Insecurity: Afenifere Insists on Return to 1963 Constitution


* Demands prosecution of perpetrators of Taraba killings

* Decries ‘our hands are tied’ syndrome in police system

Gboyega Akinsanmi

The pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has warned that the pursuit of adequate security, development, justice and unity would remain a delusion until the implementation of the 1963 Republic Constitution.

The organisation has also called for immediate prosecution of the killers of policemen in Taraba and Nasarawa states, noting that the unfortunate incidents indeed revealed job hazards officers of the Nigeria Police are facing on daily basis.

Afenifere canvassed the positions in a speech delivered by its National Leader, Chief Reuben Fasonranti, at the South-west Regional Security meeting held at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan in Ibadan on Monday.

The meeting was convened amid the rising incidence of insecurity and criminalities in all South-west states with Fulani herdsmen killing, kidnapping for ransom, destroying farmlands and raping wives of farmers, among others.

Specifically, the state of insecurity in the South-west came to its peak on July 12 when suspected Fulani herdsmen killed the daughter of the Afenifere leader, Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, at Ore Junction along Benin-Sagamu Expressway.

In his address, Fasonronti said there “cannot be adequate security or effective security architecture without strong political will and functional, broad-based all inclusive political system, which is still lacking in Nigeria.”

“Unless and until we uphold the sincerity and faithfulness of our founding fathers as gracefully entrenched in the 1963 Federal Republican Constitution, pursuits of security, development, justice and unity remain a delusion.

“Until true federalism is allowed and genuine federal constitution allowed to be made by the Nigerian peoples themselves, not by the military as currently and fraudulently is, will suspicion, double standard, imbalance, lopsidedness, fears, hatred, corruption, injustice, dominance, suppression and insecurity cease to pervade the geographical expression called Nigeria,” he said.

The Afenifere leader, therefore, emphasised the significance of a functional autonomous federating regional or state government, sharing his personal experience on the state of security in the South-west up to 1966. He narrated his experience thus: “Shortly before the emergency in the West, I was called to a meeting with Chief Obafemi Awolowo in Ibadan. I left Chief Awolowo at about 6.00 p.m. and got to Akure past eight in the night.

“I dropped off my friend and continued to Benin to join my wife. I got to Benin at 1.00 a.m. having enjoyed the tranquility of the night and safety of the environment provided by the ingenuity and commitment of a serious government.”

On the account of his personal experience, Fasonranti lamented that what happened from 1966 to date was nothing, but deliberate erosion of the region’s values and aspirations.

On the Taraba killing, Fasonranti commiserated with the Inspector General Police, Mr. Mohammad Adamu, men and officers of the Nigerian Police as well as the families of all the policemen who were cut down in the course of their official duties.

He noted that the unfortunate incidents of Taraba and Nasarawa “did not only reveal job hazards faced by officers of the Nigeria Police, but a call for immediate prosecution of the killers of the policemen.”

“Though I am still mourning the loss of my daughter amidst other children of the House of Oduduwa, murdered by yet to be identified gunmen, I ask the inspector-general to accept my heartfelt condolence on the death of his officers.”

He faulted the “order from above” or “our hands are tied” syndrome, which he claimed, incapacitated officers of the Nigeria Police from arresting, investigating and prosecuting criminal herdsmen when complaints are lodged against them.

He, equally, lamented that none of the State Police Commands “will carry out the order of a governor elected by citizens of the state, without clearance from the headquarters in spite of the provisions of the 1999 Constitution that recognised governors as the Chief Security Officers of their states.

“Yet, these governors are made to fund the National Police and other Security Agencies in their states. Such funds and efforts could better be deployed to raise, train and equip State Police architecture to complement the National Police.

“Even complaints lodged by our Obas are not treated with dispatch. Worst still, complainants against herdsmen are often threatened to be moved to Abuja at instances of calls from Abuja,” the Afenifere leader lamented.

He rhetorically posed some probing questions: “Who gives such orders from the office of the Inspector-General? Or where in Abuja do such orders come from? Why is the Government of Nigeria running away from every form of independent modern policing and security provision by the three tiers of the federation?”

He, therefore, suggested that converting the N-Power recruits and NYSC members “to community policing is still begging the security remedy and a mere security camouflage by an unwilling, yet unyielding unitary central government to our persistent clarion calls for a politically restructured Nigeria.”