The arrest of Katsina protest leader

IT is concerning that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is fast becoming notorious for the suppression of dissent in the country. And it is saddening that it has exhibited this deplorable trait in clear cases where citizens have indubitable reasons to express disapproval of government policies or outright failure of governance. There seems to be a gradual impairment of the fundamental rights of citizens as those who hold and express opinion contrary to that of government about governance are being harassed and hounded. Or how does one describe the arrest of Citizen Nastura Ashir Sharif, the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), for leading a peaceful protest to deplore government’s ineptitude in tackling the lingering and unmitigated destruction of life and property in Katsina and many other states in the North?

Has it now become a crime to express grievances within the ambit of the law? Is Citizen Sharif’s claim about the incessant and gruesome killing of his compatriots untrue? Has peaceful protest become a crime rather than the right of citizens?  Was the government expecting everyone to keep quiet  in the face of the grave security situation in the land?  Is the country sliding into dictatorship?  That Nigeria is in a dire security state is not new; what is worrying is the official inability to tackle the challenge head-on, and it should not be out of place to speak up.  The Boko Haram terrorists are still active, wrecking  havoc in the North-East; killer herdsmen remain pernicious in the North Central and in some parts of the South; cases of kidnapping, armed robbery and rape are on the ascendancy in different parts of the country. Armed bandits are literally holding the North-West by the jugular, especially in Zamfara, Kaduna and Katsina states.

The scary figures of casualties arising from the heinous activities of the bandits in these states are not mere statistics to those who have lost their loved ones and suffered the destruction of their means of livelihood. It is therefore natural for those negatively impacted by the activities of the brigands to speak up against the mindless killings and economic ruins being foisted on them, especially when government appears to be incapable of reining in their atrocities. The official fuss over a peaceful protest that did not even require any rigorous justification was in bad taste. Even in the traditionally conservative segment of the society, murmurings have started to yield ground to loud complaints because of the grim nature of insecurity in the country.

For instance, a few days ago, the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of Jama’atu Nasir Islam (JNI), Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, in ventilating his frustration over the escalating insecurity in the land, had this to say: ‘JNI is in utter shockwave over the unfortunate repeated losses of precious lives and wanton destruction of property arising from well coordinated attacks of armed bandits, Boko Haram terrorist group and rapists. These repeated calamitous scenario would have been avoided had the government risen to the occasion.” The feeling of disappointment that official efforts to tackle insecurity are inadequate is across board, it is not limited to ordinary Nigerians.

To be sure, it is appreciated that addressing insecurity associated with insurgency, banditry and other  forms of asymmetrical/guerrilla conflict have never been a piece of cake anywhere in the world.  It is equally understood that some of these security challenges predated the current administration and so no one is blaming it of orchestrating  the challenges, neither is it being accused of making no efforts at all. Nonetheless, government should not expect to be applauded for efforts that have consistently produced results that are different from what it promised Nigerians. And to resort to harassment and intimidation of citizens who dare speak up on the appalling level of insecurity in the country is undemocratic, farcical and unacceptable. Unfortunately, peaceful protests are often misconstrued as adversarial within official circles, whereas they are, in a sense, symptomatic of the protesters’ confidence in the government’s capacity to make amends because those who have given up on government would rather resort to self-help than stage protests.

Though he should not have been arrested in the first place, there are indications that Sharif was released by the police following relentless pressure on the authorities from local and international sources. But then, the spokesman for the Katsina State Police command, Superintendent of Police Gambo Isah, has also confirmed the arrest of 16 other protesters to be arraigned in court on charges of politically-instigated protest, incitement, disturbance and unlawful assembly. This is wrong as it infringes on the protesters’ freedom of assembly and expression. We urge official consciousness of the fact that the country is in a democracy and, therefore, the police should release the youths unconditionally and without further delay. The way to go, rather than dissipating energy on silencing voices of dissent, is to rejig the security apparatus, framework and strategy in order to evolve a virile and potent state security force that can ensure that non-state actors will cease to unleash violence on the citizenry with reckless abandon while government that is vested with the monopoly of violence watches helplessly.

 

YOU SHOULD NOT MISS THESE HEADLINES FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

 

Massive shake-up in Aso Rock security architecture
THE recent serious fiasco in security at the Aso Rock Villa has warranted a massive reorganisation of the security architecture at the country’s seat of power. The development is connected with security breach, particularly the shooting incident that rocked the Villa for about two weeks… Read Full Story

Nigeria Records 661 New Cases Of COVID-19, Total Now 19,808
Nigeria’s coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, on Friday, increased to 19,808 as 661 new infections were announced by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)… Read Full Story

APC crisis: INEC in dilemma over Edo primary
AHEAD tomorrow’s conduct of the All Progressives Congress (APC) direct primary to produce its standard-bearer for the Edo State governorship election, the Independent  National Electoral Commission (INEC) appears to be in a quandary on whether or not to supervise the process… Read Full Story

Panic, Gloom… •Experts Reveal What COVID-19 Pandemic Portends For Nigeria’s Economy
WHEN Nigerians, at the beginning of the year, expressed their reservations about the 2020 budget, especially the signing of the Finance Bill, which, they argued, would further impoverish the common man, little did they envisage the advent of a public health crisis, in form of COVID-19, throw economies of individuals… Read Full Story

COVID-19: EU, UN Hand Over Medical Supplies To Nigeria
European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN) have received and handed over urgently needed essential medical supplies to the Nigerian Government to fight COVID-19 pandemic in the country… Read Full Story

I Did Not Stop Investigation Of NIRSAL ― Malami
The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) has denied an online report that he stopped the investigation of the Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL)… Read Full Story

Security: It Is Buhari’s Call, Not Buratai’s
President Muhammadu Buhari, last Thursday, gave a damning verdict on the nation’s security and intelligence chiefs when he told them that their best was not good enough for the nation and that he would no longer take any excuse from them for the rising insecurity in the land. According to the National Security Adviser… Read Full Story

Edo: Of Oshiomhole, Saraki’s Snail And Naked Masquerade Allegories
COURT-SUSPENDED All Progressives Party (APC) Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, a few days before his court ouster, subtly flexed his power muscles and demonstrated a commendable grasp of African proverbs and aphorisms. Taking to his Twitter handle to do this, Oshiomhole had aptly announced that his smallish… Read Full Story

90 Days Of Pandemonium: A Nation At War With COVID-19
WHEN the Nigerian Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Coronavirus codenamed COVID-19 was constituted on Tuesday, March 17, the mandate was clear. With a timeline of six months, the body was assigned to “strengthen the national response strategy, particularly in the areas of testing, containment and management… Read Full Story

Resident Doctors Set To Call Off Nationwide Strike, As NGF Intervenes
The leadership of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) on Saturday night communicated its resolve to suspend the ongoing nationwide strike which commenced on Monday, 16th June 2020… Read Full Story

Alleged Rape Saga: D’banj May Lose UN Ambassador Status
Just days after marking his 40th birthday, Nigerian singer and multiple award winner, D’banj has not been finding things funny as the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has ordered a probe into the allegations of rape levelled against him… Read Full Story

Nigeria’s New Rapeublic: Where Repulsively Rapacious Men Prey On Female Gender
TWENTY-TWO-YEAR-OLD Vera Uwaila Omozuwa had hoped to become an evangelist due to her passion for the gospel of Christ. Since the lockdown and closure of places of worship occasioned by the dreaded coronavirus pandemic began, the young lady had always sought the quietude of her church premises to study… Read Full Story

76 Nigerians Killed By COVID-19 In One Week
SEVENTY-SIX Nigerians died of COVID-19 in the last week, data from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) have shown. Also, 273 patients died of the disease in the country between May 20 and June 18, 2020… Read Full Story

You might also like
Comments

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. AcceptRead More