from OKORO CHINEDU in Lagos, Nigeria
LAGOS, (CAJ News) – THE constant fights between government agencies tasked with maintaining security, law and order and fighting corruption in Nigeria are a cause for concern.
The latest to butt heads are the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Nigeria Police Force.
This follows the mysterious death of popular rap musician, Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba, also known as MohBad, last month.
Last Friday the Lagos state police command, which is investigating the death, claimed it was yet to get a response from the NDLEA on social media allegations bordering on the alleged arrest and detention of the late artiste by NDLEA.
The anti-drugs agency however argued its response was sent and received by the police on September 28.
Femi Babafemi, Director of Media and Advocacy at NDLEA, also dismissed as unsubstantiated the allegation on social media the deceased artiste was arrested and detained by NDLEA on February 24 and “given a substance to drink.”
“In response to this allegation, we wish to state categorically that MohBad was never arrested nor was he ever detained in the custody of the NDLEA on the said date or any other date before or after. The foregoing being the case, the issue of giving him any substance to drink does not arise,” Babafemi said.
The differences between these state agencies come hot on the heels of a spat between the police and the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS).
Comments attributed to Lagos Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alabi, that custodial centres had been turned to a “training ground” for hardened criminals angered the NCoS.
The fallout went public, as are previous ones when issues ought to be resolved diplomatically.
“This assertion is rather unfortunate, misleading and unprofessional coming from a senior law enforcement officer who should have correctional literacy and give credence to the excellent and exceptional services being provided by the NCoS,” charged Rotimi Oladokun, NCoS Public Relations Officer for Lagos.
He alleged the sentiments attributed to the police chief had the tendency to reinforce prejudice and discrimination against former inmates which could lead to unintended consequences of recidivism and fuel crimes.
“Belonging to the same family of administration of criminal justice, crime prevention and management is a shared and complimentary responsibility by various stakeholders which can be made more effective and efficient by mutual respect, synergy and collaboration amongst the respective law enforcement agencies,” Oladukan said.
But the “mutual respect, synergy and collaboration” among these agencies remains elusive.
There has also been a long running rivalry between the Department of State Services (DSS) and other agencies, most recently the NCoS.
In July, there was a physical altercation outside a court between officers of the two agencies over the detention of the under-probe, suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele.
A magistrate ruled he was to be kept in the custody of the NCoS, not the DSS which had arrested him. DSS defied the court order and took him away from police officers.
In May, a day after President Bola Tinubu was sworn into office, DSS barricaded the Lagos offices of another government agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and denied officers of the latter entry.
Both agencies share the compound.
Also in July, DSS came under criticism for reportedly raiding the offices of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), both government agencies.
DSS officers reportedly took away certain files of some individuals under investigation for corruption.
The agencies ought to be channeling such energies towards the rising insecurity in Africa’s largest nation, with a population estimated at 225 million.
Nigeria is facing terror by kidnappers and Islamist groups.
– CAJ News