Nigeria’s war against corruption and government abuse of power. By Eke O Eke

It cannot be said too often that with the way the government is treating opposition members, who it claims are in violation of the law, that the Nigerian government has become a violent violator of human rights. It is a fearful and dangerous thing for the people to feel that they need protection from their government. It is like a sheep needing protection from a shepherd. The spectacle of police men laying siege on the house of a serving senator for 8 days and the senator lifeless being dragged into police station paints a very sad and worrying picture of the state of Liberty and rule of law in Nigeria. How did Nigeria go back to 1984.

The tragedy of Nigeria is that the constitution appears unable to limit the power of the government to oppress, which is what a good constitution should do. The constitution seems to have been written to allow the government to do anything it wants without considering whether or not its actions violet the rights of the citizens.

No constitution in a democracy can do that and pass as a democratic constitution. In fact, the Nigerian government seems to be able to justify the abuse of its powers in violations of the rights of the people with the constitution.

This is something a good constitution should not allow in a free society. In fact, a good constitution should be prescriptive in the circumstances, ways and manner the government is allowed to use force, since the government should have the monopoly of the use of force. My question remains, Where is the protection of the people against the government in the Nigerian constitution? Who can protect Nigerians from leaders like Buhari who have neither respect for the courts nor regard for human rights?

The proper functions of a government are protecting the rights of citizens; the police, to protect citizens from criminals, the arm forces to protect the citizens from foreign invaders and the law court courts to settle disputes among the people according to good laws. Every Nigerian must ask him or herself, if the current Nigerian government is fulfilling these functions.

Today; the Nigerian government, instead of being a protector of the rights of the citizens has become its most dangerous violator; instead of guarding the freedom of the people, the government is actively imprisoning people without trial and using its power to intimidate in a way no government should in a democracy.

Instead of protecting the people from the use of force against them, which is its major function, the government is actively using physical force and coercion against the people and protects army and police, when they use force in the way they should not in a civil society.

The army and police stand by while the citizens they exist to protect are internally displaced by Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram terrorists. Instead of sending the army to fight foreign invaders in north east and Middle belt regions, the government sends them to intimidate, confront and kill citizens, who are peacefully protesting injustices by the government, while ill trained policemen are sent to north east Nigeria to do the work of soldiers. Yet, few Nigerians as why.

The Nigerian government is creating a deadly subterranean reign of fear and uncertainty by the way it is abusing its power against those it believes are in violations of the law. This is not evidence of the rule of law. This is government by whims and caprices. Nigerians must now stand up against this tyranny.

We cannot allow Nigeria to degenerate to the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by its permission.

This is colonisation. This is a feature of some of the darkest periods of human history, when men ruled by brute force. Nigeria must begin to think beyond elections and start worrying about the kind of society they want to build for now and the future.

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