By Jude Ndukwe
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY – The Tuesday, August 7, 2018, illegal and despotic invasion of the nation’s foremost democratic institution has attracted widespread condemnation not only from well meaning and good spirited Nigerians, but it has also drawn the ire of the international community which was alarmed by the brazen invasion. As much as that was one occasion that exposed the heightened tyranny Nigerians have come to live with and endure under the Buhari presidency, it was nothing but an advanced symptom of the executive recklessness and lawlessness that has pushed the nation to the precipice.
Unfortunately, this recklessness has assumed a very dangerous dimension that nobody knows what our security agencies hold in stock for the citizens tomorrow. Almost on a daily basis, the nation is awoken to one rude shock or the other of citizens’ brutalization, torture and even murder by our security agencies paid to protect us. And no matter how we look at it, analysts have also agreed that such irresponsible actions which have been left unchecked by relevant authorities is the fault of the president who has obviously lost control of security forces directly under his office and powers.
This loss of control has worsened the insecurity situation in the country as such violent crimes as armed robbery, kidnapping, ritual killings, Fulani herdsmen terrorism and renewed attacks on our military by the dreaded Boko haram terrorists have all increased in dreadful proportions. Analysts have also said that the undue rivalry, unnecessary bickering, lack of cooperation and absence of the needed synergy among the respective security agencies have not helped the situation.
Even the National Security Adviser, NSA, Babagana Monguno, lamented this ugly trend at an interactive session with the senate that got so worried about the unfortunate development that it had to intervene in order to save Nigerians from the grip of common criminals who have taken generous advantage of the situation.
Babagana Munguno, in the senate ad hoc committee report, regretted that his functions as NSA have been hijacked by the security agencies leading to the uncontrolled acrimony among them and that the situation was made worse by rising indiscipline among them. In its findings, the senate ad hoc committee set up under the leadership of Dr Olubukola Saraki, observed that its investigations show that the security agencies have been divided into camps with the EFCC and the NSA belonging to one group and the NIA and DSS belonging to another. Such a grim reality, yet, with such damaging reports and the recommendations made, it is quite unfortunate that President Muhammadu Buhari has neither deemed it fit nor been able to arrest the ugly situation.
Are Nigerians then surprised that after the illegal invasion of the national assembly by officers and men of the DSS, blames and counter blames have been traded among the presidency, the president’s party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, the police and the DSS.
The irreparably broken cohesion, rivalry and indiscipline among these agencies have exposed them to the easy manipulation and politicization by politicians from the ruling APC as they have been illegally deployed to ride rough shod on our constitution and rule of law. For example, just few days after Governor Samuel Ortom left the APC, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, froze the accounts of the state government without any judicial process and even against the settle trite by the courts that only the Auditor-General and House of Assembly of a state have the legal right in law to look into the finances of a state government. The wicked action of the EFCC which surely has no basis in law was obviously executed out of vindictiveness and in vengeance for the defection of Ortom to the opposition PDP, and was also extended to the Akwa Ibom State government in an attack on the government and good people of the state reportedly at the behest of the APC who only recently received a former chieftain of the PDP, Godswill Akpabio, former governor of the state, into its fold.
As if to confirm that its action was merely in response to political manipulations of the ruling party, the EFCC quickly unfroze the accounts of the two states after a torrent of criticisms from Nigerians. Given this scenario, and the vows made by several APC lawmakers and chieftains including their chairman and those in the presidency to remove Saraki by all means, it was not surprising that the DSS succumbed to the totalitarian and fascist dictates of such party to execute the hatchet job carried out against the national assembly on that Tuesday, an action which many have rightly described as a “coup”.
The police are certainly not immuned to such manipulations as they have, at one time or the other, also fallen prey to the ravenous appetite for abuse of our laws, constitution and democratic institutions. The police were used to attempt to carry out an illegal invasion of the Benue State House of Assembly where they gave security cover to eight of the members and locked out both staff and the other majority 22 members with the hope that the minority members who have a Speaker that was barred by a court of competent jurisdiction having been legally removed by the needed majority number, would be used to impeach the defected governor. Although their plans eventually failed but the assembly members were only given access and the siege on their assembly dismantled after the forced sack of Lawal Daura sent jitters into them.
Political opponents, pro-democracy activists, groups and ordinary citizens have tasted the bitter pills of the police albeit illegally. The unbearable excesses of the police’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, has remained a sour point, torturing citizens and brutalizing them at will, a situation which has led to the unabated calls from Nigerians for it to be scrapped. The atrocities of the police especially under President Buhari are legion, yet, the president seems helpless, weak and unconcerned.
These lapses have given some foreigners, as declared by government officials, the leverage to take advantage of the gap in our security architecture to freely rein terror on citizens, kidnapping, raping, and butchering them with reckless abandon under the guise of farmers/herders clashes. Added to this grievous dereliction of duty by the Buhari administration is that no one is being prosecuted today for those heinous crimes against our people.
This is nothing but an abysmal failure on the part of the president who has direct control over the failed security agencies. It is generally agreed among Nigerians that more of our citizens have been left to be brutally murdered by common criminals within Buhari’s three years of assuming office than we probably have had since the inception of the 4th republic. Having failed on this front and many more, it will be most unfortunate and inconsiderate for Buhari to still be talking of going for a second tenure. If his first tenure could lead to so much death, his second tenure, if Nigerians make the mistake of giving it to him, will surely lead to the cremation of the country. Surely, Nigerians do not want that!
—email@example.com; Twitter: @stjudendukwe