Call For Peace Does Not Displace Order

By Kazeem Olaleka
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Many reactions have trailed the eviction order that was given to the Fulanis occupying a particular area at the Igangan area of Oyo State by one Sunday Igboho. And, many of the reactions have been against the executive Governor of the State, Engr. Seyi Makinde who declared in his Statewide broadcast on 20th January, 2021 that the eviction order should be disregarded while calling on the Police authority in the State to conduct investigation into the immediate and remote causes of the crisis in that area in finding a lasting practical solution to what is gradually becoming a bad-blood between the host community and the Fulani visitors.

It would be agreed that the duty of the Police as clearly stated in the Police Act include but not limited to crime detection and prevention. And, in all sincerity, the Governor has done well as the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the State (Section 5 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) in averting unnecessary civil war by discrediting the eviction notice while encouraging everyone to maintain calm. I believe that as a Governor, he is not expected under any guise either to tacitly or openly support the agitation being spearheaded by Sunday Igboho because such is capable of breaching public order which will later make the State ungovernable for him (the Governor).

It cannot be gainsaid that the loss of trust and confidence in public institutions prompts the people to take matters of protection into their own hands which is actually not good for the continued existence of the country and also leading to a proliferation of self-protecting armed militia and cases of jungle justice in the society. Nonetheless, where there is a law, any order or act that is not in tandem with the provisions of such law is null and void. To this measure, we should refer to the provisions of the Constitution in Sections 5(2) and 176 which vests executive leadership in the State on the Governor and, as such, no matter how young, old, unintelligent or otherwise a Governor can be, he retains the sole right to make executive orders without prejudice to Section 5(3) (except when such orders are delegated to his Deputy). There is no provisions for such orders to be paralleled by anyone irrespective of social class in the State and, as such, a Chief or Kingmaker reserves no such executive power.

However, in ensuring that the ongoing agitation does not snowball into destruction of lives and properties as was witnessed in the Hausa/Yoruba crisis of Shagamu (1999) which later resulted in a reprisal on the Yorubas in Kano and also the Jos ethno-religious crisis of 2001 amongst others, the Government must as a matter of necessity and urgency prioritise accountability and access to justice for all victims and also address the conflicts between nomadic cattle breeders and their host-farming communities because, without justice, there can be no peace.

Kazeem Olalekan Israel writes from Ibadan, Nigeria.

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