Sunday 23 November 2008

Nigeria: Ribadu and kids get bundled out of NIPSS graduation

The law of the Slave Coast

If there is any need for proof that Nigeria is operating in the realms of the law of Slave Coast one should look no further than this event.

Whilst I am of the opinion that Sahara Reporters [1] can be too sensational for my liking, they seem to be getting scoops about events in Nigeria that make you think again about whether there really is a democracy in that country.

The news is that the erstwhile chairman of the EFCC – Nuhu Ribadu – who was unceremoniously removed to embark on a course, demoted to a position which would have made his attendance of the course incompatible two-thirds through the course has now been barred from graduating [2] from the course on completion.

Barred is a polite expression, in fact, he was bundled [3] out the auditorium of the graduation ceremony whilst the miscreants of the state apparatus manhandled his wife, his six children and the guests who came to celebrate his graduation.

Do-or-die MO

Only two days before, he was cleared for graduation after numerous clandestine efforts by security agencies working under the auspices of persons in power to bar him from the NIPSS.

In fact, after the litany of harassments the man had been subjected to, one paper had already concluded that he had won the battle [4] only not to have anticipated that if the authorities cannot use legal means, cajole officials, threaten persons or suspend personnel, they would send in their brutes.

The authorities have a do-or-die modus operandi to get their way regardless of the means and ways to the contempt of any due process just because they have the power to act even if their acts are illegal. The fight to protect and enforce his rights [5] continues.

The fight against corruption

This man’s offence is to have doggedly pursued demigods in Nigeria who had abused their offices, looted the treasury but had beelines to the highest authorities in the country.

Ridding Nigeria of the malignant cancer of corruption is a dangerous task, lip-service is paid to the activity by the government as small fry become the banners of the exercise whilst the most corrupt seek to manipulate and frustrate the process.

This episode leaves one rather saddened by the developments on the Slave Coast [6], the country is receding into a state of lawlessness spearheaded by the Attorney-General – a whole series of stories appears on Sahara Reporters about how the fight against graft and corruption is being compromised.

Sahara Reporters – A worthy cause

In the West, a web site like Sahara Reporters [1] would have little credibility, but I am beginning to see the need for this kind of organisation in Nigeria.

The most populous democracy in Africa does not have the underpinning foundations necessary for a thriving democracy; our elections are hardly free and fair, the press is hardly free, the judiciary is under siege from vexatious legal manoeuvres seeking to undermine fairness and justice, the freedom of information act languishes in our legislative chambers.

There has to be an outlet for issues, events, episodes and stories that are inimical to the process and development of Nigeria, we cannot have situations where we all hope things would turn out right and then find that our leaders are in the middle of the mess that makes Nigeria worse than it should be.

If there were transparency in the matters of government and business, the need for Sahara Reporters would be moot, but in the absence of the freedom, boldness and courage of mainstream Nigerian media to report on controversial issues that expose people in power as unrepentantly corrupt but masquerading as respectable; a bit of guerrilla reporting as championed by Sahara Reporters is welcome and should be encouraged until things begin to improve in Nigeria.

The more those in power realise that the world of secrecy concerning their activities can only be perfected in the Great Beyond and that every little deal risks exposure if found to be slightly suspect, the greater the hope we can have of Nigeria coming back from the law of the Slave Coast.

Here’s to Sahara Reporters [1] – reluctantly but necessarily.


[1] Sahara Reporters : News, Interviews, Articles, Reports, Photos, Events and Happenings in Nigeria

[2] [UPDATED: Nuhu Ribadu Dragged Out Of NIPSS Graduation Hall: Sahara Reporters News

[3] The Punch: Security operatives whisk away Ribadu

[4] The Punch: Bitter memories as Ribadu graduates from NIPSS

[5] Nigeria: Court Grants Ribadu Leave to Enforce Rights

[6] Nigeria: Living on the Slave Coast []

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