Years back Nigeria has suffered from the heinous attacks of the Boko Haram insurgents. It is evident that since its inception, the terrorist group is responsible for the loss of over 35,000 lives and destruction of people’s properties, a terrorist group who has turned many to homeless, wifeless, widow and many children to orphans. No remedy, no successful counter attack and no victory. Yet the governments and its officials are celebrating the repentance of the Boko Haram an action of which is capable of encumbering our nascent democracy and putting lives and properties into jeopardy.
To start with, Nigeria is a democratic state governed by the tenet of rule of law, social justice and equity. It is worthy of say that the Nigerian army are really trying their best but a question which is devoid of answer it is that; what is the cause of its persistent failure against the country’s enemy? Recently, a lot of successes has been recorded which resulted in large numbers of the terrorists repenting and surrendering in the north east as a consequence of the relentless efforts of the armed forces, intelligence and the security agencies and instead of strong measures of the law to be taken by the government, concerned authorities have unlawfully discharged, pardoned and released the Boko Haram terrorists and bandits who hides under the guise of repentance, pangs of conscience, remorsefulness and contriteness.
In the contrary, the government who has acquitted cases of national security has frowned at concerned citizens who are only concerned about the plight of the country. We have peaceful agitators who are agitating against terrorism in detention but the terrorists that have killed scores of thousands are pardoned. This is saddening. The glory and future of our democracy and the corporate existence of our country lies in a bleak.
Funnily enough, Nigeria as a federation is governed by the principle of constitutionalism and the doctrine of rule of law with a constitution which dictates the doings of everyone both the ruler and the ruled. The section 1(1) of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria states that; “this constitution is supreme and its provision shall have binding force on all authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria”. Since the constitution is unchanged and still valid till date then we cannot agree less for the Boko Haram whose actions though are punishable under the law but are forgiven and overlooked by the government without any trial in any court of jurisdiction whatsoever. The concerned authorities who have neglected the part of justice for these criminals will take it upon themselves to punish anybody who is trying to drive affinity into the country’s throne of impunity. This is a miscarriage of justice. The constitution guarantees freedom of speech and expression under section 39(1) which states that; “every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impact ideas and information without inference”. Though this also have exemptions but can we really compare it to persons who are killing unjustifiably without no constitutional backing not to even talk of them going out of its provisions and are still pampered by the authorities.
Moving on, it is only the executive president who has the power to give prerogative of mercy and not the military body. One thing I love about the Nigerian constitution is its clarity to all matters. Then I am surprised, and even not moved when people act against its provisions. Any criminal arrested by the army should be handed over to the attorney general for appropriate jurisdiction. That is why we have separation of powers. The duty of one organ of government cannot be presided upon by another organ. The Nigerian army is not a court then why should it convict and free a presumed innocent person under the law. How do you know he is a Boko Haram when a court of law has not pronounced him to be a Boko Haram. Section 36(5) of the 1999 constitution as amended states that; “every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be innocent until he is proven guilty”.
In due course, there are some presumed differences between the terrorists who are ACQUITTED and the activists who are ARRESTED and jailed. Terrorists fights with gun, activists fights with words, terrorists makes people cry, activists gives them hope, terrorist destroys the hope of a better future, activists renews the hope. There are hundreds of ways which is far beyond my juxtapositions between terrorists and activists. Then why should a constitutional governed state punish activists who are only voicing out their displeasure with an instrument of their right trying to make the country healthy and livable.
Furthermore, the government neglecting its role in protecting and safeguarding the lives and properties of the people which is one its primary aim as speculated under section 14(2b) of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria is unfair, ill-fated and unlawful. As my people will say ‘the government is leaving her leprosy to kill ringworm’. Instead of facing her real problem, instead of meting out a punishment to the country’s enemy, the government of Nigeria is busy pampering her enemy by granting them unjust amnesty while she treats activists like her real enemy punishing them unconstitutionally, jailing them without due process of the law.
Conclusively, Boko Haram is playing the tune and the government is merely dancing along. You cannot quench a fire by setting more places ablaze. Nigeria should not sit limply while that who defies her law goes freely. To fight the war of Boko Haram to a standstill the Nigeria government should not treat the terrorist with courtesy but as criminals who should be taken within the strong arm of the law. But by doing otherwise, the government is not doing well enough to handle the current security issue and will be questioned for neglecting its responsibility in this regard.