Senate, Wednesday raised the alarm that the Kogi state government has arbitrarily passed a law to run an illegally armed vigilante with the mandate to take over the police responsibility of protecting lives and property in the state.
This law said to be illegally enacted was also considered to have contravened the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and, in effect, undermined the constitutionally assigned security functions of the Nigeria Police Force.
The upper chamber, therefore, has mandated its committees on security and intelligence and the judiciary to meet with the National Security Adviser to disband the group.
These resolutions followed a point of order 42 and 52 raised by Senator Dino Melaye representing Kogi West wherein he reported that the Kogi state government has a plan to introduce state police through the back door.
In his explanation, he brought to the attention of the Senate that there was a law passed by the Kogi state government and signed by Governor Yahaya Bello.
He said the law talks about the establishment of the vigilante service group.
In his words, ‘Mr. President, I have a copy of the law here which is already a law of the Kogi State government. By the time I perused this law, this law is in conflict with the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’.
‘This law, Mr. President alters the function of the Nigeria Police as stipulated in section 214 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended’.
‘Mr. President, it is a fact that states can make laws through the state houses of Assembly as enshrined in section 4 of the1999 constitution as amended. But the laws they must make must not be in conflict with the provision of the constitution’.
‘Mr. President, I seek your indulgence to read a section of the law passed by Kogi state government. It says, the vigilante group will be involved in the detection and prevention of crime, the apprehension of criminal, the preservation of law and order, the protection of life and property, will assist other security and para-military agencies in the discharge of their duty, to assist other security agencies in government installation, to assist other security agencies in maintaining law and order in any economic, political and social gathering.
”There shall be a comptroller-general of vigilante services and, deputy comptroller-general of vigilante services”.
Melaye said the most affront on the constitution was in section 15 of that law. “The vigilante service group shall carry den guns, other guns and other light weapons that are commensurate with their duties and responsibilities”.
Melaye further reminded the hallowed chamber that this is how Boko Haram started. He said the group was being equipped to wreck havoc on innocent citizens.
He added that the group was already killing in many parts of the state.
He said, ‘there is record of killings in Okene, Adavi, Lokoja and that this group are already carrying Ak-47 and pump action guns in broad daylight.”
The lawmaker said this development has justified the reason why the state recently imported military uniforms and hardware. And also justified why military gadgets were imported by the state as sporting equipment.
He cited section 13 of the constitution, saying the law of Kogi state shall not override the constitution of the country.