Thank Goodness that Okey Idibe's saga or brush with the SSS is now over, with the release of his Passports, and an apology offered by the SSS. Whether it was because of the groundswell of concerns raised or not, or some outright CRUDE criticism, the bottom line is that a good result was achieved in the end. A poignant point from this, nevertheless, is that we must learn to respect, believe in and have value for our institutions, as long as they do not act above their limits or outside the Laws
. That PROVISO is equally very important! But what lessons have we all learnt from this incident? The Lesson, surely, should not be that the SSS (empowered to provide for ALL our security and protect our lives) cannot arrest, release and invite ANYONE to attend their office for questioning. Surely not!
Security and intelligence agencies across the world operate in similar fashion and make arrests and release people or make similar demands as was made to Okey Idibe by the SSS. The USA (the bastion and citadel of Free Press and Democratic values) is currently going out of its boundary and calling for the head of Mr ASSANGE of Wiki Leaks. WHAT FOR? All Americans, and the world, are waiting to find out. Americans have not CONDEMNED or criticised the CIA or the FBI, or indeed, President OBAMA, yet. But they are patiently waiting for things to gradually unfold.
In Nigeria, we must emulate this too. We must emulate this value system, respect and love for motherland, otherwise, known as PATRIOTISM. The only qualification to this must be, AS LONG AS THEY CARRY OUT THEIR OPERATION RESPONSIBLY AND WITH CIVILITY AND RESPECT. We should, however, avoid intimidating or browbeating institutions with the DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM (OR WHO S/HE IS) way of dealing with issues, otherwise, these institutions will never grow.
It is this same DON'T YOU KNOW WHO HE IS mentality that ABDUL MUTTALAB (the Underwear bomber) passed through our Airports and security undetected, because of his father's status. I can also bet you that if he was arrested in Nigeria, ISLAMIST FUNDAMENTALISTS and other MUSLIM GROUPS would have also screamed BLUE MURDER, and shout RELEASE HIM! The same way OKAH was freed when he was previously arrested and detained in Nigeria. We have now seen the MAYHEM he has since caused.
Okey Idibe is not above the Laws of our country, and neither is he an UNTOUCHABLE, simply because he writes on SR. In fact, nobody is an UNTOUCHABLE unless the Constitution of the country confers such immunity (which is only usually for the time being). At least, he recognised this himself, hence he recommended this new modus operandi (a new model) and courtesy by the SSS should be equally extended to others. It is only by encouraging good behaviour that we can get more good and improved behaviour, until it becomes a norm.
Bullying and browbeating our institutions will not augur well for anybody. It is rather primitive and a disservice to the nation, if, every time a person of HIGH CALIBRE or LOW CALIBRE (like HENRY OKAH) is arrested, some people would try to insinuate sinister motives or try to intimidate the security agencies, including the President of the country, who may even have no business with the matter.
This perhaps, explains why the likes of CIROMA, IBB AND ATIKU & their gangs are still free men today. Because if they are arrested for their SEDITIOUS conducts and utterances (which is nowhere near what MAMAN VATSA did to IBB), there would be uproar from the NORTH. Hence these people are walking around freely and even have the temerity to insult our sensibilities by seeking ELECTIVE OFFICE without first purging themselves of the CORRUPTION INDICTMENTS hanging over their necks.
On the Okey saga, in the end it turned out that there was no good reason for detaining OKEY even for 1 hour or for withholding his Passports. (At least, thank God, my mind is now at rest that Nigeria allows for DUAL CITIZENSHIP, and there is no more need for my proposed sponsorship of a Bill to repeal any Law that prohibits such).
Did the SSS err? Yes, I will say they did, as it is no excuse for them not to have updated their record or so-called LIST. Short of disciplining the erring staff (whose responsibility it is to update the LIST), not by sacking him/her, but a WRITTEN WARNING would do, the SSS should also reassure OKEY and Nigerians that the LIST has now been updated and that a mechanism is in place to regularly update it in future. This would avoid a repeat of the situation. It is also no excuse that the previous Government (President Yar'Adua's) drew up the LIST.
Looking on the bright side, at least OKEY enjoyed a free ride from the Airport, with a chauffeur, escorts and full security, with all expenses paid by the SSS. (I crave similar courtesies too, when I am next in Nigeria). I also commend the SSS, who appear to have grown up, and I hope, now treat ALL their detainees (or suspects) with civility. Unlike what obtained in the past, where persons where simply hounded, clamped and thrown into their DUNGEONS, and cut off from daylight (under BUHARI and the Military era), the SSS has grown up. A Nigeria of my dream is, not to be IMMUNED from arrest, but to be arrested in accordance with the existing Laws of our Land (not RETROSPECTIVELY or based on a phantom or non-existent Law) and to be treated humanely and with courtesy and respect for my human DIGNITY.
Cheery News! Nigeria has come of age with this incident and it is credit to our floundering democracy (which, btw, is still growing, at 12 years old). Our democracy is the WINNER in this. AND SHAME ON THOSE THAT EVEN CONTEMPLATED CALLING THE MILITARY BACK. For it is only through our stumbling and fumbling that we can grow and strengthen our democracy and institutions!