For many Nigerians, these are perilous times. The state of nature that Thomas Hobbes talked about has closed in on us. Life has become nasty brutish and short. In farms, in places of worship or businesses, everyone has his or her heart in the mouth. A violent death could descend at any time. The only secured people are those holding exalted and juicy positions in government offices; the president and his family members, state governors, ministers, lawmakers and others who have hundreds of heavily armed security personnel as guards. The ordinary people are at the mercy of God. Nigerians are very worried that those who are constitutionally empowered to protect them have failed to do so. We are asking, “whence lies our salvation?”
Eventually, both the green and the red chambers have landed on the same page. They want the President to sack the security chiefs. According to the lawmakers, the security chiefs have failed in their tasks. Their best is inadequate.
One would recall that the tenures of the service chiefs expired sometime ago and the President renewed them. To many Nigerians, it was logic on its part. Elongating the tenures of a failed bunch was nebulous and distempering. As usual, the commander-in-chief gave no ears to the complaints from the streets.
For me, the call for the sack of the security chiefs is long overdue. Of what use is their stay? Or are they being kept for some reasons that we don’t know?
In Social studies, pupils are exposed to appreciating the role of the police force in the maintenance of law and order. As things stand now, the average pupil is likely to roll up his or eyes at the teacher. We are currently blessed with a police force that has been ranked as the worst in the world and the Natl Bureau of Statistics also classed it as the most corrupt govt agency in Nigeria. Although the IG gave the police and himself accolades and a vote of confidence. He sees both local global ranking as political. The world sees, the world hears!
The current IGP had his superiors retired abruptly to pave way for his emergence. Majority of Nigerians expected so much from his headship of the force. Alas! The force under his command has been an elevation of incompetence and brutality and massive corruption. The IGP himself has shown so much bias and partisanship. He has forgotten that he is no longer a Divisional police officer or even a commissioner of police. He is oblivious to the fact that as the inspector-General of police, the internal security of the entire country is his priority. Should the number cop that has displayed so much bias and partisanship continue to remain in office? I think he has lost the moral right to so. Let’s examine some of his gaffes:
The crisis in Benue had erupted. In one fell swoop, over 70 people were hacked down. From Abuja, without any form of prior investigation, the IGP concluded that it was a mere communal clash. He would later recapitulate with an apology. It was late, his statement had done a lot of damage to his personality and escalated the inferno.
The president, after so much foot-dragging, ordered him (IGP) to relocate to Benue state to restore law and order. He actually relocated. A few days later, it was reported that the numero uno cop spent only a day in Benue before relocating to Nasarawa state. The killings in Benue and other neighboring States continued.
When the president visited the state (Benue) and he was told that the IGP did not stay as he (president) had ordered, the president said that he was shocked that his order was not obeyed. Those who thought that the president was going to sanction the police boss may have their hopes deflated. There were no consequences for such brazen disobedience to the commander-in-Chief.
The fact that the number one cop is a lawyer should be a plus. However, it has turned out to be a huge minus. The IGP, a supposed learned individual did not only take sides with the aggressors, he made an excuse on their behalf, that the attacks were triggered by the state’s enactment of the “Anti Open Grazing law” and also explained why the law cannot be implemented. According to him, the governor should build ranches first before its implementation. Did he become a spokesman for the aggressors?
One would recall that the law went through the entire process of lawmaking. As a lawyer by way of study, the IGP ought to know that a “bad law” can be repealed. How? Through the law courts. As an interested party, all he needed to do was to go to court on behalf of the aggressors to give a reason or some reasons why the “Anti Open Grazing Law” cannot be obeyed. His statement and general approach have so far inflamed the crisis. Is Benue state no longer an independent component unit with the power to make and implement her own laws? Till this moment, the killers are in their killing business. Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Zamfara states are currently under siege. Should the the man who has failed in his responsibility to secure Nigerians remains in office? I am absolutely on the same page with the Lawmakers who want the security chiefs to be sacked. The IGP should be the first to go.
Will the President heed the call? That lies in the womb of time. Nigerians are used to their slow-motion president and were angered that he could not bite his employee who disobeyed him. Some have alibied it to the president’s love for him which ab-initio propelled him to prematurely retired many of his superiors to pave way for his emergence. Should their personal relationship override the public good?
The magnitude of killings across Nigeria depicts the helplessness and lack of competence of those in charge of the security. The last time I checked, the primary responsibility of government was security and welfare. Any government that fails in these responsibilities is a failed one. The president and his security chiefs have failed. They have no business staying a day longer.The President should heed the order of the red and green chambers. Let him sack the security chiefs and resign as the president and commander-in-chief. He has not lived up to that title. They have all done their best and as we can all see, their best is not enough.
Comr. Oscar Okhifo is a public Affairs commentator based in Abuja