Extra-Judicial Killings: We should all be Alarmed!

by Michael Oluwagbemi II

Something is wrong with a society when it accepts unbridled violence whether such comes from the citizens against the state, and especially when it comes from the state against the people. The state is big; be very afraid when the state acts on the basis of fear and paranoia because bad things do happen. The height of such has been the ongoing extrajudicial killing in Borno state related to the Baku Harem incident. The more disturbing fact is that people of goodwill have been numbed to silence. It is like unlike Odi, or moreso after Kaima, after Odi, after Malu Village, Anyiin, Gbeji, Zaki-Bian and Vaase, after Gbaramatu Kingdom, now comes this?

If the Nigerian state will not protect her citizens from their own excesses, should it also then kill them to satisfy the notion of peace for elitist satisfaction? Who benefits from this much sought peace in Nigeria, and can there really be peace in the midst of poverty, ignorance, class chasm, inequality and pervasive injustice? Can the state claim moral equivalence when it perpetuates policies that promote injustice and the ignorance that spur people of good and bad will to violent action that precedes these state sponsored massacres? What is becoming of us as a people? Where is our sense of decency?

What happened in Borno state should be condemned by all. It should not just be human rights group coming out against the killing of citizens’ caught and murdered alive by the state. It started it with the sect leader, and sooner than later the Press confirmed nine other Nigerians (like it or hate it) were caught alive by the military, handed over to the police and were then shot and deposited at the mortuary without investigation, prosecution or sentencing! Are we animals? This is state sponsored terrorism at its best.

The danger if we do not speak up is that we will pay with the blood of patriots down the road, when the state sensing danger from legitimate uprising to pervasive injustice in the country will lay down the law, and slaughter them all in the name of keeping the peace. The big, bad powerful state will not stop at anything to conserve the narrow selfish power it wields over the people, and the worst instrument we should hand this big bully is the power of life and death without recourse to due process. What happened in Borno is a antithesis to the philosophy of modern state power held at the behest of the people.

Enough is enough. Nigerians die daily of state negligence. Our roads, hospitals and airlines are modern hangers noose masquerading as infrastructures provided by the state. The negligence of our security forces have forced us to live in daily fear of our lives when we sleep in our bed, visit the banks or even take our children to school. Is it not the case that little pleasures of life like a walk in the park, a visit to the museum or a live show in the theatre has been extinguished by the fiery fires of armed robbers, and snatching firepower of kidnappers? The state was and remains culpable in these acts of negligence.

But if negligence were a passive crime by all account, murder most definitely is not. Killing ordinary and may be innocent (at least until proven guilty in a court of law) Nigerians is an utter abuse of state power and has repeatedly been the sad story of the Nigerian security forces- both police and army (even though the military in this instance is acting like Pontius Pilate). The legislature should also be ashamed as the culpable blame for the lopsided reaction to security challenges, which has always nearly been to procure more firepower for the security forces, has always engendered this mentality.

Would our big time Senators and Representatives, explore the possibility that their penchant for looting the state treasury breeds the kind of security challenges that forces the nation to her knees? Why won’t they explore the role social inequity, the unparalleled regional education gap, the poor quality of the education where it exists, and limited job opportunities even where the citizens have some form of mediocre education, created or worsened by the state they preside over? Who needs a foreign supplied Armored Vehicle for the police to shoot their way to foil an armed robbery (in the process killing more than they save), where an investment of the state in power infrastructure will take millions of armed robbers off the street?

It is sad that in the 21st century, when an enlightened compact between the governed and the governors is commonplace, Nigeria appears to be taking rapid steps backwards into jungle justice. If this is the kind of country we dream for our children, where the state kills and destroys the lives of the innocent without recourse to the courts and their peers then save me this thrash!

You may also like

Leave a Comment