The Benue State Governor, Hyacinth Alia, has signed an Executive Order establishing the Department of Public Order in the Ministry of Justice to coordinate government policies and matters relating to public order.
The governor, who signed the Executive Order at the Government House in Makurdi on Friday, said the order was in pursuant of section 14 sub-section (2) of the 1999 constitution and section 10 of the Public Order Act, CAP 382 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Alia said he inherited a state characterised by widespread criminality and political violence such as kidnappings, murders, intimidation against targeted groups or individuals leading to emergence of local war lords and militia groups.
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Sam Ode, the governor said those who breach the public rules would pay fines between N20,000 and N500,000 or face prison sentence depending on the gravity of the offence.
He stressed that the order prohibits all acts of violence, disobedience, lawlessness, and called for strict adherence to it.
He said: “Apart from the grave state of insecurity highlighted above, my administration inherited indiscipline and disorderly public conduct which had been accepted by many citizens as norms, rather than aberrations.
“Incidences of disobedience to traffic light, wrong parking of cars, indiscriminate disposal of waste, loitering at a late hour, will all attract penalties.”
Alia said the act was to maintain law and order in the state.
“Public order, as you know, is no doubt within the domain of the security agencies and law enforcement agencies which make up the criminal justice system in our country,” the governor pointed out.

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