Federal government has been advised to take measures to expose elements behind series of killings and kidnappings across the country with a view to bringing them to justice.
Giving the advice in an interview with the DAILY SUN, a lawyer, and human rights activist, Olatunde Fawibe implored President Muhammadu Buhjari to order security agents to unmask the undesirable elements who want to destabilize the country.
What is your reaction to the worsening state of insecurity across the country, and the attendant tension it is generating?
The present state of insecurity in Nigeria is very unfortunate and worrisome. It not only calls for a sober reflection but also requires urgent solution because of the danger it portends for the well being of Nigeria as a country. It is sad that no part of the country is safe anymore. This is no longer Nigeria envisaged by the nation’s founding fathers. From what is going on, it appears some people I will refer to as Third force are bent on destabilizing Buhari’s government.
What is the way out of the insecurity crisis?
The question should be what is the cause of insecurity in Nigeria? Insecurity is festering because our judicial system is weak. It is because of the weakness in our judicial system that some of these vices are festering. Any nation where crime and criminality are pampered, this is what you get. Number one, for criminal prosecution, the legal principle of “presumption of innocence until proven guilty” should be changed to “presumption of guilty until proven innocent” thereby transferring the burden of proof on the accused not the accuser to prove innocence. You can commit crime and create problems for the prosecution if you have money to hire good lawyers.
Number two, the introduction of kin punishment, a legal principle where family share responsibility for a crime committed by one of its members should also be considered. It is in punishing the family members of someone accused of a crime, either in place of or in addition to the perpetrator that can restore sanity to Nigeria.We have lost our moral values as a nation.
Some Nigerians have expressed concern that the rise in kidnapping, banditry and herdsmen attacks may gradually turn Nigeria into another Somalia, what’s your take on that?
The situation like I said earlier is degenerating. Government must quickly rise to the occasion in order to avert a looming calamity. Our prayers is that Nigeria’s situation will not get to that of Somalia. What we must also realize again is that there are other problems confronting Nigeria as a nation. There are more cancerous problems eating deep into Nigeria’s socio-economic fabrics. For instance, overpopulation in Nigeria is a disaster waiting to happen; others include systemic corruption, outrageous numbers of out of school pupils, nepotism, and unemployment. The high cost of governance must also be addressed. High cost of governance may bring Nigeria to its knees one day if we are not careful. France has 22 ministers, Germany 13 federal ministers and United States 15 but Nigeria with 19 federal ministries have 42 ministerial nominees. Even the Speaker, House of Representatives alone has 27 aides.
Bi cameral system we run is nothing but monumental waste for a country like Nigeria. As at 2016, a whooping N2.3 billion is appropriated annually as entitlement on former Presidents, and Vice Presidents/Head of State. Imagine N2.3billion being paid to just 7 people, while millions of Nigerians wallow in poverty; Nigeria may not get it right until some of these issues are addressed.
Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka recently declared that President Buhari has been overwhelmed by Nigeria’s problems, what’s your reaction to that?
We must admit that Nigeria is a difficult nation to govern resulting from its formation, and structure imposed on us by our colonial master and other complexities. Some of these problems had been there even before Buhari assumed office. Politicians are number one problem of Nigeria, everything in Nigeria is highly politicized, and the President being a Fulani man is caught between the rock and the deep blue sea in the face of the herdsmen/farmers crises that have polarized the country. Nigeria’s political class is an albatross on the nation, and this is one of the reasons for our national misfortune.
Some Nigerians have suggested creation of state police as a way out of the insecurity problem, what is your own stand on that?
Nigeria is too big and the population is quite large to centralize command and control center at the federal level, it may seem effective but can never be efficient. How do you expect a nation’s security system to function when we are still using the same policing structure when Nigeria was 30 million and now with over 180 million population. Or how do you expect operational excellence from a police officer when you post him to an area where he does not have religious, cultural or historical ties? State Police is a welcome idea but I envisaged opposition to it by some powerful interests.
What is your advice to the South-West governors on the problem of rising insecurity in the region?
The best way to fight insecurity is to prevent it. It is being proactive rather than being reactive that is the best solution.
Therefore, my advice to the governors is to recruit highly trained personnel with knowledge and gadgets in intelligence gathering, personnel who within five minutes can respond to emergency situation and neutralize criminals, personnel whose special skills will be an asset to contain crime. There must also be co-operation, and collaboration among the governors.
Secondly, just like technology is used to conduct crime, same way also technology is also used to detect and solve crime and criminality. I will suggest the use of radar based remote sensing monitoring of roads and forest than drone as suggested at the recently held South-West regional summits.