Saturday, 1 August 2009

Nigeria: The Grim Reaper in the police station

They kill with impunity

As incredible as it sounds, it is reported that Nigerians are not surprised [1] that the anyone in police custody gets killed, the explanation surrounding these misfortunes is the well worn story that the suspect was attempting escape.

The mind then boggles about how porous, ineffective and lax policing and custody facilities are in the Nigerian Police Force, it makes one wonder if the locks on the cell doors are really personnel with fingers on the trigger ready to shoot at any rustle before checking what might be happening.

Delivered alive and died in custody

The dispute currently going on [2] amongst the security forces is that the leader of the Boko Haram sect was captured alive by the army, he had an arm wound which was treated and was handed alive, hale and hearty to the police. Not long after, he ended up dead in custody, under the premise that he was attempting escape.

If that was not troublesome enough, the army also delivered alive to the hands of the police the suspected financier of the Boko Haram sect, Alhaji Buji Foi and he has also been shot dead [3] in custody.

A grudge settled?

This is beginning to look not like wanton lawlessness within the law but a grudge match of vengeful revenge where the loss of police lives in the heat of the skirmish is now been paid for in the comfort of the Police Headquarters by an executioner who might think justice is served by summarily killing the people who brought on the melee.

As the report goes, Alhaji Buji Foi was captured and had his hands bound behind him by the army as they took him first to the governor’s office and then to the police headquarters.

What I find incredible and I wonder if the correspondent attempted to review that write-up before publication is that someone delivered bound to the police ended up in a gun battle with the police using the double-barrelled he had acquired whilst he was a commissioner in an erstwhile regime.

As the announcer suggests, “The sect leader did not survive the injuries he sustained at the battle field, after he was picked up. He died Thursday afternoon.”

I suppose this is the battle field of the Police Force Headquarters because as far as the army was concerned the men delivered to the police were not in need of any hospital care else they would have been in hospital under guard receiving treatment.

Carelessness beyond words

It belies a level of gross incompetence and carelessness on the part of the police that these two events can happen and they can unashamedly concoct a cock and bull story that they expect Nigerians to swallow with question.

This is one time for the government of Nigeria to stand up and be counted on their Rule of Law mantra and get to the bottom of these atrocious acts of extrajudicial killings borne from negligence at least and collusion at worst.

One can become conspiratorial and suggest that the reason these people were eliminated was because they could provide links to even more senior members of society who condoned Boko Haram [4] and its activities since 2002.

Boko Haram is not dead

The spectre of Boko Haram however has not left Nigeria, their women and children have been fully indoctrinated in that philosophy as the matriarch said “All we want is to be re-united with our families so that we can continue with our faith. My children will not go to formal school because it is against our faith.”

One can expect in a decade or so the brood would be up in arms seeking revenge for the killing of their fathers who were not allowed the opportunity to state their case before a jury of their peers before they were killed off like animals, in police custody.

These crimes must not go unpunished.

Sources

[1] BBC NEWS | Africa | Brutal reality of Nigeria killing

[2] BBC NEWS | Africa | Nigeria row over militant killing

[3] Boko Haram Suspected Financier Executed | Nigerian Guardian Newspapers

[4] Boko Haram - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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