Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), said on Thursday that corrupt politicians and the looting of security funds were responsible for the current insecurity problems bedevilling the country.
Suggesting solutions to the problem, however, a Professor of Law, Akin Oyebode (SAN), said the government had to provide good governance, to overcome the growing level of killings in the country.
Malami delivered the keynote address, while Oyebode was the lead speaker at ‘A High-Level Dialogue on Law and Security in Nigeria’ which held at Sheraton Hotel in Abuja on Tuesday.
The event organised by the Federal Ministry of Justice and with the theme, ‘Law, Justice and Security in Nigeria,’ was attended by the Attorneys-General and Commissioners of Justice of 29 out of the 36 states of the federation.
According to Malami, the event was convened following “the severe security challenges” particularly “the incidents of June 23 to 24, 2018 in the Barkin Ladi Local Government Area and two adjoining local governments in Plateau State.”
The minister lamented “the massive loss of lives and injuries to survivors, destruction of whole communities and a further increase in the number of Internally Displaced Persons in Plateau State and the wider Middle-Belt region” resulting from the incidents.
He said the “horrendous incidents in Plateau State” followed “a pattern in some other states, notably Benue, Taraba, Zamfara and Adamawa states.”
Malami, who drew a link between law and security, however, said the sudden upsurge in the incidents was attributable to “the advent of another political season” and antics of corrupt politicians.
He said, “From an informed assessment of the situation, permit me to first situate the apparent upsurge in these incidents to the advent of another political season of elections and the fierce contestation for power which appears to now overshadow all pretensions to patriotism and respect for human lives, in certain quarters.
“You will recall that when this administration came to power in 2015, it made the security of lives and property a cardinal principle of its governance. Tremendous successes were achieved, particularly in decimating and degrading the Boko Haram terrorist group.
“As we approach another general elections in 2019, it is easy to see the hands of corrupt politicians with contrary positions in our present security problems as they desperately attempt to discredit all the gains made by this administration, for purely political gains. We must resist these negative tendencies.”
He spoke of how “our security architecture and processes were compromised over the years of previous administrations in this country where funds meant for the security of this nation were mindlessly looted and frittered away to the detriment of our collective well-being.”
“These cumulative acts of brazen looting of security funds brought us to our present state as a nation in respect of our capacity to respond to emerging security challenges,” he said.
Malami said while those involved in the looting of security funds were already being prosecuted, the looters continued to use the “humongous loot still in their possession” to undermine security agencies and other institutions of government.
He said, “The greater danger to our collective survival remains the fact that we are not fully out of the grip of this corrupt, privileged class, despite the best intentions and efforts of the Buhari administration.
“On the contrary, we are now confronted with a situation where they are using the humongous loot still in their possession, either directly or through proxies, to continuously launch attacks designed to subvert critical national and state institutions and processes including undermining the security agencies themselves; compromising the executive instruments of investigation; infiltrating the judiciary whose independence to determine cases judiciously and expeditiously they have attempted to undermine; and ultimately attempting to foist a system of corruption on the country.”
However, Oyebode advocated good governance as an antidote to the current menace of insecurity in the country.
Oyebode said, “The destabilising potential of inaction in the face of wanton murder and other atrocities against fellow citizens is self-evident. Nigeria’s antidote to grave violations of human rights is, in my view, good governance.”
Oyebode said inaction in the face of the growing rights violations could engender “grave consequences” even for heads of state.
He said, “More important, refusal to take necessary action to curtail and contain violations of the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court could engender grave consequences even for heads of state, military commanders and high government officials.
“The danger posed by inaction, connivance and protection granted to terrorists is, quite simply, incalculable in today’s world with real possibilities of people voting with their feet and taking other actions that could be destabilising, dysfunctional and counter-productive.”
He noted that the threat posed by Boko Haram and herders were real.
The professor said, “It might be an understatement to aver that Nigeria is experiencing the nadir of underdevelopment as a result of severe security challenges ravaging Nigeria in recent times.
“Admittedly terrorism has been a traumatic experience engendered by the Boko Haram debacle as well as ethnic cleansing being perpetrated by hordes of herders armed with AK 47 and other deadly weapons deployed against unarmed farmers.
“Those living in denial of the potency of the threat posed by terrorism to the Nigerian state are rather to be pitied than vilified.
“The thousands of Nigerian citizens that have been sent to their untimely deaths since the emergence of the Boko Haram in 2007 and lately, arising out of the dastardly exploits of the merchants of deaths posing as herders, it must be admitted, has put the survival of Nigeria on the line.”
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