A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has said that Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, should not have challenged a Chief Superintendent of Police at the Magodo Phase 2 Estate area of the state owing to constitutional limitations.
According to him, the encounter between the governor and the police officer revealed the need for restructuring and state policing.
The CSP, Abimbola Oyewole, on Tuesday openly disregarded Sanwo-Olu’s order to leave Magodo Phase 2 Estate.
Oyewole told the governor that he and his team were at the estate on the directives of the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN).
Sanwo-Olu led his cabinet to visit the residents protesting the continuous presence of law enforcement agencies in the estate.
Policemen have for days locked down the estate to stop suspected land grabbers and members of a family who had planned to demolish property in the choice estate to carry out a Supreme Court judgment.
Speaking to the CSP before newsmen, Sanwo-Olu said, “Can you call your superiors in Abuja and tell them that the governor is here and as the Chief Security Officer, you don’t have any business being in my state right now and that I want you to disengage right now?”
But Oyewole replied, “I am here on the instruction of the Inspector General of Police through the AGF. I am too small or too low to call them. Your Excellency sir, you can call them sir.”
Adegboruwa said the governor should have not openly challenge SCP knowing that the police weren’t under his control.
The senior lawyer said, “In a federation, the governor should have complete territorial control of the state where he has been elected to govern. The difference between the governor and the Chief Superintendent of Police is in the mandate of the people; the governor was elected as the representative of the people whereas the police officer is part of the servant and people who serve the collective aspirations of our people.
“To that extent, it should not have been openly possible for us to have a situation where in the public glare the police defy the chief public officer of the state.
“I believe that the governor was not well-advised to embark on open confrontation with the police knowing the constitutional limitations that hinder his directives or operational instructions to police officers who are not directly under him.
“There should have been caution on both sides; there ought not to have been an open confrontation between the governor and the police because these are issues we have known since 1999 that the constitution has more or less stripped the governors of any powers in terms of control of security. So, to make such appeals to sentiments was not totally commended on the part of his excellency, with all due respect.
“But having said that, it addresses the need for us to rejig the constitution and work out a proper Federation. I do not support in any case that the governor should be helpless in containing crisis in a state.”