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Insecurity: Onjeh urges Tinubu to consider LG, judicial autonomy alongside state police



A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and former senatorial candidate of Benue South, Daniel Onjeh, has urged President Bola Tinubu to consider granting autonomy to local government and the judiciary.

Onjeh, in a statement issued on Saturday, also backed the calls for the creation of state police, which he said will tackle the insecurity in some parts of the country.

Onjeh, former Chairman of the Governing Board of PRODA, Enugu, argued that granting autonomy to local governments would enable them to grasp and tackle the distinct security challenges within their jurisdictions. According to him, local government autonomy entails furnishing the third tier of government with the necessary financial resources and legal frameworks to establish robust local security agencies at district and municipal levels, mirroring the practices in the United States and facilitating proactive community policing initiatives.

“When local government area councils invest the resources accruing from their autonomy into community projects, they not only generate employment opportunities for the vast unemployed youth populace but also alleviate the hardships and despondency that render them susceptible to the influence of criminal gangs, bandits, and terrorist factions. This concerted effort towards mass employment holds the potential to curtail insecurity nationwide,” Onjeh emphasised.

He further noted that the erosion of local government autonomy in Nigeria stemmed from a 2002 Supreme Court ruling, which coincided with a surge in insecurity across the nation.

Underscoring the crucial role of an impartial and efficient judiciary in upholding the rule of law and deterring criminal activities, Onjeh advocated for judicial autonomy devoid of undue political influence and executive meddling. He asserted that such autonomy would ensure expeditious and equitable dispensation of justice, instilling a sense of security and accountability among citizens.

He averred that these measures would assuage citizens’ concerns about governors exploiting state police forces to suppress dissenting voices. He stressed the potential of empowered youths to aid security forces in thwarting criminal elements.

While acknowledging the imperative of addressing root causes such as poverty, unemployment, and a lack of opportunities to tackle insecurity, the APC stalwart urged the Federal Government to invest in community empowerment programmes, particularly in rural areas, to diminish vulnerabilities conducive to criminal activities.

“The 9th Senate made significant strides in advancing the causes of local government, state police, and judicial autonomy, only to be stymied by the governors. However, with the recent endorsement of state police creation by all governors, we stand at a turning point. We must make the necessary sacrifices to steer Nigeria back on track,” Onjeh declared.