Neighborhood Watch Law, abuse of Nigerian Constitution – Legal group

March 17th, 2018

From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt

A Rivers State based legal group, know as Progressives Lawyers Forum, has condemned Governor Nyesom Wike’s recent assent to Neighborhood Safety Corps Law, stressing that the action by the state government is an abuse of Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended.

Recalled that the governor on Thursday, gave his assent to the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Law No.8 of 2018. A step he said will improve the security of the state.

Giving his assent to the Neigbourhood law and other laws passed by the Rivers State House of Assembly, Governor Wike said that the laws are necessary to enhance security across the state.

He said that Neighbourhood Watch Safety Corps will support existing security agencies with intelligence and information for them to effectively fight crime and make the state safer.

But speaking with newsmen yesterday in Port Harcourt, the legal group condemned that security matters are not within the legislative competence of the houses of Assembly of states in the country.

Chairman of the group, Mr Eugene Odey Esq, who led the other members at the media parley, said the assented law is capable of causing crisis in the state during the national Elections.

Mr Eugene further disclosed that the group intend to drag the matter to Court

He said: “We members of the Progressives Lawyers Forum use this medium to vehemently express our displeasure over the purported Neighborhood Watch Corp assented by Rivers State Governor, Chief Ezebunwo Wike.

“Beyond the foregoing the law itself constitutes an abuse of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended). This is because Section 227 of the Constitution prohibits the establishment of any militia group or security outfits by the state other than those established by the Constitution.

“No doubt this law is capable of setting the constitutionally recognized security organizations in collusion course with the neighborhood Corps of the State. This course will amount to proliferation of fire arms with it’s attendant consequences.

“While we explore judicial process to set aside the law, we call on both the National Assembly and National Security Adviser to pay particular attention to what is unfolding in Rivers State the same way they are dealing with the Kogi State issue”, Mr Eugene added.

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