Every week in Nigeria these days comes with a lot of surprises. In this week Politics Roundup, we look at the sad, ridiculous and other events in the Nigerian political scene last week and considered some of their implications.
Among the stories, we looked at include the crash of the military aircraft that resulted in the death of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, the reckless comparison by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, the supposed death of the Boko Haram leader with nine lives, Abubakar Shekau.
Read through to find out other events we picked, why they are needful and their significances.
COAS’ death and military aircrafts
Another aircraft of the Nigerian Military, Nigerian Air Force Beachcraft 350, on Friday, May 21 crashed in Kaduna Airport, killing all the 11 passengers on board, including the newly appointed Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru.
According to a statement by the Defence Headquarters (DHQ), bad weather was the cause of the crash.
The crash made it the third aircraft of the Nigerian Military to crash in less than four months.
The sad event of May 21 calls for serious worry and urgent probe, especially as that was the third time Nigeria Military aircraft would crash in less than four months.
It incident raises serious question on the state of the country’s military aircraft and throws up issues of allegations of corruption rocking the force and its possible impacts.
The seeming unprofessionalism displayed by the military in hurriedly blaming bad weather for the crash, when it was yet to do thorough investigation into the cause of the accident, equally calls for serious concerns.
Except the military ensured there was a thorough investigation into recent crashes of its and ensure the outcome of the investigations are made known to the public, Nigerians may find it difficult to believe there is no sabotage and conspiracy in the recurring crashes.
Malami’s ‘reckless’ comparison
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, on Wednesday, May 19, likened southern governors’ recent ban of open grazing in the South to northern governors’ banning spare parts trading in the North.
Speaking during a Channels Television Programme, Politics Today, Malami said, “It is about constitutionality. Within the context of the freedoms enshrined in our constitution, can you deny a right of a Nigerian? It is as good as saying maybe the northern governors coming together to say that they prohibit spare parts trading in the North. Does it hold water? Does it hold water for a northern governor to come and state expressly that he now prohibits spare parts trading in the North?”
The AGF comparison shows how ethic and religious sentiments have permeated into serious national issues.
By the comparison, Malami seems to have given those claiming that some northern elites are covertly supporting the activities of criminal herdsmen room to justify their claims.
Though it is within the right of the AGF to air his opinion on any matter, however, considering the current tensed atmosphere in the country, it is unfortunate such an utterance emanated from a person in the position he occupies in the country.
Shekau’s death, and Nigerian Army
On Wednesday, May 19, the invisible Boko Haram strongman, Abubakar Shekau was reported killed.
The terrorist leader with nine lives, it was learnt, died after he was captured by another faction of the Boko Haram group, the Islamic State of West African Province.
Shekau was said to have blown himself up in the Sambisa forest where he was captured to avoid relinquishing power to his captors, the ISWAP terrorist group.
The death of Shekau, who the Nigerian Military made to appear invisible, if true, is a welcomed development. However, as some Nigerians have argued, it is an indictment to the nation’s security operatives.
The report that ISWAP took the battle to Shekau in the Sambisa forest, where the Nigerian Military had not been able to penetrate to fish him out, seems to illustrate that the system in the nation’s military may be very bad.
The killing of Shekau by ISWAP will remain a burden of shame to the Nigerian Military, who, despite all the resources expended on the insurgency fight, failed to either arrest or neutralized, Shekau, the number one enemy of the nation.
Alkali Baba’s ruthless order
On Tuesday, May 18, the acting Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, ordered policemen serving in the South-East states to deal ruthlessly with criminal elements and secession agitators that may want to test their will.
He issued the order when he launched a special operation, codenamed ‘Operation Restore Peace’ in the South-East geopolitical zone alongside the South-East governors at the Michael Okpara Square, Enugu.
Blaming rising insecurity in the South-East on the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Eastern Security Network (ESN), separatist agitators, the IGP was quoted to have ordered the Operation RP operatives to shoot them on sight.
“If anyone accuses you of human rights violation, the report will come to my table and you know what I will do. So, take the battle to them wherever they are and kill them all. Don’t wait for an order,” Baba was quoted to have said.
One only wonders if some Nigerians in positions of power really understand how their utterances and actions make the country appear before the comity of nations.
It is very unfortunate that in the 21st century an IGP is asking officers to commit extrajudicial killing and was proud to tell the world how he would cover such acts up.
The ruthless order by the IGP only goes to give credence to the burden of brutality and extrajudicial killings hanging on the necks of Nigeria security agencies.
It is clear that the Nigerian Police did not learn anything with EndSARs protest last year and are not ready to change their archaic approach to security matters.
Emperor El-Rufai’s vs NLC boss
Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, on Tuesday, May 18 declared Nigeria Labour Congress President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba and other leaders of the union wanted for leading workers on a protest against policies of the El-Rufai government.
The protest by the workers demanding El-Rufai reversal of the recent sacking of the state and local government civil servants, crippled economic and social activities in Kaduna.
In a tweet on his Twitter handle in response to the development, El-Rufai wrote, “KADUNA UPDATE: Ayuba Wabba & others of @NLCHeadquarters declared wanted for economic sabotage & attacks on public infrastructure under Miscellaneous Offences Act. Anyone that knows where he is hiding should send a message to @MOJKaduna KDSG. There will be a handsome reward!”
For illegally declaring NLC leaders wanted, El-Rufai may have succeeded in making Nigerians see him as an emperor.
The governor’s action also goes to show how intolerant those in the position of powers in the country, like El-Rufai, are becoming.
The governor needs to understand that Nigeria is still a democratic nation and governed by law, and that sovereignty belongs to the people and not to any emperor.