State Of The Nation:Afenifere Expresses Worry Over Gunmen Attack’s, Invasion Of Judges Houses

…..Says Nigeria Has Never Had It This Bad                              

The invasion of the Abuja residence of Honourable Justice Mary Peter Odili, the attack on Ado Ekiti home of Professor Banji Akintoye, the abduction of Kwali Chief Imam and his children as well as the abduction of two Uniabuja professors and a senior lecturer with some family members in their own houses have signaled that Nigeria is clearly under siege of evil minded people. 

Above was the summary of a statement issued by the pan Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, while reacting to the spate of gunmen attacks, kidnapping and the invasion of the residences of the Supreme Court Judge, Mrs Odili and that of Professor Akintoye among others. Similar Gestapo-like raids were carried out in the houses of four senior judges on October 7 and 8, 2016 in Abuja, Port Harcourt and Gombe in a bid to arrest them. The Justices were Walter Onnoghen, Sylvester Ngwuta,  Adeniyi Ademola and Nnamdi Dimgba.

In a press release signed by the organization’s national publicity secretary, Comrade Jare Ajayi, the body declared that Nigeria has never been under so much danger. Not even during the regime of the most intolerant military officer to govern the country, late General Sani Abacha.

According to the release, the invasion painfully recalled to one’s mind, the bombardment of the Asokoro, Abuja home of the elder statesman, Pa Edwin Clark in October, 2018 by an agent of the federal government. The uproar that the ransacking of the statesman’s house ignited made the then Inspector General of Police,  Mohammed Adamu to suspend four police officers who were alleged to have carried out the supposed unauthorized raid on Pa Clark’s house. 

Ajayi said that Afenifere received the news of the attack on the house of the Leader of Ilana Omo Yoruba and History Professor, Banji Akintoye, with utter shock. It was clear that the mission of the attackers was dastardly as bullets allegedly from the AK-47 gun used by the invaders during the attack on Saturday, October 30, 2021, were on display. 

The spate and incidence of banditry and illegal invasion of citizens’ abodes are no longer restricted to any specific areas as the attacks now occur in places of worship, schools, motor parks, farms and private houses. For instance, late last week, the Chief Imam of Yangoji Central Mosque in Kwali Area Council, Abuja, Alhaji Abdullahi Abubakar Gbedako and two of his sons were abducted in their own home around 11.47 p.m, according to reports. In a similar vein, Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr. Samuel Aruwan, confirmed that five persons were killed in Chikun and Igabi Local Government Areas of Kaduna state while many were kidnapped. The attacks occurred on Sunday, October 31, while some of the victims were worshipping at Emmanuel Baptist Church, Kakau Daji.

The above were apart from the several cases of terrorism and banditry occurring on a daily basis in various parts of the country. But rather than confronting the insecurity challenge headlong, the federal government prefers to dawdle – being soft on the bandits but harsh on those advocating for self-determination. 

According to Afenifere spokesman, the double standard being displayed by the government is making it difficult to easily overcome the problem of insecurity. For example, Minister of Defence, Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi (Rtd), last Friday said that government has not declared bandits as terrorists because it (government) wants to follow due process. He stated this in Maiduguri, Borno State during his visit to assess the ongoing fight against insurgency in that area. 

But such ‘due process’ was unnecessary before hounding advocates of self-determination. Observation of ‘due process’ was not necessary before invading the houses of notable figures on cooked-up excuses. 

The concerned government agency was quick to act on an affidavit by a whistle blower named Aliyu who allegedly claimed that some illegal activities were going on at No. 9 Imo Street, Maitama, Abuja by promptly going for a search warrant from Chief Magistrate Emmanuel Iyana. The invasion of Justice Odili’s home was based on the search warrant.

The reasons given by Magistrate Iyana when revoking the search warrant, the fact that AGF Malami, the DSS and the Police initially denied knowledge of the invasion like the apology tendered by former IGP Adamu to Pa Edwin Clark meant that ‘due process’ was not followed in handling these cases. But ‘due processes’ must be followed before declaring bandits as terrorists and before treating them as such. 

Faces and names of people relating with kidnappers and allied bandits to negotiate for ransom etc. are known but government has not deemed it fit to take action on them. With an attitude of this nature, it would be difficult to be able to win the war on banditry. 

But government owes the nation a duty to keep the lives and properties safe. Failure to do so is not only a dereliction of duty, it is also against the constitution that makes the protection of citizens a sacred duty of the government. 

Before concluding, Afenifere publicity secretary said that Section 215 of the 1999 Constitution be immediately amended to make it possible for states and local governments to maintain civil security outfits to police their respective areas with powers to investigate and prosecute. 

While that is going on, government needs to stop its present tendency of mollycoddling bandits, provide jobs for youths, strengthen the security forces and put the machinery in motion for immediate restructuring of the country. 

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