Enthrone Good Governance, Don’t Ban Civil Society- Issa Aremu



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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, reportedly called for ban of ethno-religious groups especially the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Jamatul Nasril Islam (JNI) and all such other groups in the country as a way of curbing insecurity in the country.  As attractive as this call on the ban of all these insular centrifugal forces namely JNI, CAN and others is, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) inadvertently has further increased the importance and indeed helped to increase the noise level of these organizations.

However, these non-state organizations are certainly not the problem.  The problem lies in the failure of legitimate state institutions to deliver on their promises namely; PHCN yet to deliver on uninterrupted power; Ministry of Trade and Investment with all its efforts still presides over factory closures (industrial mortuary) and smuggling; CBN whose monetary and fiscal policies with all the efforts of its governor are yet not industry-friendly.  Nigerian Custom service (with all its efforts) which still turns the nation’s borders to smuggling zones, Immigration services that hawks expatriate quotas to terrorists. Non-performing of state institutions are the real threat to security not non-state institutions that ape the bad behavior of state institutions.

In the task of nation-building, when the state’s institutions are not on duty, non-state institutions (progressive or reactionary alike) will always fill the void.  The issue therefore is for all state actors to deliver on promises and get reactionary non-state actors out of business.  State officials should also stop patronizing non-inclusive institutions.  President and governors alike should make policy pronouncements in their respective Houses of Assembly NOT in Churches and Mosques or their primordial village/clan organizations.

In any case, non-state actors like CAN, JNI have always been there from history of Nigeria and they will always be there in a democratic society.  It is undemocratic to call for the ban of these civil societies even when their methods and conduct are far from being civil.  However, when the Nigeria’s ruling class was committed to development agenda in the 60s and 70s, these institutions never had prominence nor assumed this notoriety.  They assumed notoriety today because we have now replaced development agenda with corruption agenda.  The issue is to return Nigeria to development path and put anti-democratic “religious” groups out of business.

NEW POLICE CODE OF CONDUCT

We salute the new leadership of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) led by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed D. Abubakar, CFR mni. for the successful launching of the new code of conduct for the Nigeria police force (NPF).  In particular, we commend the aspect of the code that calls for police neutrality in the event of any labour dispute and protest. Principle Six Rule b states inter alia that police officers shall “maintain a neutral position with regard to the merits of any labour dispute, political protest, or other public demonstration while acting in an official capacity; nor make endorsements of political candidates, while on duty, or in official uniform, nor in their private capacities, while remaining in the service of the Force”. In the past police men and women have been used to brutalize labour activities as witnessed during the January 2012 protest when some protesters were brutalized and even killed.

With this code of conduct, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) should stop taking side with government or oppressive employers during labour protests and industrial disputes.  In any case, what we have is the Nigeria police force (NPF), not federal executive police force, not state governors’ police force, not even employers’ police force.  The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) must therefore live up its name by ensuring the safety and security of all Nigerians, especially during protests.

PROSECUTE OLAITAN’S KILLERS

However, the real acid test for the new police code is the way the new leadership of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) urgently find and prosecute the murderers of late Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde, former Principal Private Secretary to Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who was also a Deputy General Secretary of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).  How Olaitan’s murder is resolved tests the sincerity of the new code of conduct.

Issa Aremu mni.

GENERAL SECRETARY, NUTGTWN/VICE PRESIDENT NLC


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