Barristers & Solicitors
Adamawa: Lawyer, CSOs demand overhaul of police, DSS
DSS and NPF logos

Following the electoral heist in Adamawa State which led to the illegal declaration of Hajia Aishatu Dahiru fondly called Binani, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress as the winner by the State’s Resident Electoral Commissioner, Hudu Ari; some eminent Nigerians have called for a total overhaul of the Nigeria Police Force as well as the Department of State Services.

While many Nigerians called for the disgraced REC’s prosecution; they equally faulted the role of the police and DSS, both of whom provided security for Ari while he went about his illegal duty in the North-Eastern State of Adamawa.

Human rights activist and Constitutional lawyer, Mike Ozekhome lamented the role of the DSS in aiding Mr Ari who usurped the powers of the Returning Officer, Mohammed Mele, adding that men of the secret police have become politicized in the past few years.

“There is a need to overhaul the DSS which is supposed to be our super secret agency. It has however become so politicized and so corrupted that it has become an agency for the highest bidder. What is its business with staying at election venues?” he asked.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria also spoke of the police this way: “The Nigeria Police? No need to comment on this institution. I may go vulgar,” he added.

Also speaking, a pro-democracy advocate and President, Women Arise, Joe Okei-Odumakin however has a slightly different perspective on the issue.

While she agreed that the two agencies need to be re-organised for maximum service delivery, Okei-Odumakin came short of saying that neither the police nor the DSS was to blame for Ari’s misconduct.

“Yes, the re-conceptualising of law enforcement in Nigeria is long overdue.

Yet, that is a distinct proposition from the Adamawa debacle. The policemen and DSS officials who protected Ari were doing their jobs. They were not to determine when to expose him to danger over his right or wrong conduct.

“They were not to interpret electoral laws. We should not be so overtaken by emotions that we confuse law enforcement with adjudication.

For a more important purpose than Adamawa, Nigeria at this time must have a State Police system and the DSS should be the federal police in the FBI fashion,” she said.

In his contribution, Executive Director of the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, Emmanuel Onwubiko said, “It is not only because of the Adamawa State political brouhaha that calls for the reforms and overhaul of the security forces. The Adamawa situation is just a small part of the reason.

“The main reason for the immediate and comprehensive overhaul of these security agencies is because they have failed for over a decade to prevent terror attacks against Nigeria. The security forces including Customs and Immigration services have been compromised since 2015 and are allowing importers of illegal weapons from Niger, Chad, and Cameroon to maintain the inflow of arms and weapons of mass destruction into the country.

“So, the Adamawa situation is just one fraction out of the whole reasons that make it imperative that the DSS, the police and all security forces are reformed and personnel audits and overhauls carried out to weed out compromised officials making it impossible for criminal elements and terrorists to be crushed.