Plot to make police scapegoat -By Brian Jatto

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Plot to make police scapegoat -By Brian Jatto


These are not normal times in Nigeria. Apart from terrorism that has become a cankerworm in the body politics of the country, the politicians themselves appear to be spuriously engaged either in self-destruct or simply put, a war of attrition. And in this war, everything is involved – intimidation, blackmail, uncouth languages and all manner of destructive propaganda. The latest victim of this unholy development is the Nigerian Police.

The stage was set at the so-called “Salvation Rally” organised by the All Progressives Congress (APC), which was held at the Eagles’ Square, Abuja, on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 and attended by almost all of its principal promoters. At the rally, where the principal speakers, like General Muhammadu Buhari; the APC National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun and Rivers State Governor Chibuike Amaechi threw decorum to the winds and directed their vituperations and angst at President Goodluck Jonathan and the Nigeria Police. Governor Amaechi, who acted as the main attack dog, later led an unruly crowd of “APC supporters” to the Force Headquarters to “register their protest” with the Inspector General of Police. This was coming after Amaechi lambasted the President and the police for doing its lawful duties.

Amaechi had said: “Today will mark the beginning of our resistance to the President’s attempt at owning the Nigeria Police and keeping the military in his pocket. They are either the Nigeria Police or Goodluck Jonathan’s Police. They must choose one from today. Today, all of us must decide as a nation whether we will allow the President to continue to disobey court orders. The court has said that he should give back (sic) the Speaker his security details, (sic) and the President has disobeyed.”

This event, coming 24 hours before Tambuwal’s invasion of the National Assembly’s precincts and countermanding lawful police orders during which some policemen carrying out their assigned duties were assaulted, was nothing but a deliberate and well-rehearsed provocative act directed principally at the Nigeria Police.

The two events of Wednesday, November 19 and Thursday, November 20, 2014, organised, funded and promoted by the opposition APC, are too inter-twined, in terms of focus, direction, objective and impact to be mere happenstances. The nexus between the two happenings can be gleaned from the intent of the APC and its sympathisers to draw and suck the Nigeria Police into a whirlpool or vortex of blame games, thereby pitting it against the citizenry, who are daily being fed a staple of half-truths, untruths and barefaced fabrications.

The November 20, 2014 Police/Tambuwal encounter is a routine happening between a lawfully assigned agency of the state, intercepting and scuttling a pre-arranged disturbance of the peace and the reactions of a law breaker and his collaborators, who were out to overwhelm the Nigeria Police in a show of strength. Kudos must go to the police contingent and its officer profile for the diplomacy and tact in resisting the verbal and physical attacks aimed at provoking them to act according to APC’s laid-down scripts of ruining the image of the Nigeria Police before the general elections of 2015.

It is apparent that there is palpable fear, within the top echelon of the party, of losing out in the 2015 general elections, particularly, the presidential election and enough mind-bending of the citizenry had to be done to justify the party’s threat of forming a parallel government in the event that the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party retains the position next year.

One is wont to ask: Why transfer aggression to the Nigeria Police? The police are not a political party, but a legally constituted organisation saddled, among others, with the responsibility to maintain law and order in the society. The police, ordinarily, keep the peace and are empowered to ensure pre-conceived adherence to laid-down electoral rules and obligations before, during and after elections. It is the fear of the police doing this job that has energised some desperate politicians to battle-stations with strict orders to embarrass, harass and scare the police away from the strict application of its mandate and pave the way for “business as usual”.

In their quest to make the police comatose and incapable of performing these assigned duties, deliberately programmed scenarios are created or set up to “lasso” it, albeit unwittingly, to curry public favour and empathy for political gains. In the process, the Nigeria Police is vilified, demonised, denigrated, battered and blamed for indiscretions committed by the politicians who are driven by a strong desire to transfer their unconcealed angst on the police, which, in this case, is the available “fall guy.”

Thus, the frenetic preparations and activities by the registered political parties towards the scheduled general elections of 2015 have brought to the frontburner the desperate moves by some politicians and groups to access the seat of power through extra-legal routes and means. These people, in their desperation to side-track laid-down rules, regulations and procedures to achieve their undeserved goals and aspirations, see the police as a stumbling block that must be destroyed, dismantled or crushed by any means possible.

This plot, like others before it, sometimes take demonic dimensions with no expense spared. In the forefront of the present plot to besmirch the police and scare it away from performing its constitutionally assigned duties, are some so-called civil society groups and individuals who are traditionally anti-establishment and stridently see nothing good in any government, where they do not have “controlling shares.” A section of the media has taken it upon itself, albeit for pecuniary, ethnic and other mundane reasons, to skew facts, figures and even photographs, to suit their unprofessional advocacy and smear campaigns designed to justify the uncivil, unconstitutional, unpatriotic and impolitic behaviours of their principals.

The ongoing glaring skewed nature of the reportage by a section of the press (both print and electronic) did not inform readers, viewers and listeners of what prompted the Nigeria Police Force to go to the National Assembly, in the first place and why the sit-tight “Speaker” of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, acting like the panjandrum that he truly is, led a horde of unruly people to pull down the barricade put in place by the Nigeria Police to forestall a planned security breach that its intelligence unit had unearthed.

What the media left out in their reportage was how the battalion of miscreants assaulted the police rank and file both verbally and physically, while Tambuwal, was beaming with smiles all through their ordeal. Perhaps, he felt it served the police right for withdrawing his security when he defected to the APC in spite of the fact that the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, was not factionalised, as the extant portion of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution provides. This is because it was not part of the plotters script to educate the public on the relevant portion of Section 68 Sub-section (g) that says: “Provided that his membership of the latter political party is not as a result of a division in the political party of which he was previously a member or of a merger of two or more political parties or factions by one of which he was previously sponsored” and which interpreted means that Tambuwal had lost both his Kebbi/Tambuwal Federal Constituency seat in Sokoto State and the Speakership to boot.

At the time he defected on the floor of the House and hurriedly adjourned sitting for December 3, 2014, the PDP was not factionalised or in a merger with any other political party or parties. Lest we be carried away by the current propaganda by the APC and its apologists that the Nigeria Police is not the proper organ to enforce laws, the question is: Who else will if not the Police Force? This probably informed the Inspector General of Police’s tepid refusal to recognise or address Tambuwal as the de jure Speaker of the House of Representatives, when he appeared before its committee investigating the November 20, 2014 face-off. In all sincerity, is it sane and proper to lay the blames for Tambuwal’s individual and APC political woes, tribulations and inadequacies, at the doorsteps of the Nigeria Police?

Another facet of the plot to paint the police with tar is aptly exemplified by the organised and orchestrated mayhem unleashed at a political rally of the APC in Oke-Ado, Ibadan, on Friday, November 21, 2014, 24 hours after the National Assembly fiasco and 48 hours after the so-called “Salvation Rally” of the party in Abuja. In this episode, a police Inspector performing his assigned duty was shot dead, while five of his professional colleagues were fatally injured. In the creeping violence that spiraled into many parts of Ibadan South West Local Government Area, at least, three persons were killed while several property were burnt by the marauding groups of party thugs brandishing dangerous weapons.

One fact came out of the whole saga: The hoodlums targeted their violence on the police by shooting at the unit that was sent there to maintain law and order without any provocation. It is believed that the misdirected aggression, as propounded by the top echelon of the party, is being acted out by its foot soldiers ahead of the general elections to browbeat the police into submission. Observers are of the view that this catalogue of law-breaking episodes are dress rehearsals for what these desperate set of politicians are planning to unleash on those who do not hold the same political views, during and post -2015 elections.

The summation of the whole set up is that the grand conspiracy, which started with the deliberate attempt to demystify the operational and professional efficiency of the Nigerian Armed Forces in the concerted war against the insurgents in the North East of the country, is now being focused on the Nigeria Police because it will be at the vanguard of the enforcement of law and order in the 2015 elections, which the APC has promised to dispute its results and set up a parallel government, if the presidential election results does not go its way.

The question remains: Must the APC spend its time on petty bickering, insolent anti-government pronouncements and violence binges and later turn around to hold the Nigeria Police as its favourite scapegoat?