When this government comes into power, for some time, people hear buzz about probing (punishing) ex-political leaders of certain parties, and when these parties come into power; they hear buzz about punishing former ministers. Those actions are more or less politically-motivated maneuvers or a plot to deceive Nigerians that the government is doing something, but at the end, none gets ever punished in this game. These governors, ministers and political leaders live a life as above-the-law creatures. Even ex-president Obasanjo had refused to appear in court to defend charges against him by the Lower House Power probe panel. Not only that, when their appeal to supreme court went against them; were landed in the EFCC custody; awaiting trial from the prison while the culprit went on defying the orders of supreme court and verbally abusing and insulting the supreme court itself! These leaders and the cohorts consider themselves above all the jurisdictions and legislations.
Regarding human-rights, it is not unknown to the international community that enormous human-rights violations during a decade long conflict which had death toll of more than 13000 with hundreds other gone missing are not being seriously investigated by the government, despite the repeated requests from bodies like OHCHR and Amnesty International; punishing any of them is far-away thing, they are walking in public openly and boasting their deeds.
Whether it’s case of heinous crimes like Odi incidence or issues of hundreds of disappeared ones both by the Niger Delta communities and this government, the government is not serious at all to take any actions. The Niger Delta militants are still wielding their arms in public and killing people even after enjoining their representatives in the national assembly. They are to join the government within few days, but their militancy seems soaring. Even from the recent activities within a last one month period or so, it becomes completely evident that they are not respecting human-rights at all, and have continued numerous cases of terrorism including attacks on mass-meetings of other parties, murder, abduction, kidnapping, extortion and forcing children into PLAs and their mass-gatherings. More importantly, the government shouldn’t give protection to all these crimes, rather should investigate the cases and punish the criminals. Whether it’s the recent clash in a Niger Delta community of Delta State where police themselves were found to be involved in looting and attacking indigenes, or Bayelsa case where the militants shot a teenager, seized the body and forced to cremate, or several other cases of public attacks and killing by Militants after that, none of them are being seriously investigated to know the perpetrators. The case of killing of more than thirty people in recent uprising in Opokuma in Bayelsa by “excessive use of forces” by this government has gone to limbo, despite a number of requests for investigation from the international bodies as well.
Most of the current lawmakers in the national assembly representing the Niger Delta are not elected one, but major parties have divided the seats among themselves and formed the interim consensus that created controversial winning which is yet unresolved up till now.. But decisions even in this national assembly are just dictated by less than half a dozen major leaders only. The national assembly has been there just for okaying things that they decide. Such unelected “representathieves” has been taking many critical decisions without feeling any need for public consultation, which is completely undemocratic. This is breaching the rights to free speech which have been clearly violated frequently. For example, when majority leaders voiced their opinions against the review of the constitution through a peaceful public assembly in Minna, they were put behind the bars. The journalists have been attacked by the government’s forces on several occasion raising the concerns about press-freedom, unless they publish materials in support of the government.The constitution review made without elected assembly has been claimed to give dictatorial powers to the presidency.
There have been efforts to provide no opposition at all in the national assembly. In the words of Senator Chukwumerije, ‘It will be unacceptable to our party to incorporate provision to have opposition in the national assembly.’ How can an unelected lawmaker without opposition be called democratic? Current lawmakers have not shown only undemocratic and above-the-law behaviours, but are more inclined towards the way of terrorism. They have found attempting to enter three-arm building with weapons and thugs. One of them threatened members of the House belonging to other parties with a pistol inside the House, challenging, ‘I had the weapon registered with the UN and brought it here. If you have the capacity to take action for my rough remarks, you can arrest me.’ A bill on political parties has been presented in the House which makes it illegal for political parties to announce issues, which effectively means ban on voicing opinions against the government. This is somewhat akin to how Abachas system banned political parties. This bill suppresses the rights of all minorities and the ruling party to raise their voices, and clearly represents dictatorship of major parties in the coalition. There have been numerous attacks on mass-meetings of other parties, both by the Niger Delta communities and other parties’ activists. This clearly violates the democratic right of public assembly. Rather than addressing the Niger Delta problem through dialogues, the voices raised by millions of the communities inside the House in recent uprising have been suppressed by mobilizing thousands of armed military forces and excessive use of forces, killing dozens of people and injuring hundreds others. This strategy of using forces to full capacity and crushing the voices of people is clear signal for dictatorship. These all facts show that the government is not respecting democratic values, and is mostly leading towards the formation of an autocratic regime.
Fiscal allocations given to such a government, which does not respect human-rights and democratic values and is not accountable, will effectively nurture the dictatorship and militancy and will lead to more corruption, more human-rights violation, and possibly even genocides. It will only allow the militants to use the funds and other resources under the cover of Nigerian government, and will turn the Niger Delta into a fertile breeding ground of militants. Even funding specifically for certain projects in area like education is dangerous at such time, as it allows the government to essentially divert its funds, which it would have otherwise spent on fulfilling those basic needs, to buy arms, recruit cadres and nurture militancy.
Therefore, until and unless Nigerian government and its all coalition partners conform to democratic values, handle the revenues and loans with proper accountability, respect human-rights, ensure the rights of all groups, investigate into all human-rights violations and cases of disappearances and end the culture of impunity, Nigeria should be considered for promoting under economic cankerworm to destroy the labour of our past heroes. Unless, Otherwise, it will take no time to turn Nigeria into a fertile breeding ground of militants, and the ripple of their atrocities and heinous crimes will not be confined within the border of Nigeria, but will shake the opposite side of globe as well. The case of Taliban regime in Afghanistan can just serve as an example.
Also, other diplomatic solution regarding the Niger Delta insurgency, as per the tripartite agreement among their governors, Nigerian Government and UN, is on the verge of failing. Despite the Niger Delta communities had signed the comprehensive peace deals, they have already breached the agreement, by leaving camps in thousands, still possessing illegal weapons, not submitting all weapons and still continuing terro
rism without showing any sign of slowing down. This shows the possibility of effectively “capturing government soldiers with arms” by militants whether it be in visible and bloody form, or just an invisible “coup” labeled with different deluding political slogans. In such a circumstance, economic sanction can prove a better and effective means to convert them into a rule-abiding political party respecting human rights and democratic values.