Ozekhome Blasts FG Over Magodo Estate, Zamfara Killings
Human rights lawyer, Dr. Mike Ozekhome has rebuked the federal government for resorting to brute force in the handling of the Magodo Estate issue between the Lagos State Government and the estate owners.
The constitutional lawyer gave the scathing criticism while appearing recently as a guest on THISDAY Live Talkshow on Arise News Channel.
He said the Magodo incident where a Chief Superintendent of Police Abayomi Oyewole, openly refused to take order from Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, only threw up the option of having state police in the country.
He noted that the 1999 Constitution and section 105 of the 1963 Constitution, empowers the four regions to have regional police while the federal government operated a central police.
Historically, he said state police began in 1861 when the colonial government set up a local constabulary police Force under Mr. Foot.
Ozekhome asserted that the Magodo tussle could have been resolved without one organ of government trying to show brute force.
He said the action of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakqr Malami did not advance democracy and democratic tenets, saying the minister rather employed force over a matter that was determined nine years ago by the Supreme Court.
“Before going there did the AGF use rapprochement or diplomatic engineering by calling the Governor to enquire about the enforcement but suddenly decided to move in the police because he is in control of police under sections 214 and 215 of the 1999 Constitution,” he added.
He insisted there was nowhere in the 2012 ruling of the Supreme Court did the apex court order the dislodgement of the present Magodo occupants from the land.
“It was even a wrong interpretation that did not say they should go and dislodge the present occupants from that land. It was a wrong interpretation. The Supreme Court said the Sangisha land owners, whose lands that were originally taken by Lagos State government and given to Magodo residents should have the first option of choosing from any allocation or reallocation by the governor.
“What this has, therefore, done is to throw up the issue of state police and community police to give power to the people. Allowing state police and bringing about community police will bring allow the people to know themselves. Crime will also be easily detected,” Ozekhome said.
The lawyer flayed the federal government of abusing the police when Justice Kolawole of the then Federal High Court, now of the Federal Court of Appeal gave an order that leader of Shiites sect, Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife be released from prison and a house be built for them if they were deemed dangerous.
“Did the AGF and federal government respect that court order? Of course not, because the police was in their hand and nobody could deploy any agency to enforce that judgment. Then again, federal government disobeyed order in the case of Dasuki.
“Why is the federal government selective in the observance of the rule of law when it matters to them? What is the interest of the AGF in trying to enforce a 2012 judgment of the Supreme Court? Did they read the wordings and import of that judgment? If you read it there was no place where the court said they should go and take over Magodo Estate,” he said.
Also, he criticised President Muhammadu Buhari for not rising to his responsibility to defend the citizens in the Zamfara killing of over 200 people by bandits led by Bello Turji.
“With all respect to Mr. President, if that was his best, he has not done enough. There is mayhem going on across the country. He is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. The bulk stops on his table.
“One of the greatest signs of a failed state is when non-state actors like Boko Haram dictate the pace of security to a legitimate actor like the military and police. That is surest signs of a failed state. It means the government is not in a position to put them under control.
“If Mr President, with this performance and sad picture that is grotesque, believes he has done his best, l think it is our duty to let him he has not done his best,” Ozekhome declared.