–      Calls For Strong Regional Vigilante Against Criminals In South East

Human rights activist and vocal commentator on topical issues, Chief Barrister Ifeanyi Olumba has warned that until genuine democracy is entrenched in the present system, Nigeria might be heading towards imminent break-up.

The former Chairman, Imo Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) Management Board stated this in Owerri, the Imo State Capital, while fielding questions from newsmen on the present state of affairs in the country.

Saddened by what he described as the colossal failure of a nation state, Barr. Olumba said that virtually every segments of our national life is sick, from head to toe, adding that only genuine democracy that guarantees freedom of choice would heal the land.

He lamented that Nigeria, once a prosperous and peaceful nation is today in steady decline, amidst fear, anxiety, economic, social and political backwardness; hence happiness has given way to sorrow, and anxiety has become the norm, rather than the exception.

Asked to proffer solution to these national woes, the Owerri-based legal practitioner said that what he means by genuine democracy is the type that is entrenched in rule of law, independence of the Judiciary, press freedom, separation of powers as enshrined in the Nigeria constitution, and the will to enforce and execute them.

Olumba maintained that rule of law is very important in any democracy because it gives confidence to both the government and the governed. He also noted that today, highly placed individuals, especially those within the corridors of power do not obey court orders, or ruling by courts of competent jurisdiction.

The Judiciary, he said, has been castrated and made impotent, hence there is confusion in the land, adding that if the Judiciary is independent, justice would flow like the rivers of water.

He described press freedom as an essential ingredient of democracy as people cannot govern themselves without the necessary free flow of Information.

On the separation of powers, as enshrined in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as commended, Barr. Olumba said that the essence of the separation of powers, is for one arm of government to check the excesses of the other, but was quick to add that today other arms of government have abdicated their constitutional responsibilities by making themselves appendages of the executive. Hence they allow slackness to go unnoticed.

On the insinuation making the rounds that the present legislative assemblies are clubs of puppets, who lack sound knowledge of law – making, and over-sight, Chief Olumba said, it is because they allowed those they are supposed to check to checkmate them, thereby, becoming rubber stamp Legislature.

He also attributed the scenario to wrong choice, as most of them are there on their own because no body voted for them.

The human rights activist noted that the greatest problem facing Nigeria today is worsening insecurity, as places hitherto regarded as safe heavens, like the Federal Capital territory, Abuja have now been invaded and overrun by criminal elements who are killing, abducting, kidnapping for ransom and committing other attrocity acts, – the rich and powerful are not exempted in their escapade, adding that in Nigeria no one is now safe.

This he said has forced many Nigerians to relocate to nearby countries, to avoid being abducted or even killed.

On whether their escapades have overwhelmed the powers – that be, Chief Olumba said, it seems, but they still have to rise up to the occasion and protect the people.

He commended the South-West regional vigilante group, the “AMOTEKUN” for their efforts and giant strides in checkmating criminality in the entire South-West region, and Nigeria at large.

Olumba gave post humous kudos to the late Governor of Ondo state, Rotimi Akeredolu for his dexterity and political will in combating criminality during his time.

He called on the South-East Governors to rise up to the challenge by setting up a strong and formidable, vigilante outfit that will comb all the forest areas in the region and smoke out all criminal elements that pose as cattle rearers and hardsmen.