Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Michael Irene: A tale of two Nigerian forces

Dada Ogunsanya, a member of the Nigerian Police Force, brutally assaulted Mr. Ejeh Smith and his wife, Grace some days ago in Ikoyi, Lagos. According to reports, the couple didn’t deserve Ogunsanya’s gun butt or his boots in their body but then again, that’s the meaning of force in Nigerian police—brutality, senselessness and barbarity.
What’s more interesting was when Ogunsanya’s Divisional Police Officer, Mrs. Aisha Haruna, shamefully ordered that the recorded event captured by the victim’s wife on her phone be deleted and went ahead to blast the couple for not “knowing how to talk” to authorities. By not “knowing how to talk” to members of Nigerian authorities, one could be inviting brutality and at times, even death.
There are numerous examples and cases of police brutality and it is still an on-going event in Nigeria. How can Nigerians, therefore, ensure that victims like Ejeh Smith and his wife, Grace, who got a generous thrashing from the police, get justice?

The Nigerian army recently displayed another meaning of force. Recently, a Facebook post by one Mr. Fahat Fahat, a member of the Nigerian Army Force and who, unfortunately, is among the Fifty-nine soldiers being court-martialed in Nigeria after being accused of refusing to fight militant Islamist group Boko Haram, went viral when he posted a chilling status: “Hello ladies and gentle men. I am soldier and I am sentence to death by the Nigeria army (sic). Cause we did not go to fight boko haram with out equipment (sic). We ask for weapon insted dem gave * death sentence (sic).
If, for sure, Mr. Fahat posted that status himself then he should be given an award for bravery. In a country like Nigeria, where the military is defined by craziness and zombie attitudes, one cannot imagine a mere sergeant going on social media to report his bosses.
The soldier’s cry raises pertinent issues and there are two views gaining space in on going debates. Fahat, one group argues, should be ready to face any type of battle regardless of the type of weapons because he has signed to serve his nation. Another group argues that any one, who joins Nigerian army office, has already signed their death sentence because the pay is bad, the soldiers are treated with disregard and the country treats them like shit. They blame the Nigerian government for their insensitive acts.
Fahat and his colleague said, No!, they won’t go to a bomb fight with mere guns. For their disrespectful nature, the Nigerian government wants to sentence these stubborn heads to death. Soldiers have to always follow orders but sometimes these orders can be termed illegal and unlawful. In this Nigerian situation, can we term the rejection of orders by Fahat and his crew as unlawful or can we term the order has illegal?
Whatever side you support, the tales of forces in Nigeria is always laden with confusions and labyrinths that cannot be deciphered easily. Nigerians must begin to debate on how to remove the force within these forces if they need concrete answers.
Twitter: @moshoke
Email: moshoke@yahoo.com

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