The leadership of One Love Foundation(OLF) recently set up a legal Policy Think Tank to fight for the Independence of the Judiciary, Legislature and Local Government Autonomy.
The Think Tank consists of lawyers, humans rights activists and journalists, and in this interview, OLF president, Chief Patrick Eholor throws more light on the reasons why the legal /human rights team was set up.
He also speaks out against the recent attacks against security agencies and agents in the South East and South South, especially the burning of Police stations, killing of officers and stealing of their guns and ammunition. He also reveals how his organization, OLF can help the IPOB in its fight against Federal Government, especially with regards to extra judicial killings.
Why we set up a think thank to sue the Governments to mandate them to give full autonomy to the judiciary,the legislature and the local governments
It is clearly defined in the separation of powers that they are independent. If the judiciary is not independent, that means that the government will keep dictating and usurping more powers to itself. There is a very funny law that says that anything more than a million naira coming into the coffers of the judiciary must be paid into the state government purse. And the state government will now redirect it to them, but that’s basically fraud. It means that the state governors put the judiciary on its knees for them to get the money.
So whatever the governors want them to do is what they will do, because he who pays the piper dictates the tune. When I see these things, I don’t like it, that’s why I have organized lawyers of repute, with Barrister Akahome as chairman, and Barrister Ugbonkwa is going to be the secretary. Forgive me if I don’t mention the other lawyers because they are coming out as a surprise.
So you see local governments and you don’t see them function because they are solely dependent on the state governors. We also want to discuss that. We also want to discuss the idea of the police in future. We want to know those who police us, because you cannot continue to have a police officer from the north be a Commissioner in Edo State. This is because they don’t come from here, don’t know the terrain, and so cannot fight crime effectively.
So we want to make sure that when you post a Commissioner to the north, he should be one who understand the north, and this will reduce the criminality.
We also want to take the Federal Government to court about policing. The police are underpaid, they are not trained, and so we want to make sure they are well trained, and well paid. We want to make sure there are forensic laboratories in every divisional police station, there are cameras for mugshots, there are recorders to take notations and have records. They should have archives in the computer. We are living in the 21st century, we must make sure these things are organized. The same thing is applicable to the Ministries. There is no country today where the security doesn’t use computers, or who are not computer dependent.
So there’s a lot of issues we want to bring into spotlight.
The Eastern Security Network, IPOB and the attacks on policemen, killings, etc
My fear is that I hope this doesn’t lead to a civil war. I condemn with every effort in me, anyone that kills the police, because police are out there to protect lives and property, to ensure that we sleep very peacefully. So anyone who goes after police is going against humanity.
But I also condemn extrajudicial killings, and that’s why I said there are good cops and there are bad cops, all over the world. And again, that’s why we must leave this on the board- the IPOB should come out and complain if there has been any extrajudicial killing, and we will take the police to court.
They should cry out and the likes of us will amplify their cries, go to court and make sure that whoever is responsible is brought to book and pay the price for killing any IPOB member. But if the federal government is playing a blind eye to it, that could also provoke the IPOB to start taking retaliatory measures, which I do not prescribe to, because that can lead to a state of anarchy.
So, before it escalates, before it leads to what happened to Boko Haram, we should nip it in the bud, to avoid another crises.
Proliferation of arms among civilians and breakdown of law and order
That tells you the failure of Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. Whether the police are dying, whether IPOB members are dying, Buhari is fully responsible for the failure of the security in the state, as well the failure of the state governors. It’s enshrined in our constitution that the government is going to protect lives and property, and they are not doing that. So, we the citizens also have the right to take them to court, because they have failed to carry out what is enshrined in our constitution.
You will agree with me that the members of the House of Reps and Senate have failed abysmally. We have never had it so bad like this. I honestly think that’s by now, what has happened in the east, north, south and west, is enough for them to wake up and rise up, to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari. Whatever is happening now is an impeachable offense.