Insecurity: Striking the Iron Before it Freezes, Whose Duty?
Without sentiment, what seems glaring in Nigeria nowadays is the total insecurity which has immersed every part of the regions that form Nigeria as a whole. Iniquitous acts like killing, maiming, looting, kidnapping, robbery and banditry, just to mention but a few, keep happening in the country as a result of the failure to strike the iron at the right time when it is seemly to do so.
These acts of insecurity, having pervaded the Northern part of the country, surreptitiously found their ways into every nook and cranny of the Western part of the country, putting the societies in state of unrest and pandemonium. These iniquitous acts are queer, atypical and not befitting the communities. A typical example was the way the herdsmen had laid siege to Soro forest in Igbeti, Kishi and Igboho axis before their action was eventually foiled by the military. A drastic steps and approaches were taken by the communities leaders, local security men and Nigerian forces with the help of State Government in curbing the menace.
However, the talks which have caused divisiveness among the people and the question which is begging for answers, is whether apprehending or impeding the dismay incidents and exercising the executive control and order on security is the duty of the Governor or individual?
Nigeria is a country made up of an ethnically heterogeneous population with the various ethnic groups having their own peculiar values, norms, beliefs, standards, and occupations. What is apparently peculiar to Yoruba tribes is that they are agrarian in nature and this is part and parcel of us from antiquity, while the distinguished peculiarity of the ancient Fulanis is nomadic. Without mincing words, in the late 90s to early 2000s, there was little or no rift between the farmers and herdsmen in carrying out their occupations talkless of infringing on individual rights. However, there has been gross conflicts between the farmers and the herdsmen as the latter keeps infringing upon the rights of the former from the late 2000s upward. The herders remain adamant to change cause and embarked on killing, kidnapping, destruction of farm products, and extortion of money, goods and properties from the Aboriginal and indigenes of the communities.
These as well as other infinitesimal issues led to the crusade and agitation for the evacuation of Fulanis from the Western part as they have refused to be acquiescent and their actions are becoming unbearable in the communities. Therefore, an ultimatum to leave was given to the Fulanis at Igangan, Ayete in Ibarapa North local Government Area of Oyo State.
It is with respect to this, that I peer into the Constitutionality or otherwise of the action, inaction and reaction.
First and foremost, every citizen of Nigeria enjoys fundamental rights which are guaranteed by the Constitution of Nigeria. The provision of section 41 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (hereafter CFRN) is to the effect that every citizen of the country has the right to move freely and reside in any part of the country. However, we should not forget that this rights can be derogated from and restricted on, in the interest of defence, public safety, public order etc as contained in section 45 of the CFRN, especially, when others right to life, personal liberty, dignity, freedom of movement have been grossly and gravely violated.
In other words, the Fulanis have rights of movement and not to talk of the fact that they are nomadic by nature. However, in exercising this right, they have stepped on and violated the rights of other people by trespassing on their farm land, maiming, looting, kidnapping, raping and other miscellaneous vices, especially in the south-western part of the nation. These among other infinite anomalies led to frustrating propulsion and made individual to sort for self-help so as to knock off the wanton violence perpetrated on the land because the government has not taken a swift and drastic actions.
It is as a result of this fact, that a question has been lingering in the atmosphere on who has the duty to foil the atrocities and insecurities in our communities. Without doubt, our Constitution is regarded as the grund norm for its validity prevails over other laws. Base on this, the control and order of security are vested in the Executive (section 5 [1-2] of the CFRN) to exercise the power judiciously, cautiously and conscientiously. It is as a result of the failure to do the needful swiftly that made the people to resort to self-help.
In conclusion, the Constitution guarantees and protects the human rights of the individual in Nigeria, and it must be exercised without infringing upon other people’s rights. Lastly, the power to strike the iron of insecurities resides in the Executive (President or Governor as the case may be). Therefore, it should exercise this power swiftly in order to save its subjects.