Nigeria as a country has gone through so much. Over the years, analysts have looked at the issues hindering the nation’s progress and made several recommendations but two major issues have always been put forth as the major hinderances holding back the country from moving forward.
Often, when proffering solutions to the nation’s many woes, there has been a consensus that Nigeria lacks leaders in the true sense of the word. It’s a blessed nation that has had the misfortune of being led by rulers, rather than selfless leaders. Time and again, the people have missed opportunities to (s)elect the right leaders to take it the land of eldorado.
The second albatross that has held the country down and hindered it from moving forward is the fact that individuals have been held far above institutions. Instead of strengthening institutions to uphold the rule of law, which is how societies progress, Nigerians for obviously selfish and pecuniary reasons have continued to hero worship individuals, such that individuals occupying offices have been elevated to the position of demigods, who in many cases push the law aside to do their selfish bids.
Unfortunately too, proponents of these systems enjoy the anomaly when they hang around the corridors of power hobnobbing with the powers that be, with no thoughts for posterity, and the legacies they have to bequeath to a nation badly in need of salvation, all because their immediate selfish needs are met, and the shine from the ruler reflects on them for a short length of time.
However, soon as they get out of the spotlight, they realize they goofed, and that they attached too much importance to the things that mattered less. And, like short sighted cowards that they are, they start proffering solutions to the nation’s many woes, which they helped create. But then it’s too late. Hence you find many individuals out of power turn analysts and know-it-all critics proffering solutions to end the problems that plague a blessed, but stunted giant of a nation.
A case in point is the recent submission by the Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Dingyadi, who told a people whose sense of decency has been numbed by its leadership failures that the fate of erstwhile Head of the Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) DCP Abba Kyari, who was indicted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) over his financial dealings with international fraudster, Abass Ramon, aka Hushpuppi, will only be determined by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Kyari, was alleged to have abused his position to trample on the rights of another suspected fraudster, Chibuzor Vincent, by throwing him behind bars on trumped up charges at the request of Hushpuppi who needed Chibuzor out of circulation to perfect his plans of defrauding a Quatari businessperson of $1.1 million.
In court filings made public in the USA, embattled Nigerian socialite, Raymond Abass, popularly known as Ray Hushpuppi, who was arrested in the United Arab Emirate and taken to the USA, alleged that he bribed Nigeria’s celebrated policeman Kyari, a deputy commissioner of police (DCP), to arrest Chibuzor a co-fraudster in the whopping $1.1m deal.
According to a statement by the US department of justice, Hushpuppi asked Kyari to jail Chibuzor, his colleague, after both were locked in a dispute over how to share the $1.1 million loot received from the Qatari businessperson.
In the filings by the officials, Vincent was said to have contacted the victim and informed him that he was being scammed by Hushpuppi’s syndicate.
This reportedly enraged Hushpuppi who was said to have contacted Kyari to arrest and jail Chibuzor.
Hushpuppi was also quoted as saying that Kyari allegedly sent photos of Vincent in jail and followed this up with a bank account number to which a wire transfer should be made for the successful arrest and detention of his co-fraudster.
According to the affidavit, Kyari, a highly decorated deputy commissioner of the Nigeria Police Force then sent Abbas photographs of Vincent after his arrest. Kyari also allegedly sent Abbas bank account details for an account into which Abbas could deposit payment for Vincent’s arrest and imprisonment.
Details of Kyari’s reaction to these allegations are in the public domain. However, to build its case, and ensure fair hearing to serve justice where appropriate, the US authorities got in touch with their Nigerian counterparts to ask that Kyari be made available to answer for the allegations made against him, and defend himself where need be.
The Nigerian authorities, especially the police force set in motion a mechanism to ensure that justice is served, or so it seemed. The force activated its internal processes to determine if indeed there is a case against its celebrated cop, and if he should be extradited to America to face charges.
But adding his voice to those of several compatriots discussing the matter and what should be done, Dingyadi, squarely told his fellow citizens that only President Buhari could determine the fate of Kyari. Period.
Appearing on a Channels Television programme, Politics Today, the minister, responding to a question on what would become of a probe panel set up by the Police Service Commission which had earlier suspended Kyari with effect from July 31 pending the outcome of the police investigation, said the Federal Government was trying to ensure that due diligence is done on the matter because it has international connotations.
He said, “The issue of Abba Kyari has become a public domain and I think by now, everybody has heard that the police in their very wisdom, in their usual way of becoming transparent and fair to all, have set up a committee to investigate all these allegations.
“We have also reported that the committee has submitted the report to the IGP. We have also submitted this report and recommendations to the Attorney-General of the Federation for legal opinion”.
He went further to say, “So, you can see that even though this matter is a local matter here, it has some international connotations.
“We have to do some due diligence to ensure that we do the right thing. We have to do some consultations with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice before a final decision will be taken.
“But what is important is that Nigerians should know that the police management is up and doing and they have done what they are supposed to do”.
Good choice of words from the minister. But he then went on to spoil it by saying, “thereafter, we will take it to Mr. President for final consideration.
“…So in the matter of ACP Abba Kyari, only the President will have the final say on the outcome of the matter.”
With all due respect Mr Minister, this is balderdash!
This is one reason Nigeria has failed to progress. Why people wake up on the wrong side of their beds and take it out on anyone they like, and nothing happens. It is why crimes are committed, and there are no consequences to actions that run foul of the law. Mr minister, with all due respect, this is one major reason the system fails to work. Why the common man struggles so much, doing whatever it takes, legal and illegal, to make money with the sole aim of oppressing his fellow man. It is the reason the people have lost faith in the ability of the government, or its institutions, to protect or cater for them.
It is the reason people in certain positions of authority/power in the country act with impunity. It is the reason a court of competent jurisdiction will make a pronouncement, or give an order and it will be ignored by those in power. It is the reason people like Kyari will have the audacity to pick just anyone off the streets and throw them in jail for as long as they like. And God help the suspect, if he has no one high up to speak for him, he may just rot in jail.
It is the reason citizens resort to self help and jungle justice because they have lost faith in the ability of the system to do what is right. They fear that if the matter is handed over to government institution, a call will come from above to pervert the course of justice. This is a bad omen, because anyone can fall victim, and many innocent people have suffered from this.
Mr minister, this is the reason breaking the law in Nigeria is considered a status symbol. If you have money, or know someone, you can very well damn the law and do whatever you please: Drive against traffic, insult officers of the law, ignore court orders, and brush aside due process. All it’ll take if you’re arrested is just one phone call to the right person.
This is the reason criminals run haywire, steal, rob, kidnap with impunity and have the temerity to turn crime into a career. It is the reason persons in public offices steal public funds, or convert public property to private use; knowing fully well that even if the law catches up with them, all it’ll take is one phone call, or joining the right party, and all sins are forgiven!
People like you Mr Minister have made the system all about individuals, one man!
The institutions have been so weakened that what one man says overrides what the rightly constituted institutions say. Or, what the law says for that matter! It should not be so. Societies can not be sustained in this manner.
In the case of Kyari, for example, Mr Minister, it should not be about what Buhari says. It should be about doing the right thing, no matter whose ox is gored. What does our law say should be done in such circumstances. If the law says Kyari has to face the Yankees, so be it. And if our laws say no way, he has to answer to Nigeria alone, that is what should happen. Defend him with everything Nigeria has. If the institutions are strong, and one man by virtue of his position/office, even if he’s the president, wants to do the wrong thing or turn things around, he would not be able to. A system that has been made strong will resist.
This is why a Trump could not wake up one day and decide to take over Capitol Hill. The system booted him out of office, and the nation was the better for it.
These are the things that build confidence from citizens; knowing that at every point in time their nation and institutions of government will do the right thing. It’s not about what one man in one office says. Men are fallible, emotional, prone to mistakes, capable of being carried away with the aura of an exalted office. Men only last for a while, but the law, institutions and the state last forever, from generation to generation.
When the institutions are weakened the way Mr Minister is doing, and individuals given so much power, the society gradually but surely degenerates. Mr Minister, strong institutions build strong societies and a strong nation. It instills patriotism in citizens who feel a strong sense of belonging and pride, and hence would be more than eager to contribute their quota in anyway they can to ensure that the ideals are sustained. But men fade with time, humanity is impacted by what they contribute to society, not the power they wield.
Mr Minister, please do the right thing always and be guided by rule of law, not what one man wants, even if he is the president. It’s a tough call for a politician but then the society we build is the one we, our children and our generations to come will live in. What kind of society would you want it to be? One where one man calls the shots, or one where justice and right prevails?
Articles published in our Graffiti section are strictly the opinion of the writers and do not represent the views of Ripples Nigeria or its editorial stand.
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