… as NBA President decries spate of insecurity
…We’re proposing the establishment of Office of the Public Defender, says Makinde
By Adeola Badru
As the Nigerian state has been bedevilled by poverty and unemployment, the Federal Government has been urged to perform her constitutional functions of providing her with the citizenry, especially the youths with the basic needs of lives, especially employment through which food could be put on the table of the masses in order to tackle insecurity.
Also, the President of, Nigerian Bar Association, Olumide Akpata, decried the spate of insecurity and other challenges bedevilling the country.
A former governor of Imo State, Sen. Rochas Okorocha, gave the admonition in Ibadan while speaking at the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Spidel annual conference, held at Jogor Centre, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
Speaking on the theme: “The Imperatives of Public Interest in Governance in Nigeria,” Okorocha noted that poverty ravaging the citizens of Nigeria has become devastating, as it has grown to its climax.
According to him, the high rate of youth unemployment in Nigeria is sending a signal that the Nigerian state is sitting on a time bomb that could explode at any point in time if the menace is not quickly addressed.
He equally advised the government to rule based on people’s interest and devoid of personal interest.
His words: “The blame game must stop, leaders must take responsibility. This nation is ours, it makes it incumbent on us to take responsibility.”
“There is a co-relationship between poverty and insecurity. For as long as these two issues are not holistically addressed, there is no way out,” Okorocha observed.
The President of, Nigerian Bar Association, Olumide Akpata, decried the spate of insecurity and other challenges bedevilling the country.
The NBA president said the insecurity was an indication of government failure at all levels.
He lamented that the fight against terrorism has suffered a setback with the death of Chief of Army Staff, Ibrahim Attahiru.
“The NBA has followed with great concern the deteriorating state of internal security and the gradual erosion of monopoly of the Nigerian State over the use of force and arms. All over the country, hapless Nigerians are being killed, abducted, or maimed with reckless abandon. From the East to the West, and from the North to the South, we are faced with the grim picture of a country under siege and tottering at the edge of the precipice. Illustrative examples abound.
“In the Northern part of the country, especially the North East, while the security agencies continue to analyse the veracity of the widely reported clash between Boko Haram and their ISWAP counterparts, which has led to the reported death of the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau as well as its implications for the security situation in Nigeria, the reality on the ground is that the war on terrorism and insurgency continues to rage.
In recent weeks, terrorists have taken their attacks to a new deadly dimension, ransacking villages in the region, and stamping their authority. We read of the disturbing attack a few Sundays ago, on a military base in Mainok, Borno State, leading to the death of 30 soldiers. A few weeks ago, Boko Haram militants reportedly attacked.
“Unfortunately the war against terror recently suffered a major setback with the death of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Ibrahim Attahiru and 10 other gallant officers of the Nigerian Army and Airforce who died in a plane crash on Friday 21st May 2021. While we pray for their souls to rest in peace, the best way to honour their memories will be to ensure that they did not die in vain and this can only be done by ensuring a total victory over terrorism and insurgency in Nigeria”.
“I dare say that this precarious state is indicative of the failure of governance at all levels which had been long in coming but has become exacerbated by the day”.
“While there is a role for the citizens and civil society groups in that process, the bulk of the responsibility rests on the shoulders of government to tackle the problems head-on. While efforts have admittedly been made, these have clearly not been satisfactory.
“Governments at all levels must take charge and deliver on the most important mandate of their offices: the protection of lives and properties. They must restore the faith of Nigerians in the social contract that the citizens have with the Government. Indeed, they must govern in the Public Interest”.
On his part, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State who declared the conference opened, said the role of public interest is crucial in achieving good governance.
Makinde said: “The Role of Public Interest in Governance in Nigeria. Today in Nigeria, everyone wants good governance. But the methods of achieving it seem to keep eluding us. When it comes to the relationship between public interest and governance, things get even trickier.”
“For example, getting the balance right regarding availability of information in the public interest and classified information that should not be in the public domain. We are living in an age where people are demanding more from those in authority. Citizens are calling for greater transparency and accountability, and they are demanding more inclusiveness. I hope that we would have moved several steps closer to finding that balance at the end of your deliberations.”
“I will refer to one of the actions our administration has taken to defend public interest and make legal aid available to indigent citizens. Our Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof Oyelowo Oyewo, transmitted an executive bill to the Oyo State House of Assembly proposing the establishment of the Office of the Public Defender.”