I knew this was going to happen sooner than later. Now that Aso Rock and the President's men, the senators, the reps, and the judges are feeling the scorching heat from Sahara, they are crying and acting like puppies being taken away from their mother.
Wednesday, January 11, 2017, SaharaReporters (SR) Publisher Omoyele Sowore was waylaid at GRA Ikeja by Lekan Fatodu and his friend “Andre.” According to Sowore, the two men tried to kill him but the attempt was foiled by the public. He was later taken to “F” precinct of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) on a trumped up charges of “criminal defamation.” “My attack by Fatodu was organized with the police, but as they were unable to arrest me directly,” says Sowore, “he was given the cover to carry out an attack that would give the police their needed tonic to take vengeance on me,” Sowore recalls.
“I was asked to sign for my bail on Self recognizance, but I declined, insisting I had not been arrested by the police and were that the case, that I preferred to be booked and shown an arrest warrant. After a short argument, I was let go without signing a bail bond, but was asked to return to the panti Police station on Thursday at 2p.m.” says Sowore. Sowore has since been released.
The illegal arrest of Sowore by the NPF on fabricated charges by miscreants underlies the brutality of a moribund police force and primitive policing system under a democratic government. The police is the closest agency of the government that citizens are most likely to see and have contact with. Every society use police to control crime and contribute to public order. The police is subject to the rule of law rather than the wishes of a powerful leader or party. The police can intervene in the life of citizens only under limited and carefully controlled circumstances. The police is publicly accountable.
However, a defining characteristics of police is their mandate to legally use force and to deprive citizens of their liberty. This power is fiercely opposed from those who are subject to it. This latitude is an incentive for great temptations for abuse. Yet, the police are important to maintaining civil law and order. Therefore, a delicate balance between liberty and order must be maintained in a democratic policing. Ironically, police are both a major support and a major threat to a democratic society. When police operate under the rule of law, they certainly protect democracy by their example of respect for the law and by suppressing crime.
Nigeria is a nation at war with herself. Nigeria occupies a pride of place among failed nations battling diverse and different crimes, vices, political unrest, economic recession, and social malaise. That the NPF is moribund is an understatement. That the rank and file of NPF comprise crooks, thieves, aiders, abettors, charlatans, illiterates, swindlers, and barbaric species of homo sapient is to be stingy with the truth. That NPF is professionally efficient as death inducers, killer squads, is mincing words. That the NPF must kill to stay relevant and sustain their brutality, is a short changed description.
The only badge worn by men and women of the force is a badge of dishonor earned from killings, woes, anguish, sufferings, and sorrows caused directly or indirectly to innocent Nigerians. Samples of NPF as blood thirsty and killer corps from the archives: March 30, 2001, The News reported that on February 7, 2001, Corporal Rabiu Bello of Kaduna State Criminal Investigation Department (CID), asked one Haliru Slau Agaba, a young apprentice, to buy him a stick of cigarette. Haliru told Bello he didn't have money to buy any cigarette. Bello shot him dead.
According to PANA Press in March 4, 2001, three corps – Benhamin Oyakhire, Jimo Michael, and Gerson Soba – erected illegal road block. They robbed traders of amount totaling $100,000. As if that was not enough, two of the traders were set ablaze to hide the crime. In March 2001, the PM News reported one Mrs. Iroh, a Lagosian, while “roasting plantain by the roadside, was killed by a stray bullet from the police. In 1999, a Nigerian star athlete Dele Udoh, based in the US, was mercilessly gunned down by the police in Lagos. Fuji star artist, Adewale Ayuba, was shot in the leg by the police for “refusing to give a reasonable settlement.” The list goes on.
I can assure Sowore that this is not going to be his last encounter with the NPF. The NPF is on rampage to clamp down hard and even eliminate any powerful and influential critic of the barons of corruption industry in Nigeria. Any given opportunity will send NPF into rage to kill. The big whales and sharks of corruption in Nigeria are working feverishly behind the scenes, and are using the NPF as a cover to carry out their clandestine cleansing of critics that inform and educate the Nigerian people by providing timely, accurate, and damaging reports of their corrupt activities. Because Sowore enjoys high visibility and a recognized name as Publisher of SR, he would have been quietly and easily declared missing by the NPF. And you know what that means in the vocabulary of the Nigeria police. Can you imagine how many unknown and unheard Nigerians that have been declared missing during police encounters and in police custody? Many.
To be sure, the NPF is not really a police system. It doesn't operate according to the rule of law and is not accountable to the Nigerian public. It's a trigger happy force. The modus operandi of the NPF is summary punishment, uses overt surveillance, stop, search, and arrest innocent Nigerians. With the NPF, crime is on the increase because of its inability to respond effectively. The NPF incompetence, misconduct, and corruption have fueled, rather than reduce crime and violence. Hence relations between the NPF and Nigerians continue to be characterized by suspicion and mutual hostility.
The NPF bleeds from shortage of manpower, poor salary, and benefits, use of outdated weapons, lack of adequate and modern telecommunication equipment, lack of vehicles, shortage of funds for operation, poor training, ill-oriented, ill-motivated, corruption, poor accommodation, political interference and poor recruitment practices. Internal and external accountability is weak, ineffective, or non-existent. Citizens' contacts with the NPF are almost involuntary, restricted to law enforcement encounters.
Nigerian society is corrupt. The NPF is a product of a corrupt society and system. The Police Service Commission and other law enforcement agencies have been corrupted by politicians and hard criminals like Fatodu. Decentralization of the Nigeria policing system is clearly badly needed. Pumping millions of naira into the NPF is not the solution. It is like a man who suffers from headache but was recommended to get a new hair cut and wear a new hat. NPF as an institution needs urgent dismantling. We need local and state police to shape the institution into a 21st century institution capable of preventing and fighting crime.
Through superb investigative journalism and thought provoking articles, SR has been able to dramatize and accurately portray the fate that awaits Nigerians if the corrupt ruling class continues to operate as business as usual: siege, enslavement, and a very close shave. SR has uniquely demonstrated the axiom to stay true and pure of the time honored journalism creed: see it clearly, show it creatively, and say it constantly. Despite verbal attacks on Sowore and several attempts to yank SR off the radar by the coalition of thieves ruling Nigeria, SR has managed to stay true to its editorial core values and mission: “...of citizen journalists to report ongoing corruption and government malfeasance in Africa...”
Is there any hope for this lawless and hopeless nation