Obaseki Calls for Decentralisation of Nation’s Security Architecture

Obaseki Calls for Decentralisation of Nation’s Security Architecture

•    Launches Edo command, control centre, special force building, others

Alex Enumah in  Abuja

Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, yesterday, called for the decentralisation of the country’s security architecture to check crime and criminality.

The governor said this during the Edo State Security Summit, held at the Government House, Benin City, with the theme, “Edo State Security Framework: Repositioning for the Future.” The governor also officially launched the state’s Command and Control Centre, named after former Inspector General of Police and Chairman of Police Service Commission, Dr. Solomon Arase and Special Force Building, in Benin City.

Obaseki said the government is partnering with security agencies, leveraging technology, and evolving a public safety system that is anchored on citizen participation, to tackle insecurity in the state.

He said, “Crime is local, as well as security and until we have a decentralised legislative framework to allow component parts to take policing to a certain level and ensure active collaboration between the federal/central security agencies and local agencies, we will not succeed in fighting criminality.

“When we started collating data of crime incidents in the state between 2017 and 2020, there was a rise in crime and criminality in the state.

But today, we have seen incidents of crime go down drastically. We thank all the security agencies for their collaborative efforts in reducing crime in the state by 47.7 per cent between 2020 till date.”

The governor who said he was proud of the reforms introduced by his administration in the last seven years, especially in the area of security, said there is still so much to be done to reduce crime to the barest minimum in the state.

“Traditional leaders are so key to our security arrangements because, without them, it would have been difficult to get the level of intelligence and local participation and cooperation we have received.

“As we go into the future, the emphasis must be on decentralising security because everybody knows who comes in and out of their communities.

Once we can empower them to have some authority in making decisions to support security efforts, we will achieve a lot more success.

“Looking ahead, we see that the future of security will be driven by technology and we will ensure that those that take charge are responsible and have control. The success today of our command and control centre is a collaboration with NCC.”

He further stated, “I thank the IGP for allowing the state to undertake major refurbishment of the police training school, Ogida in Benin City. We spent billions of Naira improving the school because we realised that as a state, we didn’t have the capacity but relied on existing structures to help improve our security.

“We have used the facilities for training men of the Edo State Vigilante Network (ESSVN). We have trained over 5,000 and as I speak, another batch of 1,500 operatives are undergoing training.”

Earlier, the keynote speaker, Major Gen. Ohifeme Enemai (Rtd),

said, “The strategy of security in Edo State must cover citizens, businesses,

visitors, infrastructure and information, amongst others. The security

structure must be in place to drive the strategy for a safer and a secure state

for all.

“Insecurity is an enterprise and job for criminal elements but

we should all collaborate seamlessly, putting them out of that evil job by

ensuring the state is safe, peaceful, and secured for all.”

Dignitaries present at the event are: former Commissioner of

Police and Special Adviser to Oyo State Governor, Fatai Owoseni (Rtd); Minister

for Police Affairs, Sen. Ibrahim Gaidam, represented by the Director of General

Services in the Ministry, Ibilola Edemanya; former Inspector General of Police

and Chairman, Police Service Commission, Solomon Arase, and the Commissioner of

Police, Edo State, Dankwara Mohammed.

Others include the Secretary to the Edo State Government,

Osarodion Ogie; Chief of Staff to the Edo State Governor, Dr. Osaigbovo Iyoha;

Edo State Head of Service, Anthony Okungbowa, and the Chairman of the Edo State

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Anthony Aziegbemi, among others.

Meanwhile, Justice Obiora Egwuatu of a Federal High Court, in

Abuja, has summoned the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki to appear before the

court and give reason for the delay or refusal to swear in eight

Judges-designate of the Edo State High Court, who were recommended for

appointment as High Court Judges by the National Judicial Council since June

2023.

Justice Egwuatu issued the order while delivering ruling in an

exparte application challenging the delay and or refusal of Obaseki to swear in

the judges.

The case with suit number: FHC/ABJ/1634/2023 which was

instituted as a public interest litigation by an Edo-born lawyer Adaze Andrew

Emwanta, has as respondents the Governor of Edo State, the State Attorney

General and the National Judicial Council (NJC).

After listening to plaintiff’s/applicant’s counsel, Dafenone

Akpomudiare, the court held that, “An Order of this Court is made for the 1st,

2nd and 3rd Defendants/Respondents, their assigned agents however so called to

show cause why the reliefs of the Plaintiff/Applicant in his originating

summons should not be granted with respect to the prolonged delay and/or

refusal of the 2nd and 3rd Respondents to swear in the eight (8) judicial

officers-designate recommended by the 1st Defendant/Respondent as Judges of the

Edo State High Court.”

The court subsequently adjourned the matter to January 22, 2024.

Under the Federal High Court rules, the governor and other

defendants in the case have three days to comply with the order to show course,

by filing their court processes as Respondents to the order of court.

It will be recalled that the National Judicial Council (NJC)

just two days back rejected a request from the Governor of Osun State on a

particular judicial appointment.

At its 104th meeting of 6 and 7 December 2023, presided over by

Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, the NJC declined the request of Governor Ademola

Adeleke of Osun State asking for approval of the next most senior High Court

Judge of the state to function as Acting Chief Judge.

The NJC affirmed that Justice Ojo is still the recognised Chief

Judge of Osun State, and would not work on the resolution of a State House of

Assembly, as it is the only body constitutionally empowered to investigate

judicial officers and recommend the same for any action to the Governor.

Consequently, Osun State should revert to the status quo.

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