I Know Ex-Governor Who Had Killer Squad – Femi Falana
Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has declared that he knows a governor from the South-West geopolitical region who allegedly had a killer squad while in office.
Falana made the revelation while speaking at the maiden memorial public lecture in honour of the late Professor Olumuyiwa Awe at the University of Ibadan on Monday.
He, however, did not disclose the name of the former governor.
According to the human rights lawyer, the killer squad was purportedly headed by a police officer, who was the Chief Security Officer to the then governor.
He stated that one of the victims of the killer squad was a World Bank official, whose name he also did not mention.
Falana stated that while the fear of some Nigerians concerning the use of state police by the governors is genuine, he, however, maintained that the establishment of such security outfit remains the best solution to resolve Nigeria’s security problems.
He said, “Many citizens are opposed to the creation of state police for the fear that it may be used to haunt political opponents of some state governors. I know a state governor in the South-West who once had a killer squad headed by his Chief Security Officer, a police officer.
“One of the unarmed citizens mowed down by the illegal squad was a World Bank expert. All efforts to prosecute the suspects have been frustrated by the state government. The story is the same in a few other states in the country. To that extent the fear of the possible manipulation of state police is genuine.
“To avoid a situation whereby abuse of police powers is decentralized, any security service established by state governments should be democratically controlled. The service will be founded by the state governments and superintended by an independent state police council of five members. The members of the council should be accredited representatives of the state government, labour, women, youths and the business community.
“The service will police the state and see to the enforcement of all the laws enacted by the House of Assembly. The success of the civilian Joint Task Force in the counter-insurgency operations in Borno State has proved that the best way to police a country is to recruit, train and equip young men and women to operate in their own communities.
“The colonial practice of posting police personnel to operate outside their states or regions was meant to suppress and intimidate colonial subjects by strangers. It is a practice which has become counter-productive in a post-colonial state. Every police officer should operate in their community, speak the local language and mix freely with the people.”
The senior lawyer also urged the Oyo State government to respect the electoral process and allow the elected Oyo State council chairmen elected on May 12, 2018, to serve their tenure.
He insisted that the system of local government councils is by democratic elections, adding that caretaker committees are not recognised by the constitution.
“Once they had been elected they have to serve their tenure. And if you are not going to allow them to serve their tenure, you will have to pay them off; that is the position of the law,” he said.
However, Professor Lowo Oyewo, the Attorney General of Oyo State, disagreed with Falana, saying that constitutional democracy in Nigeria had a narrative that was unhealthy.
“It does not accommodate divergent logical views that can be analysed for the benefit of all of us. That narrative must change,” Oyewo said.