By Gen. Saleh Bala
The governors of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, and Rivers State, Mr. Nyesom Wike, specifically are making our long advocacy for the devolution of policing more difficult than it already is.
However, on the other hand, they are making the case for wholesome Security Sector Reforms (SSR) for Nigeria a priority.
Much sad that both governors are lawyers and well learned of the law. But the crass high-handed lawlessness both are exhibiting is gaining dangerous grounds most especially against the background of a lame federal authority.
Both are also cashing on the weakness of a docile citizenry. That police squads deployed for the executives’ close protection are now used for execution of extrajudicial directives of the state executives only shows that the state commissioners of police and even the IGP are short of knowing their briefs.
While the state governors at present are constitutionally the Chief Security Officers of their states, that appointment is only for strategic directional purposes and not for the operational and tactic.
Governors are not security professionals and do not have the constitutional command mandate to direct operations. Be that, one understands that they do have powers for citizen arrest, like all of us. But that is where it stops.
The current dispensation which throws up an almost absent federal government is given a many state executives opportunity to test and abuse powers beyond them. We are seeing governors under the pretext of fighting the Coronavirus, blocking off federal road arteries and even evicting citizens they consider not from their state outside judicial processes.
Already, there is a groundswell of ‘restructure Nigeria’ agitations. I suspect that all this is promoted by agents of state destabilization cashing on the weakness of the federal government or absence of its simple oversight.
Sadly, we have a mass of fundamentally rascally self-serving elites, grown on an incendiary mix of a traditional primitive lynch mentality and a third world coupist jackboot military immediate-effect syndrome, always baying for blood.
So, as long as they are not victims, all is well. It was Nuhu Ribadu and even Sambo Dasuki who until their incarceration did not obey court orders, but when they were victimized or perceived so, took their cases even up to the ECOWAS court.
This is why northern Nigerian governor could sit and decide to collect and expel innocent children from ‘their states’, as if these children are not Nigerians, all in the name of curbing Almajiranci. The same class of Nigerians in power who scrambled Presidential jets to smuggle their golden children back into Nigeria, in spite the lockdown are the ones presiding over the extrajudicial and immoral collection and dumping of children across Nigeria. This is the low way we flow.
However, in all this down the line and soon that if this repression of the less privileged, poor and weak of Nigeria continues, the warning we security experts have been sounding of a great social upheaval is soon come. The world in the aftermath of the COVID-19 will not be the same in all ramifications of human life and social systems. We should all take a conscience vote.
Gen. Saleh Bala (rtd), is a former Chief of Infantry Corp, Nigerian Army and currently the Chief Executive Officer, White Ink Consult