Elder statesman and Chairman of the Northern Elders’ Forum, Prof Ango Abdullahi, who is also a former Vice-Chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, tells OLALEYE ALUKO about the worsening state of insecurity in the North, the zoning and power rotation arrangement between the North and South, among other issues.
The Presidency has blamed some traditional rulers for the worsening state of insecurity especially banditry in the North, do you agree with that assertion?
Are traditional rulers in charge of Nigeria’s soldiers, police and other security agencies? Why are monarchs being accused of not being able to stop banditry and other security problems? It is just a clear indication of the failure which I referred to in the statement I issued some days ago. For a long time now, we have been calling them out so that the masses will realise that this is a failed government; and we didn’t hide it before now.
We said so and we gave reasons why we talked and insisted that this (Muhammadu) Buhari’s government did not worth re-electing. But Nigerians re-elected it and, as such, I don’t see why they should be complaining now. So I don’t know what the problem is. They (the government) have to find scapegoats. They have to find people to blame for failing to do their work. If you look at the constitution, traditional rulers are not meant to be in charge of our security. Are they? We know those who the chief security officers are and what instruments they have in their hands. Traditional rulers are not listed as officers under the constitution of this country. They can probably be asked for advice; and even on that, it is only on matters bordering on traditional issues. In my statement on Sunday, my points were very straightforward and I think there is no doubt.
Do you think state governors from other regions of the country should also set up a regional or community policing outfit like the Amotekun in the South-West?
If you read the law, state governors are loosely referred to as the chief security officers of their states. If you go into the nitty-gritty of who actually does security works, won’t you refer to the police and the army? The Police Commissioner in a state will not take instruction from the governor without referring to the Inspector-General of Police. So, it is really not the state governor that is effectively in charge of security matters in the state. Therefore, it is still the Police High Command that is responsible. As far as I am concerned, it is a loose talk to say that somebody is in charge of security – whether at the state or local government levels – when he is really not in command or in charge of the security apparatus in the state. On it (Amotekun), what have they (the governors) done? This is something that is always pronounced on paper. But we know that when the chips are down, those who are officially supposed to handle insecurity are the police. In fact, what perhaps they (the governors) are saying is that they are willing to assist the security agencies operating in their states in as many ways as possible. But they cannot with the current situation take over the duties of the army, police and so on. No, they cannot. It will just lead to more complications in the way things are being run in this country.