SENATE President, David Achelenu Mark is angry with the state of insecurity in the country. He is proposing undemocratic solutions — anathemas to his exalted position as leader of Nigeria’s legislative business.

“The way I see it, if we can declare a state of emergency on power, we should declare a state of emergency on kidnapping. We should declare a state of emergency in all these areas where we have armed robbery and kidnapping.

“If we can declare a state of emergency on power, we should do it for kidnapping and then armed robbery,” he told his colleagues as debates raged on the state of insecurity around Nigeria.

“There is no reason why the Commissioner of Police should be sitting on his seat if there is kidnapping on daily basis in his state. It means they have failed. It is their primary responsibilities.  None of us here can go and do their jobs for them.
“That is what they are paid to do, to make sure that there is safety,” Senator Mark said.

Mark can be extremely forgetful. Did the state of emergency declared on electricity improve supply? Was it not mere stringing of words?

One of the albatrosses of our democracy is that its operators excuse themselves from real issues and set standards of comfort for themselves.

The Senate President at least has a new standard for appraising performance in public office. Those who fail should resign. We may just start from the National Assembly, where legislators spend most of the time appropriating resources to themselves and fail to make laws for the common good.

His suggestion that extra-judicial means should be used in dealing with a failure of the security system is undemocratic and would result in more abuses than the ones held against security agencies.

“Presently, it is simply a jungle environment and rule must change to conform to those who operate in jungle environment and I believe that the security agencies should be able to do that. Personally, in the situation of jungle environment, where we want to apply rule of law, it could be very difficult indeed at times. Those who are involved must be handled in such a way that they will never contemplate it in life again.”

Solutions are important and they need to be immediate but they must be just. Years ago when Mark as Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Police toured police formations, nothing was done about the lengthy report of his committee that detailed the deficiencies of the police.

It is not too late to revisit the report because it has some answers to the state of insecurity today.

While he is at it, one of the things Senator Mark has to learn is to be more sober about his utterances, particularly the ones that he makes as the presiding officer of the National Assembly.

Nigeria might have become a jungle through years of negligence and poor governance, but there is no solution in applying the jungle justice Mark proposed.


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