Due process for terrorists

MINISTER of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (retd), last week, put up a stiff defence of the establishment. Right at the centre of terror, Maiduguri in Borno State, he fed critics to the dogs, declaring that the Federal Government could not hurriedly declare bandits as terrorists.  According to the honourable minister, due process needed to be followed before designating the bandits terrorising the country as terrorists. Recently, the House of Representatives and the core northern establishment had, after years of delay, and facing imminent catastrophe, veered off script, finally asking the Muhammadu Buhari-led junta to let the beloved bandits wear the terror tag like IPOB, the Taliban (that really is no Taliban) of the East.

The Magashis of this world, like the Ife dramatist Ola Rotimi’s gods, are not to blame. The empire is above logic. When the boys that later became killers in the East started their peaceful Biafra Day celebrations, Buhari descended on them with mobile police bullets. In no time, a mere injunction was obtained in shady circumstances to declare the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) as a terror group, leaving Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen, number 3 and 4 on the Global Terrorism Index, as free agents to make sport with the blood of Nigerians. It’s no accident that the “bandits” that Buhari is unwilling to declare terrorists because of their ethnic origin have not stopped making mincemeat of their victims. In June this year, Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo luckily escaped death as the terrorists brought down an Alpha Jet belonging to the Nigerian Air Force in Zamfara State. The NAF Spokesman, Edward Gabkwet, said that the jet “came under intense enemy fire which led to its crash in Zamfara State.”

Nigeria’s presidency under Buhari is of pestilential proportion, and Dairo’s providential escape should give no false assurances: the majority of contacts with Fulani terror do not, indeed cannot, escape, because escape in the ecology of blood lust is high treason. As a victim recounted recently, the Fulani murderers who abducted her killed a girl in her presence, set the body on fire, and ate some of the flesh. They also drank the blood of their victims. And lest we forget, they defecate, as a Yoruba man of books lucky to escape told the BBC some time ago, in the same stream from which they drink. Naturally, the nation recoiled in horror when recently a Twitter user revealed the abomination that the Presidency’s beloved bandits recently committed in one of the northern states. A pregnant woman kidnapped by the outlaws gave birth in their captivity, apparently without any help, and right before her eyes her twin babies were fed to their dogs. The woman ran mad. Yes, she ran mad, but Buhari and his men are exponents and advocates of due process—like the one they deployed in removing the Chief Justice of Nigeria through a magistrate under the Executive, very close to the 2019 sham elections—and are still waiting for Godot before declaring bandits as terrorists. Some time ago, a woman on the staff of ABUTH that was kidnapped at Mil Goma and ceaselessly raped through her womanhood and anus, till she developed a psychiatric disorder. Many victims remain tied to trees in forests, famished to lifelessness and chained down like dogs, their corpses polluting even the naked sun.

In June, there was chaos in Igangan community in Oyo State as the Fulani killers, fresh after their genocide in Ebonyi State where they cut down 50 souls in cold blood, slaughtered 11 people and set many houses, shops, a petrol station and the palace of the traditional ruler of the community on fire. The chief enabler of this reign of terror pretended to be a patriot on May 29, 2015, deploying linguistic subterfuge: “I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody”, a false appeal to fairness. Dressed in borrowed robes of integrity, he lulled a numb nation to sleep and perfected his craft. The Senate—invaded twice by the secret police derisively dubbed the Daura Secret Service by traumatized Nigerians—and the Supreme Court paid for their toothless existence in deadly raids.

The Ugandan poet, Henry Barlow, masterfully approaches the Establishment/Empire’s deployment of linguistic subterfuge in lines, per T.S Eliot, not worth forgetting: “I attended to matters of state/Highly delicate diplomatic duties you know/And friend, it goes against my grain/Causes me stomach ulcers and wind.” The Permanent Secretary in the discourse world of these lines just built the nation by attending “an urgent function, a luncheon at the Vic” marked by “cold bell beer with small talk/then fried chicken with niceties/wine to fill the hollowness of the laughs/Ice-cream to cover the stereotype jokes and, of course, coffee to keep him “awake on the return journey. But he portrays himself and his driver who has not had anything to eat the whole day as suffering from the same pain, the same hunger, in the onerous duty of building the nation!

But on this question of linguistic subterfuge I can think of no better example than Owell’s Nineteen Eighty Four where the thought police, like Buhari and his men now do, oppress the populace through what is called projection, ascribing their own subversive thoughts to perceived dissidents and mutilating them. Buhari and his band are masters at projection: Igboho is planning to overthrow the government while Fulani terrorists who matched from Niger Republic and negotiated Niger State through the Federal Capital Territory recently are “kinsmen” of their victims who should be accommodated. After all, per his spokesmen, it is better to give up your ancestral lands for the use of the Fulani terrorists than to risk death. This is no question of cerebral challenge as many allege: it’s all about the empire and its darkness of soul.


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