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Socio-Legal Frameworks and Regional Security Initiatives in the 60-Year-Old Nigeria: A Critical Afrocentric Perspective
(Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto)
Paper long abstract:
Most African countries, including Nigeria built their socio-legal frameworks on secular, religious and traditional principles to curtail social problems, such as conflicts, crimes and insecurities in the region. Nigeria, a populous, ethnically, culturally and religiously diverse society in Africa is majorly disturbed by social disorderly cases of violent attacks on farmers, insurgency, kidnapping, banditry and armed robbery in recent times and its federal security agents have tried severally to combat these heinous acts, but many of the perpetrators remained unrepentant and continue to threaten the peaceful co-existence, lives and property of millions of innocent Nigerians and non-Nigerians. It is however sad that there exists paucity of literature on the multi-species of socio-legal sources of regional security outfits in the country. Against this background, the paper explores the constitutionally socio-legal provisions, processes and factors that support the agitation for and formation of regional security operatives including their consequences on Nigeria's social structure and process. The study was underpinned with critical theory. Using qualitative research design, data were collected from fifteen online national dailies published between July 1st, 2019 and March 31st, 2020. The newspapers were purposively sampled, their contents analysed thematically and findings discussed. It was found that Nigeria's constitution allowed groups with peculiarities to adopt customary and religious laws, which led to multiple normative orders, including regional security agencies. Findings showed that lobbying, consultations, meetings, pressures and executives-legislatives collaborations were socio-legal processes applied for the approval of regional security outfits. It was also found that strong political wills of state executives and legislatures, existing provisions, adequate understanding and interpretation of federal constitution were manifest factors for the emergence of regional security bodies, whereas rising level of intergroup conflicts, activities of unapologetic religious insurgents, kidnappers, bandits, robbers and the helplessness of the official security forces were the latent factors behind the birth of 'Amotekun in southwest' and the agitation for 'Shege ka fasa in north' and 'Ogbunigwe in southeast' as auxiliary security agencies in the country and extrajudicial sanctions and political interference were perceived as the attendant consequences of the formation of regional security outfits in Nigeria. It was recommended that amicable working partnership should be initiated and enforced among the varied security agencies in Nigeria and independent commission should be constituted and empowered to check the excesses of regional security personnel.
Disciplinary trends in Africa: legal and socio-legal studies