6th June, 2018
The National Assembly (NASS) yesterday presented an 11-point position paper in which it threatened to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is irked by the constant propensity of Nigerian lawmakers to armtwist the executive. We condemn acts of legislative brigandage and parliamentary subjugation of the executive. It is a rape on the democratic principle of separation of powers.
We are inclined to believe that the latest threat of impeachment is not unconnected with the current travails of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki. This attempt to turn the heat on Buhari particularly at this material time is nothing short of armtwisting, blackmail and parliamentary terrorism. Senate should remain neutral in a criminal case and allow the law to take its due course.
The rule of law necessitates equality before the law. This means no Nigerian citizen is above the law. Even those who have immunity today may have to answer for any misdemeanor after leaving office. Nigerian lawmakers have a duty to respect the rule of law if indeed they are conscious of their status and committed to their parliamentary duties.
The NASS will further ridicule the hallowed chambers if it should go ahead with this ignoble idea of impeaching the Nigerian president. Already, the whole world knows the true story particularly as it relates to the war against corruption. In one of his remarks during his meeting with his Nigerian counterpart, President Trump said, “And in terms of corruption, Nigeria has a reputation, as you understand very well, for very massive corruption. I also know that the President has been able to cut that down very substantially. We talked about it; he is working on it. And they have made a lot of progress, and I think they will continue to make a lot of progress.” He was also alleged to have made mention of the need for Buhari to deal with the ‘rogues’ in Nigerian politics. NASS will have an unshakable credibility problem if it goes ahead with this threat.
MURIC alerts Nigerians to brace up for the last struggle to liberate the masses from the clutches of capitalist compradorebourgeoisie in the NASS who are bent on frustrating the efforts of the current administration to make life more abundant for the common man. The Nigerian people must tighten their seat belts. We cannot afford to watch in silence while identified oppressors seek to eliminate our liberator.
While MURIC will not play politics with the Saraki-police saga, we must stand up for the truth. Neither must we be afraid to say it as it is. Though not as graphic, we may have a similitude of the S. T. Oredein tragedy in the Bacita robbery of 1971 in the days of Kam Salem as the Inspector General of Police. Is history repeating itself this time around as a farce or as a tragedy? Time will tell.
We contend that participation in crime cannot be limited to activities at the scene of crime. Neither can we extenuate or totally write off the offence of those who facilitate the empowerment of criminals to the extent that the latter is able to use the proceeds of empowerment to commit a crime. Nobody in his right senses will dismiss the confessions of criminals who provide both historical and pictorial evidence of long association with high profile politicians particularly crimes in which several lives have been lost over decades.
Perhaps the best advice we can give both the Senate President and the NASS is to allow the police to carry out diligent investigation. The NASS should not see its president or any of its members as super Nigerians who are above the law. We invite members of the NASS to learn a lesson from the hadith of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the area of selective judgement and equality before the law.
A woman of the Banu Makhzumiyyah stole something and Usamah bin Saeed came to the Prophet to intercede. Instead of doing Usama’s bidding, the Prophet (pbuh) said, “If an influential man among the children of Israel stole something, they would allow him to go scot free. But if a poor man stole, they would cut off his hand. But I tell you that even if Fatima (his daughter) steals anything, I will cut off her hand” (Sahih Al-Bukhari).
The NASS should allow the new Nigeria which is evolving under Buhari to become a fait accompli. We want an egalitarian society where justice is not for sale, where the rich commit grave crimes and go free while punishment for crime is for the poor alone. Saraki may be pronounced innocent if indeed he is not guilty of any crime. The Saraki connection in the Offa robbery is a lesson for politicians who still keep political thugs.
Ceteris paribus, money given to thugs is meant to facilitate the harassment of opponents, the snatching of ballot boxes and the procurement of arms. Innocent people are killed in the process. That is murder and it is a capital offence. Is the NASS itching to dismiss the killing of 15 innocent people including 9 policemen in a single robbery with a wave of the hand because one of them is asked to write a statement? Who did this to Nigeria?
Is that why the whole country should be destabilized? Is that why the Nigerian president should be impeached? Is it even ideal for Buhari to intervene by asking police to stop its investigations? MURIC sees merit in the police case against Senator Bukola Saraki. The latter has been asked to submit a written statement. The NASS should allow the law to take its due course. Saraki should do the honourable thing without being told. Nigeria is too big for any single person no matter how highly placed.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)