By Edem Edem, Calabar
Ntufam Mba Ekpezu Ukweni, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) has said that the Nigerian security apparatus has failed Nigeria and the people have to secure themselves.
SAN who was speaking with DAILY POST on Friday in Calabar, Cross River State capital regretted the attitude of our security personel hence supporting the launching of Amotekum by South West Governors.
He however, urged other regions in the country that have not done same to form their own security outfit with a view to protecting their people from being attacked and killed.
“I must be frank, I do not have confident in the Nigeria’s system security us, it has failed us, we all know that, let us not hide it, it has failed us, for how long has Boko Haram been on, for how long has kidnapping been on, for how long has Niger Delta Militant has been on.
“Instead of Government taking steps to ensure that these people are brought under the law they are negotiating with them, that shows weakness, that shows incapacity to secure the people, they carry money meant for the development of the country to negotiate and give them to buy more weapons and continue in their criminality, so I too don’t have faith in the Federal Government securing the country.
“Constitutionally, we say that defence is in exclusive legislative list but I have also emphasized when we started this discussion that the various states governors have responsibility as Chief security officers of their states to secure their own states, so to that extent they have responsibility to ensure that their states are secured.
“To that extent, various states have security meeting to discuss security, they don’t have to wait for the federal government if they have security challenges such as communal clashes. The various State Governors, by law and constitution and by their respective offices as Chief Executive of their States are said to be the Chief Security Officers of their States” he said.
Speaking further, Ntufam Ukweni said “We know that the defence of the territorial integrity of Nigeria is in the Federal Government but the various State governments up to the local government and respective villages have responsibility to ensure that there is this usual saying that security is the business of everybody.
“So they know what the basic problem is in their respective states and the region and that is why they decided to take those steps to enable them secure their states and their places so I don’t see anything wrong in them taken steps to ensure that there is security of lives and property in their areas.
“Some of us have been advocating for the issue of amendment of our constitution and the Police Acts to make provision for the State Police and even Local Government system of securing their respective places.
“We have been talking about the Boko Haram and I said people who are in Bako Haram are from communities and we know they are from respective communities, there is no how new persons comes into a community without the other people knowing that a stranger has come in.
“So if there is any crime committed in a community, the people know the new person who has committed the crime, so let they take steps to secure their areas. I am in agreement with that, I see nothing wrong with them taken steps to secure their respective States, so as long as they do not do anything that will infringe on the security of other States and other individuals.
On using it as a political tool, the SAN said “Do any one complain about the federal government alleged use of security officials for elections, during the last elections, Army, Police and other security agents were allegedly used, so why wouldn’t people complain.
“The security apparatus in the country should be disbanded because people in government use it to their advantage, those agencies were not created in actual fact to serve individual, they were created to serve the country so it cannot be because certain persons are using them for wrong purposes that we will not do anything to recognize the purposes it was set up, let us evolved and pray with time people will not personalized governance again.
“Let us realize that the real purpose of being in government, first and foremost was not for ourselves but for the people we are to serve. I don’t see anything wrong in having state Police,
“I don’t see anything wrong in having local government system if properly run coming up with an agency that will ensure security in their places, after all, in our respective villages; the chiefs have means of ensuring their community, if anything is wrong, the chiefs will send for them.
“In most of our villages it is not the Police that secure the people, the Police are only there when these people apprehend the suspect, they hand over to them and what do they do it is not good to say, collect bail money and end up doing any other thing.
“My advice is that the primary purpose of government is to ensure the welfare of the people, once they fail in that, the government has failed they should take appropriate steps to ensure that there is security of lives and property..
“Each state has it peculiar security problem, so if the people in the south west have in their pro-active nature decided to take steps to ensure security of their environment, I give them kudos and nothing wrong constitutionally to protect yourself” he stated.