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#EndSARS Campaign: Bad Lessons in Crisis Management

The year 2020, a leap year, an ominous quantum in Jewish kabala numerology and a termination of a cosmic cycle that spans a total number of 96 Gregorian calendar years in the cosmic symphony of cyclic rythms, will go down in the history of Nigeria as a year of blood.

The same year 2020 tested the parenting nerves of Nigerian political leaders as to their response to the yearnings of their children, the Nigerian youths, and a surprising result that signified both parental failure and irresponsibility was exhibited in the response of Nigerian political leaders to the youths.

This brutal response has registered in the consciousness of Nigerians and the international community as a bad lesson in crisis management.

The Holy Bible teaches that no caring and responsible parent gives scorpion to his child who has need for bread. But that is not for Nigerian political leaders who not only withheld bread from her youths, but went further to dispense death to them about the 20th hour of 20th  October 2020, when the youths asked for freedom to life from the excruciating hands of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS), and bread from the constituted authorities.

This reality of the predicament of the Nigerian youth was laid bare when Mr. Donald Trump, the American President, told the world that Nigeria was one of the countries in the West African sub-religion that provided the logistics support in the military operation which liberated a twenty seven year old American youth held hostage by his captors in Northern Nigeria.

While scores of Nigerian youths were mowed down through the deliberate instructions of the Nigerian government, the same Nigerian government offered logistics support to a foreign government for the liberation of one of the latter’s youths. What an irony and different values of life.

This development reveals the precarious position of the Nigerian youth which makes him an endangered species, that the same country which found it easy to mow down her youths rather than listen to them, offered assistance  for the liberation of a youth, a national of another country who faced equal danger as her own youth.

It is contrasting that while some youths were killed without explanation by soldiers, another youth, one person, was being saved in the country by a contingent of six soldiers who flew in from far away America for that purpose.

Why should the Nigerian soldiers wage war on her youths? Modern wars (how much more peace-keeping operations for which reason the soldiers should have been drafted to Lekki toll gate) are levied with decorum, according to international standards. Yes, these are standards even for wars! Modern wars are classified as genocide, attrition, corrective, or outright cleansing.

This is, of course, when countries fight against countries. How do you classify a war waged with unarmed protesters where a country’s army mows down the people it is supposed to protect. Pre-meditated murder!  Nigerians and the international community must insist that the military hierarchy provide them with the detail of that particular episode of “operation crocodile smile”. Details of that exercise exist in a military operations log book. Without pinpointing and letting Nigerians know who authorized the shootings at Lekki toll gate, both the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, the Chief of Army Staff, and the General Officer Commander (GOC) presiding over the Military Barracks from which the soldiers were drafted, cannot absolve themselves of direct complicity in the ignoble incident.

In a related development, a 20 year old brave journalist-in-training on internship with a media company, Onifade Pelumi who was said to have filmed the video when a Lagos state politician suspected to be Mr. Abiodun Bolarinwa was shooting protesters at Abule Egba, was said to have died in police custody.

Young Pelumi who worked with Gboa TV was said to have been arrested on October 24th 2020 at abattoir, Oko Oba area of Agege by the Lagos state task force allegedly led by Egbeyemi Yinka and Tai Akerele. The captors resisted the efforts of his friends to take Pelumi to the hospital, prefering to dump the bullet-hidden young man in police custody. His body was found few days later in a mortuary.

Pelumi’s friends have launched #JusticeforPelumi. These young ones need the support of Nigerians to get justice for the dead.

It is an ominous sign that young Nigerians are dying in droves far corrupt, inept and insatiable politicians.

Can Nigeria survive this whirlwind when it blows?

We must make sure that justice is obtained for all the youths who died in the #EndSARS campaign. It is also important to keep a comprehensive record of their names, their profiles and how they died. Such a document will constitute a veritable asset for the national archive of the new Nigeria we are working for, and hoping to herald.

There was still another bad lesson in crisis management recorded in Rivers State. But first, I must say here that it is wrong, very wrong for anybody, including the members of the IPOB (Indigenous People Biafra) to mount any attack on our security personnel. By doing that, they disrespect all of us and should go in for long jail terms or even death by hanging if caught and subjected to fair and public trial. What I find fault with is the extra-judicial killing of people who would have been caught and used to set public examples so that Nigerians will begin to respect their security operatives. This is because two wrongs do not make a right. An eye for an eye, keeps everybody blind. The Mosaic and ancient punitive law of  tooth for tat can never have a reformative influence on the society.

I do not know whose scripts he was acting out in his Rivers State but I must say that Governor Nyesom Wike did not handle his job as the chief security officer of the state well.

The type of bloodshed which Governor Wike allowed in Obigbo may haunt his conscience for the rest of his life.

There would have been other proactive ways to handle the issue raised in Rivers state by the provocative actions and the active presence of the IPOB boys in Obigbo, the ancestral homestead of Igbos in River State.

As a governor, Wike should have known the historical bad blood existing between the Igbos in Rivers state (who re-claimed the ownership of Port Harcourt through a court case) on one side, and the Ikwerre, and the Okrikas of Rivers State, on the other side.

Apart from being seen as partisan, his actions smacked of killing a fly with the sledge hammer and an over-reaction in a situation he would have played the father figure to all.

He should have been wiser, because I do not see why he found it convenient to make enemies with the people he will still have to be with after his tenure as the governor of the state. Secondly, he failed to learn from the experiences of some Igbo-assisted people like Adaka Boro and Ken Saro Wiwa, who bite the Igbo fingers that fed them, in like manner, that he, Wike had the foundation of his political career laid by the efforts of the Igbos in Rivers State.

Most probably, Wike forgot that there is still life after government service, especially considering the fact that the politics of Nigeria is presently so uncertain and unpredictable that it will be sheer foolishness and stupidity for anybody to take a short-sighted view of the present matters arising in the Nigeria polity.

Recalling another bad lesson in crisis management, Sahara Reporters carried the news that 8 bodies of food palliative hunters, including a 15 year old girl who obviously lacked food in her home (who, at that age is still the responsibility of both the parents and the government to take care of) were dumped in a swarm.

They had gone to scoop food from the home of the former speaker of the House of Assembly, Yakubu Dogara in Plateau State. They were found dumped by the security personnel who guarded the man’s house, in the swarm which formed out of a solid minerals mining site at the back of the politician’s house.

Too bad that Nigerians have been left so hungry that they have to be dying like animals for the simple reason to get food to eat. I would say, worst than animals because birds don’t even die when they fly about seeking for food to eat.

The story could be worst because the newshound who filed the report recorded that, most probably, more than 8 people were slaughtered in Mr. Dogara’s house just to protect the food – common food – which, in any case was supposed to have been given away to people on whose behalf he collected the food from government food bank.  Some people believe that the politicians are hoarding the food palliatives to share and buy-over people’s vote in 2023 as some of the food items have expired, being unfit for human consumption. There were several viral videos of such rotten food items seen by Nigerians. Nigerian politicians are wicked.

The news reporter wrote that there is a great possibility of several others dumped in the deep pits which may not have been washed ashore as a result of the conditions of the mining pits.
As I write this, there have been several eye-witness reports of police/military clampdown and brutality quietly going on across Nigeria. Not few Nigerians have witnessed many cases of extra-judicial killing of Nigerian youths after the #EndSARS campaign has been forcibly checked through government brutality.

It seems that the officers are avenging the death of their colleagues. I have said before that an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. Nigerians should concentrate and focus on the common oppressive enemy of bad governance by the political class and jointly seek a permanent solution through re-structuring of Nigeria, to solve the problem.

Before I go on, I am not excluding punishing the hoodlums arrested for killing policemen and military personnel, who must be made to face the full wrath of the domestic law. Every life is precious and must be treated as such.

All these politicians who have been implicated in abuse of right to life of Nigerians are subject to arraignment in the International Criminal Court (ICC) for human right violations.

Contrary to what Nigerians may think and believe, it is not easy to prove cases of crimes against humanity leveled on a person or group of persons in the International Criminal Court. I had said before in a previous work in this platform that proving crimes against humanity in the ICC is both a long haul and a hard nut. This goes to say that the desire of Nigerians to prosecute and convict people suspected to be part of both Lekki massacre and other killings around the country during the #EndSARS protests, may end up as wishful thinking.

Though it can also be influenced by international opinion and pressure, the procedure for obtaining favourable judgement on human rights violation is so elaborate that the experienced Judges must first take into consideration all the rights and privileges of the accused before pronouncing judgement so that the court is not seen as abusing a process which it is meant to protect and uphold.

There must be an overwhelming and incriminating hoards of fact to grant judgement in favour of an applicant.

If this must happen, the prosecution must be up and doing in tracking down a good flow of evidence on which a crack may be lethal to the prosecution’s case.

Having said this, now is the time to make sure that the probable evidence that may be admissible to the court, upon which the prosecution’s case should be anchored must be articulated and kept intact.

The hushed cleaning of the massacre site in Lekki toll gate (which would have been condoned off) by the Lagos State government and the blatant refusal by the Nigerian military authority to grant spontaneous, unscheduled visit of the investigating panel of inquiry to some key places within the purview of its investigation including the hospitals and the mortuaries, must have dealt fatal and devastating blows to the process of evidence gathering. There is likely going to be a ‘white wash’ of the investigation, making a prosecution’s case not plausible and unattractive, if the military authority and the Lagos state government continue to erect a stonewall on the path of evidence gathering.

I understand that this may be deliberate but the fact that death occurred, and that there are other, even if remote, evidence to capture the activities showing the Lekki massacre, will assist a good legal team in proving its case.

The evidence act in law is so impersonal to the parties to a case (like the blindfolded maiden dispenser of justice) that both the suspect and the complainant are given equal opportunities of presentation and expression through their evidence especially bearing in mind that, not a few times in law, the complaint have turned out to be the suspect when the former had been observed through lack of synchronicity in evidence, and lack of adequate proof of evidence upon allegation thereof, to have made careful and concealed efforts to cleverly cook up evidence in order to mislead the court.

As a matter of fact, the process of misleading the court has been initiated by some enemies of Nigeria and Nigerians on the #EndSARS issue at hand.

I read with dismay and certain feeling of opprobrium that some ‘fifth columnist’ operatives have made some moves to mess up the well-intentioned # EndSARS campaign by the Nigerian youths.

I had observed in an earlier work in this platform that ‘fifth columnists’ are the real and tune enemies of Nigeria and Nigerians, and the government should beware of their self-serving destructive antics, and refuse to fund them.

Dragging Femi Falana to the ICC and Pastor Sam Adeyemi with 46 #EndSARS  protesters to an Abuja court  for supporting and participating respectively in the EndSARS campaign are diversions aimed at rubbishing Nigeria in the view of  the international community, throwing spanner in the wheel of the common aspirations of Nigerians, and misleading the International Criminal Court where Nigerians are headed to obtain justice for the youths murdered in cold blood in #Lekki massacre and other places in Nigeria.

Like the Arthur Nzeribe’s Association for Better Nigeria, (the ‘fifth columnist monster which was used by the hegemonic powers behind the IBB Presidency to scuttle the popular mandate of Nigerians given to Chief M.K.O Abiola) the shameless efforts of this new breed of  experts in scuttling shall stand visibly recognized on the wrong and dark side of the history of Nigeria, as Chief Arthur Nzeribe and his ABN.

By seeking and obtaining a court injunction to freeze the bank account of suspected EndSARS supporters through whose bank accounts the contribution of Nigerians were collected to sustain the campaign, the CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) has exhibited a corporate moral weakness, insensitivity, irresponsibility and hatred for the common cause of a people whom it is supposed to serve.

But if I may ask, what is the duty of the CBN as a corporate citizen with same rights of duties and obligations equally share with non-corporate, individual citizens, seeking to freeze the bank account of fellow Nigerian citizens who have not been tried and found guilty of any economic offence in the country? Some people believing that we are idiots are thwarting the laws of the country and bending those laws to suit their clandestine purposes. Nigerian lawyers should resist this abuse of the constitution.

In any case, it is not both impossible and unlikely that these three attempts to scuttle the realization of justice for the unarmed anthem-singing Nigerian youths draped in the national flag that added a red blood colour tinge after the gruesome murder of those youths on 20th October, 2020, is being sponsored by some people who may be forced to face and dance to the music of the ICC by the time it starts playing.

But not to worry, it’s gonna be a long drawn battle which they cannot win. There are examples in history. The fact that the butcher of Lyons and other deadly military generals of Adolf Hitler who participated in the gas chamber mass execution of Jews both in Austwitz and other locations absconded and were on the run for several decades did not shield them from the long arms of the ICC.

They were eventually apprehended and jailed for life. Even if they died in permanent exile disguising themselves, the ICC has provisions for post-death trial and conviction of people suspected to be privy to crimes against humanity as a deterrent to curb the abuse of rights of people and for the protection of the sanctity of life. Additionally the sites of interment of human rights criminals who died away from the full glare of the ICC may be kept under surveillance as a rule by the ICC authority as the post-mortal jail sentences run.

But, hello Nigerians, there is only one caveat for the realization of this: somebody must prosecute and follow up the case because prosecution of cases in the ICC is a long haul which demand both tact and tenacity of purpose

For the Jews to chase, apprehend and arraign the people involved in Adolf Hitler’s Nazi campaign against the Jews, several groups and organizations sprung up for the purpose of seeking and obtaining justice for the Jews. Nigerians may learn something from the Jewish experience.

In our past 2nd world war era, joint actions must be taken by the people of the world to keep the peace across the world in a manner that reflects the obvious reality that injustice to one person is injustice to all. In an age where the world has become a global village, the rest of the world is threatened when a section of it is allowed to suffer injustice.

Still on bad lessons in crisis management, I read that the Nigerian government is considering a censorship of the social media after experiencing embarrassment as a result of its bungling of the EndSARS protest staged by the youths.

I also know that the government lacks the necessary requisites to host a combined full-proof, watertight censorship of the different platforms of the social media as presently streamed through the different channels in Nigeria.

Secondly, it is doubtful that the government can achieve this purpose in a society where the faceless ‘unanimous’ hacker rode roughshod, testing his high-tech capability to hack into the digital set-ups of some government and private sector establishments during the EndSARS campaign.

In the words of a young Nigerian son of a legal luminary, Mr. Falana Jr., who is popularly called Falz by his friends and colleagues, ‘we are the monsters that they have created’.

An idle mind, it is said, is the devils workshop. I know that it is wrong to justify evil by any means, yet, one must recognize that one evil  begets another evil.

The lesser evil of abandoning Nigerian youths to their fate keeping their idle but impressionable minds positively unemployed obviously made some of them perfect the illegal art and greater evil of unauthorized intrusion on people’s cyber spaces.

The incident of the ‘unanimous’ hacker may have confirmed that the youths who are obviously ahead of the government in the illegal art of unauthorized bumping into encrypted cyber spaces may have a way out even if the social media platforms are censured. Besides this, there could be other explorable methods of web communication such as the cloud access which may be available for the youths to reach out to themselves.

Considering this superiority in manipulation of the World Wide Web by the youths, the government may be left with no other option than to effect the fascist option of a total shutdown of the social media platforms in Nigeria.

If the happens, Nigeria will follow the records set in suppression of people’s rights by such maximum rulers as the young brutish man who reigns supreme in North Korea.

Gagging of the media always go along with the establishment of a parallel clandestine killer squad as in the type usually maintained by dictators and fascist governments who are bent on maintaining maximum rule like idi Amin, Dada of Uganda, Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos of the Philippines, Shah Palevi of Iran, Papa Doc of Haiti, and a host of others such dangerous men who dotted modern history.

With the noose tightened on both the print and electronic media, government may begin to chase courageous media practitioners who would insist on publishing the truth.

At that time, people like me may ‘disappear’ in Nigeria as happened in Idi Amin’s Uganda, and Papa Doc’s Haiti, courtesy of a secret strike force, if we make the mistake of not exiting very fast on  voluntary exile.

But mark my words, even if we ‘disappear’, the oppressors in Nigeria cannot win this battle because future generations of indigenous Nigerians  of different ethnic nationalities will continue the battle from where we stopped till they win the war against oppression.  There is no way every Nigerian who says ‘no’ to oppression can be killed at the same time.

But what I have just outlined is the worst case scenario which may never happen in Nigeria. Yet, if it does happen, it will be a matter of time when Nigerians will take over their ancestral lands, and those of us who may have passed on by the inherent dangers in the struggle may be remembered as having participated to the best of our talents and abilities in the struggle for liberation of Nigerians from oppression.

In summary, the #EndSARS campaign in Nigeria revealed that a new generation of Nigerian youths, the “SORO SOKE” (Speak Up Courageously) generation armed with guts, good educational and family backgrounds, moderate financial resources, and modern electronic communication gadgets, have emerged to deliver Nigerians from the shackles of oppression.

To these young ones who are determined to do what we, together with our fathers were not able to do because they had separated us along ethnic, tribal, language and religious borders, I say, ‘welcome, dear ones’.

With the intellectual and logistics support of the elder generations like me who have refused to sell out their consciences to naira and kobo, this  new breed of Nigerians with no ethnic, tribal language, or religious inhibitions and sentiments will surely herald the new Nigeria of our dreams, commitment and efforts.

So help us God.

ABUCHI OBIORA
abuchiobiora@gmail.com

FOR:
Global Upfront Newspaper
www.globalupfront.com

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