Although there is no verifiable official statistics, it is agreed that millions of innocent Nigerians have been killed during political violence.
As a second-year Sociology undergraduate, Thomas (not real name) had met three other students of his university on a cool Friday evening at the main car park, under a tree, discussing and analyzing the political situation in the country, when two known members of the school cult cunningly approached them and promised to extend an invitation that would bring them to a political meeting in the house of a popular politician in the town.
Sequel to the invitation, a new jeep was provided to convey them to the venue of the meeting. At the meeting, they met many other young boys of their age and were introduced to each other.
After the meeting, an elderly man emerged from one of the rooms with a black bag and brought out fat envelopes that he handed to each of the invitees.
That was how Thomas and his mates were initiated into the violent arm of the political party. With time, each of them was issued a locally produced pistol and they were warned to be loyal and answerable only to the leader, who was the sponsoring politician. They were mandated to cause mayhem whenever their was an indication that their boss was losing the election. Among them were selected killer squads and strike squads, all designated for specific dangerous assignments.
Over the years, since the first political dispensation, the country has witnessed several shocking and destructive political violence that escalated throughout the local government areas and states in the country.
Although there is no verifiable official statistics, it is agreed that millions of innocent Nigerians, including security personnel, have been killed, while several private and government structures have been destroyed during political violence.
There is no generation that is immune to political violence, neither are the security agencies ignorant of the devices of these political demons operating in the country. What is surprising, though, is the un-proactiveness of security agencies. It is rare to find perpetrators being thrown behind bars. Those arrested often get a soft landing for themselves.
Each time the political wind starts blowing around the country, our security agencies, especially the Nigeria Police, give a wrong signal that usually sends fear to the electorate.
It has been discovered by political observers that the heightening of political tension among the electorate during campaigns and voting is usually created by the police announcement of high figure of personnel drafted to such voting arena. This does not augur well for security of life and property.
Announcement of high figures of security personnel will after all not deter political thugs whose intention is to perpetuate trouble during elections neither can it stop rigging by election officials.
In other countries of the world, elections are conducted electronically and the police usually don’t have much to do except to show their visibility. Not so in Nigeria, where politicians usually influence the security mood in the country with money.
It has always been evident since the second democratic dispensation that security leaders don’t have their professional opinion on issues as they concern internal security during election period.
Violence disrupts the peace of a community. It is a tool used by politicians to achieve their political objectives. As the wind of campaigns blows, our youths should be wary of political meetings where juicy gifts are given with unknown intentions.
Ridiculing the police force
On October 5, 2018, the Nigeria Police issued a statement inviting two Senators Messrs Dino Melaye and Ben Murray-Bruce; both are of the opposition party. They were captured on camera for allegedly being “involved in the disturbance of public peace and public safety, unlawful blockade of Shehu Shagari Way for several hours and preventing motorists, road users and other members of the public from having access and passage on the highway, thereby disturbing public peace and public safety and causing innocent people to scamper for safety and violent attack on policemen posted to ensure security of the Force Headquarters, pushing and hitting the policemen to forcefully enter the Force Headquarters to cause damage to police equipment and Government property; have case to answer.”
From the look of things, it seems whenever the police, under Mr. lbrahim ldris, the Inspector-General of Police, hears the name of Senator Dino Melaye, all his veins start popping up, if not, how does one explain all these reported clashes between the police IGP and senators since his assumption of office? The case of the senator who was once a police officer, who spilled the beans on certain allegations against the police and the IGP. The feud was yet to end when the
Senate President invited him. He blew hot and then the robbery case in Offa came up and the IGP was again on the Senate President. While the dust was yet to settle, Senator Melaye started a long-running battle with the police. It is on record that this IGP has had several fracas with senators than any other IGP in the history of democracy in the country. Is it not ridiculous that the police can stretch its hand and want to prosecute these senators for allegedly blocking the highway? How come the same token has not been extended to all the okada and Keke-NAPEP who are not only constituting public road nuisance under the nose of the police in Abuja and other places around the country but flagrantly blocking the roads and causing traffic hold-ups?
Why the punitive and selective stand of the IGP? After all it is agreed that all human beings are equal before the law of the land, whether they be kings or peasants. So, whatever is good for Adamu should also be extended to Emeka.
If both senators ran foul of traffic laws, then it would be appropriate to do the needful with them, instead of hiding under a shady clause of the law to embarrass and effect arrests that look like political witch hunt.