Setting Agenda For Good Governance Through Justice And Security
Title: Security and Justice: The Pathway For Peace and Reconciliation In Nigeria Ibrahim K. Idris Toprint Global Services Limited No Of Pages: 291 Author: Publisher:
Nigeria has passed through timeless seasons of brutality. Harvest of killings through insurgency, kidnap, robbery and general state of insecurity in the country has adversely affected the economic, socio-political growth of the country. The 18-chapter book under review, Security and Justice: The Pathway For Peace and Reconciliation In Nigeria, written by Ibrahim Idris, the current Nigerian Inspector General of Police (IGP), provides a thorough and deep insights on long-standing contemporary challenges of Nigeria nation. It addresses issues relating to fears of marginalisation, sectionalism and trust in the governance process.
The first chapter examines theoretical and philosophical underpinning of justice with a view to providing an in-depth understanding of what justice is all about. According to Idris in this all important book, regardless of whatever definitions different authorities might have given to the phenomenon called ‘justice,’ the subject is all about fairness. “Justice in the broadest sense is fairness. Justice cannot assure that every dispute comes out ‘correctly’ or that no mistakes are made, but it should be such as to ensure that the process by which decisions are made and goods allocated is fair and produces an acceptable result in general, even if a single case of justice fails.”(02)
He maintains that justice will only occur when both political power and economic opportunity are evenly distributed. Justifying Aristotle’s definition of justice as “the chief basis of the state,” producing the common good, the author links him up with the concept of utilitarian “who sought the greatest good for the greatest number.”
He also examines the works of various philosophers like Plato, Cephalus, Thrasymachus, Glaucon among others. Considering the Nigeria’s post independent era, the author spends quality time to deal with distributive and restorative justice. In the course of his analytical details, he posits that since citizens are fundamentally equal, reasoning about justice should begin from a presumption that cooperatively-produced goods should be equally divided.
The author also examines the issues concerning government security. As sensitive as this subject matter is in today’s Nigeria historical archive, readers could easily conclude that it is only an expert like Idris that can enlighten his world on the state of the nation. In an attempt to fulfill this obligation thoroughly, the author raises such pertinent questions to drive home his comprehensive argument about need for justice in Nigeria.
He stresses the significance of reconciliation in all forms of relationships, saying it is the process of finding a way to make two different views, ideas, facts, etc, exist or be true at the same time. This, according to him, will only thrive when there is understanding, mutual respect of different opinions and views, sacrifice, compatibility, compromise, sincerity, objectivity, tolerance, forgiveness, humility, kindness and love.
“Effective reconciliation is the best guarantee that the violence of the past will not return. If we can build a new relationship amongst us that is based on respect and a real understanding of each other’s needs, fears and aspirations, the habits and patterns of cooperation that we then develop are the best safeguards against a return to violent division.” (22)
He observes that in heterogeneous society like Nigeria, certain problems are visible, which include alienation, dismemberment and distrust; tribal conflict, religious conflict and disunion. The author says the heterogeneous status of the country explains the intractable ethnoreligious of their religious or ethnic differences. This author must have considered the consequences of this disaster in the fifth and sixth chapter of the book. Thinking aloud, the author imagined if Nigeria’s political system can prevent future conflict, discusses major conflicts in Nigeria’s political system and the economic consequences of the conflict.
In an ethnically divided society like ours, can democracy be sustained? This perhaps was one of the conflicting issues that have given the author a nightmare as can be felt through his writing. The author advises that though in a divided society like Nigeria, people always try to promote and protect their own interests, democracy should create an avenue for the citizens to feel comfortable projecting their interests along non-ethnic lines when they choose to do so.
The author also uses the book to analytically explain the rights of common citizens in the society including the impression of Nigerians about Police Force where the author belongs. “In Nigeria, the police force has been typically viewed as inefficient and corrupt. Far from it, most people failed to understand and even appreciate the challenges facing the police since the police is also a product of the society…” (121). He however proffers solution to human right violation.
Perhaps, all electorate and those vying for any elective position in Nigeria should read Idris’ book as it contains rare information about good governance and credibility of election. For instance in page 140, he advises thus: “We need leaders who are nationalistic and ready to make sacrifice, bridge builders and selfless patriots…As an aspirant, you must convince the people that you have the vision, mission and the passion to protect the people, preserve the norms and the values of democratic governance and to keep the American dream alive. This should be the Watchword in Nigeria; the people and the leaders collectively have a role to play. Elections are not just about the party, it shouldn’t be all about the ethnic groups, rather it should be about how to move the country forward, creating an environment for people to pursue their individual goals and still come back together as one indivisible Nigeria.”
Idris, in the last chapter, discusses his ideas on police ethics. Among other things, he stresses that police need to be focused, demonstrate courage, should be honest, God fearing and uphold spirit of utmost professionalism.
The book is well researched, written with lucid language, boldly printed and bonded firmly with hard cover. It is a product of pragmatic experience of an officer with referred scholastic pedigree.
It is recommended to all politicians, captain of industries, students, critics and all well meaning Nigerians for its expressive and monumental details.