2nd September, 2012
JETHRO IBILEKE, Benin
President Goodluck Jonathan has been urged to check the activities of the Hisbah Guards in Sharia state in northern Nigeria, as it could turn out to become another version of the dreaded Boko Haram sect in the making.
President of the Ohaneze Ndigbo, Kano State chapter, Chief Tobias Michael Idika, who gave the warning on Sunday during a chat with journalists in Benin City, noted that while there seems to be divergent view by some stakeholders on the merits and demerits of a state police, indications are that it is already operating in some Northern states, adding that activities of Hisbah in Northern states was a state police in operation.
“Over the years, the North has been running state police in the disguise of Hisbah Guards. We have pragmatic evidence of the victimization of our people by armed Hisbah Guards who were given powers to waylay, arrest, fine and prosecute their victims. In Kano alone, Igbo business men have lost billions of Naira on the several attacks by the Hisbah Guards targeted at their lives and business concerns.
“The same situations are recorded in Minna, Kaduna , Bauchi, Maiduguri , Zamfara and other parts of the North where the Hisbah Guards otherwise known as Shariah Police are holding sway. It is also pertinent to note that northern governors fund Hisbah Guards with tax payers’ money.”
Chief Idika who said in as much as Ohanaeze Ndigbo would not want to dabble into the politics of state police, he called on President Jonathan and the National Assembly to, as a matter of urgency, enact a law abolishing Hisbah and other militant organizations being sponsored with government funds.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that the proliferation of militant organizations such as Hisbah contributed hugely to the spate of insecurity and socio-religious violence that have become the bane in the northern region.”
He said it was on this note that the Ohanaeze Ndigbo began to suspect that a group of northern political leaders are very much aware of the activities of northern militants in the fashion of Boko Haram who have vowed to Islamize the northern states. He however lamented that up till now, no serious steps have been taken by northern leaders to put to a stop the menace of terrorists in that region left much to be desired.
Chief Idika urged the President to seek alternative ways to solving the prevailing insecurity problem in the country.
While calling on President Goodluck Jonathan to urgently overhaul the security agencies as a drastic measure towards solving security problems threatening the foundation of this country, the Igbo leader described debate on state police as a waste of time and resources.
“In this case, we strongly submit that it will be to the best interest of the country if the presidency, Inspector General of Police and the Police Service Commission deem it right to post non-Muslim Police Commissioners to states where the Boko Haram insurgents are reigning supreme so as to do away with the syndrome of compromise. We say this because there have been cases where bad eggs within the security agencies aid terrorists to carry out their nefarious activities.”