The Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice Munta Abimbola, on Tuesday stated that crime rate in the state is disturbing, not only because of the audacity of the criminals but also from the form and novel manner in which crime is being perpetrated.
Justice Abimbola stated this while receiving the Oyo State Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Iskilu Abiodun Akinsanya and other key officers of the command at the Conference Room of the state judiciary, High Court Complex, Ring Road, Ibadan.
The Chief Judge said the crisis between herdsmen and farmers in Oke Ogun area of the state is disheartening and volatile.
Abimbola explained that when some issues are politicised, they create problems that become too much to handle and such issues become a problem to the society. He added that he is encouraged by the mediating activities of the NSCDC in that zone of the state because such issues must be handled with care to foster peaceful coexistence.
The Chief Judge further stated that the judiciary deals with law and attested to the fact that the NSCDC is a constitutionally recognised organisation like the police and has the power to arrest, detain, investigate and institute proceedings on behalf of the Attorney General with or without warrant.
According to him, the NSCDC Act is more comprehensive than the police Act in terms of functions, adding that since exercise of any power has its origin in the law that gives it power, the Corp has a right to do its duty.
“The only thing is that procedure of arrest must be clearly defined in accordance with the law. Administrative solutions like settlement may encourage impunity, put anger in the mind of victim and encourage injustice. There is greater advantage in using the law to punish offenders to serve as deterrent. There is need for more synergy between the NSCDC and the office of the Attorney General and I commend you for following procedure because no cost has been awarded against you for violation since,” Abimbola said.
Speaking, the NSCDC commandant said he led his officers on a visit to the Chief Judge to seek for the support of the judiciary in order to make efforts of the command to curb crime effective and to strengthen the relationship that currently exists between the command and the judiciary to enhance collaboration.
“There is no gainsaying that we cannot perform without the support of the judiciary. Society is filled with good and bad people; the criminals come up with new techniques daily and without the judiciary, we cannot get scapegoats to teach others a lesson. There are areas where we need the help of the judiciary; often while investigating and we need to obtain information from telecommunication firms and banks, they believe we don’t have the power to do that. Even magistrates don’t attend to us when we want to file matters before them, they think we need to see the police and we should be involved in execution of judgement.
“We have the power to arrest and prosecute with or without warrant as provided by the Act that set up the institution. In December 2019, Governor Seyi Makinde gave us a mandate to settle the crisis between herdsmen and farmers in Oke Ogun and we have been doing this through alternative dispute resolution,” he stated.