(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) – As the security situation in Nigeria becomes more worrisome, the citizens have been told that they have a right to self defense.
Speaking with notable Outcome in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, a former national president of Nigerian Bar Association, Hon. O.C.J. Okocha, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, noted that ”the law supports a citizen to defend himself.There is absolute exoneration.
“There is what we call the defense of self defence. Somebody came to kill or to destroy your house, and in reaction thereto, in defending yourself, the person died: your defence can be self defence”, adding that the law gives every Nigerian citizen absolute right to self defence with whatever you have.
Responding to a question, Hon. OCJ Okocha, SAN, observes that the way Nigeria police is set up, that it cannot provide security for the citizens.
He recalled that even after the creation of states in 1967, that commissioners of police were in charge of security matters in the states until the introduction of unitary government in Nigeria by the military.
The situation, according to the legal luminary is that, unless the Inspector General of Police intervenes, some cases might not even be investigated in the states and corruption has crept into the system.
The former commissioner for justice and attorney – general of Rivers State further said that he supports the call by the senate for the President to declare a state of emergency in the area of security in Nigeria, although he regrets the lack of visible corresponding action from the executive in that regard.
OCJ Okocha, SAN, fears that, unless radical steps are taken to check the deplorable decline in security, that citizens of Nigeria may resort to self help, especially against the background that it has become easy for people to get arms.
On the way forward, Okocha harps on the imperatives of total reorganization of the police force as it should be in a federation – along the line of the federating units. “You have to recruit competent security personnel, train them and adequately equip them, while reorganizing the security architecture in Nigeria”, he said.
This option, according to the senior advocate, has become more compelling because of the challenges of lack of coordination and supervision trailing community based vigilante groups in a state like Rivers State, as well as the emergent threat of killer Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria.