We are in a perilous time. The effrontery of this government to trample on our fundamental human rights, disdain the courts’ orders, and transgress the law with impunity are not only disconcerting but also provoking to opine the least. The assumption that the government is furtively supporting all the terrorists—Boko Harem, ISIWA, Fulani headsmen, and Bandito-terrorists—manifests in nepotism that discourages prosecution of apprehended members of the terror groups. While freedom fighters who are tired of the marauding transnational terror groups occupying their villages, farms and massacring their kinsmen are goaded to prisons without trials or convictions. Bond orders are brashly flouted by the government. Any kind of cacophony is perceived as a threat instead of an opportunity warranting discourse for finding consensus.
Rather, the government is persecuting the freedom fighters with gangster mentality for agitating for secession or for forming rival subset to Sunni Islam. In essence, the government is cloaking its unrelenting and dastardly persecution of EL Zakzaky, Kanu, and Igboho as prosecution. Lest we forget, this government is retargeting its attention to the freedom fighters instead of myriad of protracted desiderata, and devaluation of our standard of living and quality of life.
From breaking the international protocol of arresting fugitives, the government has wittingly bared its domestic gestapo tactic of defying court orders to the international procedures. This tactic will fail any court’s scrutiny. The desperation to corral El Zakzaky, Kanu, and Igboho bespeaks their durance regardless of the court orders, like EL Zakzaky was held in prison for six years, or Abiola was poisoned in jail after five years. Hence, being flight risk (Kanu) or escaping the authorities to Benin (Igboho) is self-preservation from the government that punishes farmers who forfended their farms, livestock, villages, and relatives from killer herdsmen and bandito-terrorists.
Jailing or killing Igboho and Kanu will not terminate peaceful agitation or armed struggle for secession. The assertion for secession predated their births and it will continue unabated after their murder, as long as the current season of anomies or privations manifests in police brutality, unmitigated corruption, sectarianism, ethnicity, marginalization, etc, lingers. A government that is bumptious of Fulaniphila in a multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multicultural Nigeria is speed- dialing to catastrophe as this one is posturing. No government has exclusive monopoly of patriotism. This government is no exception. The dictatorial proclivities of patriarchal structure and command contingent on reliance on repressive state apparatuses (argumentum ad baculum) are antithetical to democracy. In order to occlude a benighted presidential candidate from becoming president of Nigeria in future, our Electoral Act must be empowered with a provision that strips any candidate that does not partake in presidential debates from contesting general election. This form of vetting process must be explicit and be packed with power of the law.
Extra-judicial apprehension of EL Zakzaky, Kanu and Igboho is a mere symbolism to appease the government’s ethnic and fundamental religious bases; no court of law would convict any of them for agitation to secede or break away from dominant Sunni Islam, as shown in EL Zakzaky’s case. The agitation for succession is a parapraxis in comparison to massive pillage of lives, properties, uncountable ransom, commission of rape and abduction all over the country.
Furthermore, who is responsible for double-digit percentage inflation? How many billions of dollars stolen from the treasury by Kanu, Igboho or EL Zakzaky? How many trillions of Naira ransom collected by any of the trio? How many times are the threesome spokesmen for the transnational-terrorist groups? Who is accountable for lack of potable water and anemic power supply? Who are illegally mining our resources? How many police and military personnel have they personally killed or maimed? Who is responsible for the heartless devaluation of Naira in the international market? How many villages in the North has Kanu or Igboho desolated and repopulated with the Igbos or Yorubas? Neither of the threesome is culpable for the aforementioned crimes subsumable under treason or treasonable felony! Then why pursuing Kanu and Igboho across the globe?
[files] Nnamdi Kanu
This government is just being exhibitionist straggling its attention on freedom fighters instead of facing more pressing issues of protracted insecurity, double- digit unemployment rate, runaway inflation, massive brain drain, infrastructural ruination, social amenities dilapidation, army of digital illiterates, double-digit percent of out-of -school children, astronomical infant mortality rate, chronically high mortality rate, restructuring, and drafting a new constitution.
Empirically, it has been demonstrated that a political will to genuinely confront most of the above-listed issues would galvanize patriotism towards Nigeria. While lack of political will would balkanize Nigerians into tribal and religious enclaves, as we are experiencing. Obviously, Buhari neither possesses the will to confront the highlighted issues nor the political will to rein in the Fulani herdsmen and the bandito-terrorists!
Both the president and presidency are blinkered of the enduring solutions to the issue of secession agitation. If there were referendums today in areas where the agitations are acute, more than eighty percent of the residents would vote for them. Do not underestimate the strength of the freedom fighters. They have the backing of most economic, political, military and academic elites, in addition to the masses. A mistake of resulting to war would splice their peoples around them. Lest we forget, the war of 1967- 1970 had all other parts of Nigeria against the Biafra. If a war breaks out, God forbids, the reverse would be the case: Besides, no part of the country has exclusive hold on the military, the police and other security institutions.
The government must address the issue of restructuring now in parri-passu with other issues raised above in order to starve off secession. Buhari must take a stern stance against his people who populate most of the terror groups. The consternation against open-grazing in the South has reached denouement; it must be rapidly jettisoned. Kanu and Igboho must be engaged in a negotiated settlement. They did not create the desiderata stifling us; the desiderata created them. They are victims of these privations created by inept leaderships over the years just like most Nigerians. For obvious reasons, we are all hypochondria of our personal and national health.
Olatunji is of UniWorld Legal Services, Lagos.
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