Frankly many of us are fed up of the barbarism and savagery in Nigeria. It is 10 days since the raid on Biafra separatist leader Nnamdi Nwannekaenyi Okwu-Kanu’s home and the Federal Government of Nigeria has not yet deemed it necessary to release information on the whereabouts of Mr Eze Israel Kanu and wife, the parents of Nnamdi Kanu.
Outlawed IPOB has declared Kanu’s parents missing since the raid. Are they alive? Did the army abduct them? In what condition of health are they and are they receiving treatment?
The reckless abandonment of Nigerian authorities must be stopped. The brutal authoritarianism and disrespect for the law which borders on terrorism to the masses must come to an end. Militarization of the state which has been in place since ex-dictator, General Obasanjo launched the latest democratic era, must be abated.
The military regimes unleashed the army on innocent civilians in gruesome massacres and the civilian governments since have continued the practice. The Odi and Zaki Biam massacres by the Obasanjo government readily come to mind. Buhari’s Zaria Massacre and Abia and Onitsha massacres are also yet vivid. The latest massacre at Nnamdi Kanu’s residence which reportedly left as many as 26 dead, by an army “illegally” deployed, is the latest in a series of Buhari-Osinbajo brutal actions and abuse of the Nigerian military being deployed in the stead of the police.
Nigerian police as any where in the world, are trained and equipped for law enforcement and maintaining peace within the state. Nigerian police actually carry around Ak-47 rifles, not just pistols, which give them more lethal capacity in performing their duties. It is dangerous for the Nigerian police to be rendered no more than boy scouts and for the army to take over the duty to police the state.
The constitution has a procedure for making arrests. Search warrants are necessary and court orders must be given before raids and arrests can be conducted, except where there is imminent threat. In the event of expedient police intervention, citizens are to be arrested and immediately charged and taken before a judge within 24-48 hours where they can apply for bail. Suspects are protected by law and declared innocent until proven guilty. They have a right to visitation and an attorney. But not in Nigeria.
The Nigerian military as with any in the world, are not authorized to make arrests. When the military “arrests” a citizen it is a kidnap. As stated above, since the military cannot charge, they cannot arrest. This is why the Nigerian constitution in section 217, clearly states that the military must act in support of the civil authorities and not as a standalone when dealing with internal insurrection. But the Buhari-Osinbajo government violates all these norms.
The Nigerian military have so lost their direction and been wielded unconstitutional powers, that they have in recent times illegally declared amnesties for Boko Haram terrorists, usurping the role of the Council of states, and attempted to proscribe groups, usurping the role of the judiciary.
Today consequent to this, the whereabouts of Nnamdi Kanu and his parents are not known.
In this incident like that of the previous massacres including the Zaria massacre, the dead are not officially numbered and documented by the state authorities. The barbaric Nigerian government leaves dead bodies behind and never makes attempt to count, document and deposit them at hospital morgues. In many of the cases, the dead are seized by the army and buried in mass graves. This is what was reported to have happened in the 2016 Onitsha massacre and as admitted by the Kaduna state government after the Zaria massacre of December 2015. This is unconscionable and demonic to put it mildly. The living have rights as do the dead.
In all developed nations, mug shots are taken of detainees and the official police statements of their arrests are made public. It does not matter whether the group or persons are later branded terrorists. This has nothing to do with the responsibility of the state to follow due course.
Till date another case of abducted parents, that of Sheikh Zakzaky and wife, has persisted with the Buhari-Osinbajo government remaining in violation of the constitution and in contempt of court, refusing to charge and and release these abductees despite court orders. This is very sad and sickening and a stain and curse on Nigeria. Till date the Buhari government has not made any official release on the causality figures in the Zaria and Onitsha massacres. No list of names of victims has been released, and no families consoled.
We implore the Buhari-Osinbajo government to respect the law and stop doing what constitutes terror to its citizens by employing the military in barbaric exercises and abducting citizens as is done by terrorists and kidnappers. Where there is no justice, there cannot be peace. And where there is no peace, what it takes 100 years to build gets torn down in days.
Written by Dr. Perry Brimah