Lawyers have advocated that states should be allowed to set up and operate their own police force, saying it was the only panacea to the prevailing insecurity in the land.
The lawyers under the aegis of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Eket Branch said collaboration between Federal and State police would rid the country of needless bloodshed.
Prof. Ernest Ojukwu (SAN) gave the remarks in his keynote address titled: ‘Prevailing Security Challenges in Nigeria: Is state police the answer?’ during the 2018 Bar Week.
According to Ojukwu, personnel of state police are likely to do better intelligence gathering and rapid response actions because they know the terrain, speak the local languages and probably know the criminals.
“Implementation of criminal reforms of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act will be difficult or impossible without a state controlled police,” he said.
Ojukwu said that state police would enhance the federal system of government, adding that a state police should not be watered down by the little challenges its implementation may pose.
“The challenges is how to fashion out a good model for the implementation of the state police model.
“The 2014 National Conference has proposed a workable model and this model must be critically reviewed to get the best.
“All states must be allowed to take their destiny in their hands and this is the best way for state to blossom,” he said.
Ojukwu added that the courts should be alive to their responsibility of safeguarding the Constitution and all citizens must be ready to abide by these constitutional provisions.
According to him, this will reduce conflicts on constitutional issues.
Also speaking, Barrister Emeka Obegolu, in a keynote address, entitled ‘Democratic Rule in Nigeria 1999-2018: Lessons and Challenges’, said that democracy works when holders of Executive or Presidential powers respect the decisions of courts.
He said the objective of the paper was to appraise democratic rule in Nigeria from 1999 to 2018, examination it’s benefits as well as challenges and proffer suggestions for a better democratic Nigeria.
Obegolu listed the challenges faced by democratic government as lack of enthronement and respect for rule of law, challenges in the conduct of free and fair elections, non-abiding to the rule of separation of power and corruption.
“On the corollary, the weakest link of the sort of distorted democracy that is practiced in Nigeria is the lack of obedience and compliance with court judgements and orders,
“Perhaps, due to the absence of strong institutional mechanisms for compelling the executive arm of government to play by the rule of the democratic norms.”
Justice Abraham, the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom, said the theme of the Bar week, ‘Law, Politics and National Development: The Role of Lawyers’ , was apt and most appropriate in view of the challenging times the people are passing through as a nation.
He said that the growing threat to the fundamental existence of the country often calls for a radical and pragmatic intervention by our judicial process.
Also speaking, Udoh Imeh, Chairman, NBA Eket Branch, said Eket Bar has produced the number two lawyer in the country, adding that a member of the General Council of the Bar and several members in different National Committee.