Human RightsPolitics

The police as enemy of democracy The police as enemy of democracy/6334 Reporters

6334reporters Editorial Team.

The abortive coup against Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State by eight out of 30-member State House of Assembly with the aid of the police is yet another reminder of that the police is enemy of democracy and Nigerian people.

It is quite sad that we have learnt nothing from the past, and our recidivist spirit is not ready to learn any lesson from history.

The shameful shenanigans of the police in Makurdi Monday morning should be a wake up call for Nigerians to intensify demand of a reform of the Nigeria police to make it amenable to constitutionality and right conduct. As it is current constituted ,the police is hamstrung by its lack of independence, and buoyed by indiscipline and undemocratic tendencies.

This is not the first time since the return of democracy that the police would lend a helping hand to elements within the political class, especially the presidency to assault the tenet of our hard won democracy.

This newspaper can still recall the sack of elected Governor of Anambra State ,Chris Ngige by the police in 2003 on the order of the presidency which was bent on foisting the Uba clan on the people of Anambra State.

The Governor was ousted in the police engineered coup on behalf of Uba brothers, and the Governor was subsequently locked up in a toilet from where he managed to alert the people on his travails in the hands of the then Assistant Inspector General of Police, Raphael Ige.

None of the coup leaders were made to face justice, yet at that time, President Olusegun Obasanjo , refused to act.

The same police has been in the news lately for involving itself in political quarrels of politicians. It is an open secret that Governor Nasir ElRufai of Kaduna State has been using the police to wage war of attrition and intimidation against his political enemies. He used it to frame up Senator Shehu Sani on trumped up charge of gun running, demolished the house of Senator Hunkunyi.

The same Obasanjo used the police and less than two thirds of Houses of Assembly in Ekiti and Plateau State to impeach Governors Ayodele Fayose and Joshua Dariye of Ekiti and Plateau respectively.

In Kogi State, the Governor, Yahaya Bello had enlisted police as an ally in his war against Senator Dino Melaye.

All said and done, it will be a dangerous gamble if the National Assembly continues with its state police agenda, as Governors will easily use it to suppress rivals and dissent.

In Kano, the police has proved handy in the hands of Governor Ganduje against his rival, Rabiu Kwankwanso, a Senator and former Governor of the State.

As a newspaper, we could not imagine what would have happened Monday, if there were state police in Benue.

It would have turned bloody as the Governor would have ordered a confrontation with the invading police from Abuja.

It is our view that the only way out of Involvement of police in political matter is a reform. Until there is constitutional reform of the police, it will continue to act as cannon folders in the hands of the power- that – be.

As a nation, our institutions are not ready for state police, neither is the temperament of our Governors mature enough to countenance such development with out abusing it.

The police must be made independent, such that the president can not unilaterally remove a sitting Inspector General of police.

Such removal must secure two thirds of the National and State Houses of Assembly.

That those who had at one time or the other fell victims of police action are now in the National Assembly, and yet have not initiated any bill to reform the police shows that we have learnt nothing. Dariye is a Senator in the current dispensation, and there is no record that he moved a motion for a reform of the police, despite the fact that same was used to illegally impeach him as Governor. Ngige during the time he was a Senator never raised the issue on the floor of the Senate.

The only guarantee that the police will do the right thing is when it is given independence. As long as power to appoint and dismiss rests squarely with the President, we would continue to witness its partisanship on the side of the power- that – be at any time.

And the Force will continue its assault on our democracy.


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