum regarding the activities of the self styled Yoruba civil right activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo popularly known as Sunday Igboho over the worsening insecurity situation in the country. In this piece by ACTING EDITOR, MUMINI ABDULKAREEM, the legal luminaries give reasons for their differing positions on the matter.
As the country’s worsening security situation continues to degenerate across various states of the federation, many non state actors have emerged on the scene as local heroes in their communities issuing instructions and even ultimatum to other citizens over suspicion of involvement in the whole security saga in the country. One of such prominent public figure is Chief Sunday Adeyemo otherwise known as Sunday Igboho who’s rise to prominence can be traced to his activities during the Ife/Modakeke clash from where he gained reputation as a prominent political thugs in the permutation of the “wild-wild-west” politics in the south west region of the country.
After a lull in the security narrative that has assumed limelight status in the country in the recent times, Igboho has been in the news lately following his “intervention” in Oyo and Ogun states respectively after he issued ultimatum to the banished Sarkin Fulani of Ibarapa, Alhaji Salihu Abdulkadir which led to killing, arson and destruction of property. He them moved to Ogun State and replicated the same template and has been busy visiting some top Yoruba leaders in Lagos where he has continued to champion the call for herdsmen and Fulanis to relocate from the southwest. However, is the action of Adeyemo justified in the eye of the law especially when juxtaposed with the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria (as amended) and why has he continued with what some legal practitioners described as brazen impunity since he began his anti-Fulani crusade in the country?
For Kwara based lawyers among whom are Senior Advocates, the situation is like a tripod. While there are those who feel and believed “Sunday Igboho” has crossed the red line and should be dealt with accordingly, there are some who feel we need more of him in the country in the face of the collapse of the security apparatus across the country while others maintained a middle ground calling on the federal government to collaborate and partner with him to resolve the security conundrum that is ravaging the entire country and threatening to consume it unless something drastic and urgent is done to curtail the situation.
For many observers and analysts, the differing position of these legal practitioners only reflect the discordant tones and vibes that has trailed situation from different practitioners depending on which side of the divide they found themselves. And interestingly, many others top SANs and lawyers have kept mute on the issue when contacted for fear of what some have described as political, financial and regional interests and sentiments over an unambiguous illegal action to national cohesion and unity.
For Salman Adelodun (SAN), while acknowledging that the country is facing serious security challenge, non state actors cannot be allowed to run the show and take law into their hands because the country is not lawless that is ruled by laws of the jungle.
According to him, “The issue is that there is no way one can legitimately support what Sunday Igboho is doing. We agree for a fact that the country is challenged seriously in terms of our security superstructure. But law is law and Nigeria is a state that is governed by laws and people. So whatever the challenges we might be going through, it cannot be for individuals to take up the law unto their own hands. The danger is that if we continue this way, all hell will break loose. The day we came together to form a state and agreed to live under the state, that was when we donated our power to the state.
“So if we have issues with our security, the right thing to do is to work and get it better whether through restructuring, revamping or do whatever is necessary that will improve the situation we have on ground to enable them adequately and effectively react to the situation. But no matter the circumstance, for (any) individual(s) to stand up and say they want to be unilaterally enforcing the laws across the country, the end result will bring nothing but chaos, disorder and anarchy”, he added.
Adelodun said “Though, the decision is left for the government to take but I strongly condemned his action and every right thinking individual should do. He (Igboho) ought to have been arrested but that is left for the government”, he submitted.
For his part, Abeni Mohammed (SAN) noted that Igboho’s action is on point because the federal government has failed to live up to her responsibility to protect the citizens and provide security for the people. Abeni is even of the opinion that more of Sunday Igboho’s is needed in Nigeria.
He said, “I commend Igboho, if we have his likes in all the states to defend their people, I mean there should be somebody who will rise up to say, enough is enough. These people causing insecurity are foreigners who have no home or land to settle, they just come into Nigeria and start killing people and our Armed Forces are not doing anything. If we have thousands of Igbohos, these people will flee our country. In fact we need more Igbohos in Nigeria, we need them in all the states, to liberate and fight for their people. I support what he has done wholeheartedly”, Mohammed maintained.
But asked if his action is not contrary to our laws, the Senior Advocate said “Which law, when the country is lawless, when the foreigner in our country is lawless. They are killing, kidnapping and raping people and yet the Armed Forces are not doing anything. And since they cannot follow the laws of the land, it is only good that they leave”, he submitted.
Commenting on the issue, the National Vice President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Chief Kazeem Debo Adeyemo believes that the government should rather partner with people like Igboho to nip the problem in the bud instead of classifying him as an enemy of the state with his action.
Adeyemo while speaking to Pilot Judiciary on the issue said “It’s unfortunate we found ourselves were we are today in Nigeria where criminals will operate with impunity and without caution and the security operatives will be helpless over the situation. A country where some people will have access to bandit and the police will not have intelligence report as to their whereabouts and yet lots of people are being killed with (huge) ransom collected while no action is taken.
“We cannot just sit back and watch things like this happen. The Nigeria people signed a social contract with the government or vice versa and thus it is now the responsibility of the government to provide security for the people. But when such is becoming impossible, the issue of community policing, vigilantees and establishment of other security outfits who are concerned with maintaining peace and harmony among the people assume front burner of public discuss in the polity.
“In a situation where some people see some areas as hotspots and nothing is being done, it is normal to go there and issue ultimatum having had information about the notoriety of such area as a hide out for criminals. He (Igboho) didn’t issue the ultimatum in the market or other places. So his action is a challenge to the security network because everybody cannot just fold arm and be quiet. I think what he (Igboho) did is in order to go to a place and tell those people that what they are doing is inimical to the health and wellbeing of the people in the area.
“We have our security operatives who are not doing anything over the issue. What the government should do in this instance is to work and collaborate with him to ensure that there is peace and sanity in the country. Igboho is a good person to work with in this instance and the government should not see him as an enemy. The government represents the people who are not against what Igboho did because they believe he is protecting them. Considering the situation we found ourselves in Nigeria, what Igboho has done is not out of place”, he added.
But questioned whether Igboho was right in the eyes of the law, Adeyemo beautifully summed up the his contribution thus: Although the law does not allow individuals to take laws into their hands but rather report to security agencies for further action, however in a lawless community, it is illegal to be lawful and criminal to be a good person as everybody is looking to the government who appears not to be doing enough over the matter. It is such an unfortunate situation we have found ourselves”, he added.Another Senior Advocate based in the state who said he doesn’t want to be quoted on the issue condemned the action of Igboho asking how an individual can be bigger than the government.
“I don’t want to speak officially on this. The issue is very clear, how can an individual be bigger than the government, but I don’t want to say anything on the issue officially, the senior lawyer noted.
To be sure, Igboho’s action has continued to divide senior lawyers and top dignitaries in the country with endorsement of his action coming from religious, traditional and government officials who have supported him bluntly so far. But why is the position of the law appeared to have been relegated to the backstage in all of these. The answer to this puzzle will become clearer in the coming days.

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button