Jamiu Ola Adedoyin is a Professor of Law, a seasoned administrator and present Dean, Faculty of Law at Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK). In this interview with DOMINIC AKPENSUEN, the don says government must trace the missing link to the way Native Authority managed security in Nigeria before the advent of colonial masters and sundry issues.
How can you assess Nigeria’s security situation?
Security issue in Nigeria is definitely a great problem, but my take is that we have not got it right; to be precise, before the coming of the colonial masters, the various ethnic societies had their own security arrangements. But when the Europeans came, they had to abolish the local security and introduced their own type of security system, which we have today, and their security system and structure have taken us to the problem that we find ourselves today.
How can you access INEC and the judiciary?
As a professor of Law, the judiciary has tried its best, and as far as electoral laws are concerned, the judiciary has tried to uphold everything containing in the electoral laws. But before our electoral laws, INEC was doing very well.
The question is, who is saddled with the responsibility to interpret the law? We have three arms of government: the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. Looking at the judiciary from 1979 to 1993 and the aborted Third Republic, there had been the issue of qualification before one could stand for election. INEC had some form of power to decide on candidate’s qualification. But with the coming of the electoral laws, most issues bordering on qualification are channelled to the judiciary. Before 1999, those who contested for elective positions but had issues against them, were channelled to INEC, because INEC was in charge. Now issues concerning qualification and disqualification are being given to political parties. So if there is anything wrong with that it is the court that will decide on the matter. Whether an individual is qualified or not qualified, the electoral body has no say. The only option left for it is to obey court orders.
Why are Nigerians clamouring for community policing
The issue of state policing should be encouraged because there is no way we can do away with it. In fact, it is the reason why the current state of insecurity has gone to where it is now. If a particular community brings in a security officer who is not familiar with the community, such person has to enquire from members of the community before starting his or her work. But if you involve people from the community that know every nook and cranny of the community and know the community members, he can get to the roots of security matters.
What should government do to check the rising crime waves?
It is not that government has failed. Looking at the police in particular and their number in relation to the population of Nigeria, which is about 200 million, security personnel are inadequate. So government has to balance the equation. The federal government has to recruit more police personnel. The current recruitment is not coping with the demand of the society. The Nigeria Police have done their best, so what they need now is the complementing efforts of state police.
What advice do you have for those calling for the sack of security chiefs?
Nigerians are calling for the sack of security chiefs, but I think there is no way the security chiefs can leave now because we are in the period of war. There is no part of the country that is not experiencing insecurity. We only know that insecurity in the North-East is very high because of the insurgency. The South-South is just recovering from its own experience. The South-West have with their own. And it is not only insurgency that is troubling the country. There are armed robbery, kidnapping and all manner of social vices. Although, I am not of the opinion that the chiefs should not be changed, but I don’t call for their removal now.
How can traditional institution be put to best use?
I have said it earlier that it was the influence of the colonial masters that let us into where we are now and what we are experiencing today.