The raid in the early morning hours of Thursday 1st of July, 2021 of the Ibadan private residence of Yoruba self determination activist; Mr. Sunday Adeyemo (a.k.a.) by Nigeria’s security operatives led by the Department of State Service (DSS) came as another abuse of state powers by security agents paid to protect the citizenry.
It is increasingly becoming some sad tale at every turn that a country which prides itself as a democracy is fast degenerating into fascism. Otherwise, how do our leaders who are largely seen as representatives of the people use some hachetmen to brutalize the same citizenry in the guise of maintaining state security.
We are not here to hold brief for Igbogho or any other one or group the Nigerian state considers as a threat to its continuous existence but rather to remind those in the corridors of power that our acceptance of democracy as a political way of life demands that every one including the President of Nigeria is subject to the Rule of Law.
The concept of the Rule of Law elementarily makes it imperative that every action or inaction of the government and the citizenry must be guided by the provisions of the extant laws in our Constitution and other statutory instrument. No one is expected to act arbitrarily or contrary to the laws of the land.
This, therefore makes it compelling for state security forces assigned with the duty of protecting the state and its citizens to be more circumspect in dealing with the issues relating to those considered a threat to state security. The actions of security agents in a matter as self determination crusade by Sunday Igbogho in a manner considered threatening but obviously falls in line with his constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of association, makes it more imperative for the security agents to resort to legal aid from the judiciary as a way to justify whatever action they take in pursuit of their responsibility to protect the state and its citizenry.
From the reported stories in connection with the 1st July, 2021 invasion of Igboho’s private residence by the security forces, it was obvious they did not have orders of any court to carry out the raid. In the circumstance, not only did they abuse state powers vested in them but outrightly undermined the judiciary which is the custodian of the Rule of Law under which the security agencies should have resorted to, as a guiding compass in whatever action they take.
It is largely unfortunate that in spite of our 21 years of unbroken democratic governance, Nigeria is still a militarised society where might is right. We are still not too far from the state of nature – a beastial state that thrives in crudity and savagery. Otherwise, how can state security agencies populated by people who are considered to be enlightened resort to the use of lethal weapons to attack a defenseless citizen who is not at war with the government but obviously drawing the attention of government to its lapses through peaceful rallies.
That the security agents could brazenly force themselves into a private residence and immediately resort to attacking the residents to the extent of shooting some to death, is tending towards dictatorship commonly found in a fascist environment.
Our appeal therefore, is that President Muhammadu Buhari who has chosen to be a democrat should divest its government security apparati of all fascist tendencies in every ramification. Those who have chosen to follow the Rule of Law in their activism should be accorded the constitutional rights to so act, but where the state feels otherwise, let there be a resort to the law court. Government should stop undermining the statutory functions of its own institutions. What we are witnessing in many parts of the country today is as a result of abuse of the Rule of Law.
The Boko Haram terrorist war Nigeria is fighting today could probably not have come to be, if the police did not extra-judicially kill Mohammed Yusufu, the Islamic Sectional leader considered a threat, arrested by soldiers and handed over to the police for due diligence prosecution in accordance with extant laws of the land. If the police did not constitute itself into a prosecutorial agency and at the same time, a court of adjudication in the Yusuf case, we would have been spared the calamity of today.
We therefore crave the indulgence of every security agency and the national leadership to follow the Rule of Law in their exercise of state powers to prevent us from descending into anarchy in the nearest future.