LACKING PROPER CRISIS NEGOTIATION BURUJI KASHAMU COULD KILL HIMSELF
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has since Saturday reportedly surrounded Buruji Kashamu's home in Lagos, Nigeria, thereby confining him to his residence pending his appearance in court in the coming hours.
From the very moment President Goodluck Jonathan phoned Muhammadu Buhari to concede defeat in Nigeria’s presidential elections, it is possible that Kashamu instantly suffered acute depression which has now reportedly pushed him to the brink of suicide. Kashamu enjoyed protection from the Jonathan presidency for years but now all that is gone!
He faces extradition proceedings to the United States for his alleged involvement in an international conspiracy to smuggle heroin into the U.S and he knows he may not win this matter at this time.
Now that he is threatening suicide, before he appears in court in the coming hours, apart from his lawyer's counsel, the Nigeria police or NDLEA must take serious the report in the media that “Kashamu won't be taken alive to America.”
Now that we are in a crisis situation, the public should be convinced that Kashamu is in an ongoing communication with skillful police negotiation team using psychology to defuse the situation.
Knowing his mental state and the likelihood of the situation ending successfully within a given timeframe remains essential. With poor negotiation situation, Kashamu could keep holding up himself within his home and may refuse to give himself up to the authorities for court appearance.
With poor negotiation and weak intelligent information, diffusing this dangerous situation, and minimizing the risk of harm to Kashamu , and other persons in the home may become difficult. It is essential that he is not starving himself, surrounded by multiple medications or other risky means.
In addition to the tactical team already put in place and made ready in case the situation warrants the use of force, emergency services such as fire trucks and ambulances should be at the scene. The media crews should be isolated to one area to ensure that they are out of the way.
Through phone lines for smooth communication process, it is essential to measure and analyze his demands which could include food, alcohol, or medicines.
Kashamu currently has a winning hand in terms of possible self-destruction, in that he is in his own home, as such the authorities are at a disadvantage if the tactical team needs to use force.
Therefore negotiators should be flexible in their attitude towards him and avoid extreme speed and non-invasive solution but should it become very difficult to accomplish reasonable negotiation, the tactical team may need to enter the house to subdue Kashamu in a way that minimizes the risk of him harming himself or others in the home.
At the end the particulars of the situation including the actions taken by the negotiations team and the end result of the crisis should be carefully documented.
On a personal note, Kashamu, the senator-elect from Ogun State, should take comfort that his case in America is over 20 years, and the United States unlike Nigeria, constantly practices the rule of law therefore his prosecution could be fair. Finally, the Judge may consider many mitigating factors which could include health, age, education, work history, and family ties, and may even consider his senatorial status during sentencing if found guilty.
So our dear brother and Prince, to destroy your body in your final act to escape judgement will hurt those you love most—your family, workers, and political friends, so stay alive, we need you and love you more than you'll ever know. Goodluck.
***Dr. John Egbeazien Oshodi is a Forensic/Clinical Psychologist, a Consultant in National Psychology, and a former Secretary-General of the Nigeria Psychological Association.