The political crises in Kogi state have taken a new dimension with the Nigerian Senate commencing a major investigation into an allegation by Dino Melaye that Governor Yahaya Bello has been illegally arming a local vigilante group.
The Senate has invited the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami, General Mohammed Monguno and National Security Adviser (NSA) over a new law created by the Kogi state House of Assembly which aims at creating and equipping a vigilante service that has similar powers with the police.
Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, in his remarks, said since the upper chamber was not in possession of a copy of the law passed in Rivers State, lawmakers should restrict themselves to the Kogi issue. Mr. President, I have that law here, it's already a law of the Kogi state government. "By the time I perused this law, this law is in conflict with the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria". This law alters the functions of the Nigeria Police as stipulated in section 214 of the constitution.
"Mr. President, it is a fact that state can make laws through the Houses of Assembly as enshrined in section 4 of the constitution but the law they will make must not be in conflict with the provisions of the constitution".
"Mr. President, the most affront on the constitution is in section 15 of that law which says the vigilante Service Group shall carry dane guns, other guns and other light weapons that are commensurate with their duties and responsibilities". "We should always confine ourselves to the issues at hand so that we will not water down the issue".
"There shall be a comptroller-general of vigilante services and, deputy comptroller-general of vigilante services". My people told me that they are not comfortable with the plan to withdraw arms from vigilante groups. I will give you Anambra State for example. It was set up to tackle the insecurity in the state. There was an order from the IGP recently that small arms be withdrawn from vigilante groups. "While we condemn vigilante groups in some states, others should be allowed to stay". We have to be careful when doing this. The law gives the governor the power to control this group. This is not a Kogi problem. Let us engage these people and understand what they are trying to achieve.
"Our constitution does not now support the creation of state security forces. If we allow this kind of thing to go on Rivers State, we can not tell where this will lead to", Abe had advocated. "If we allow this kind of thing to go on Rivers State, we can not tell where this will lead to".