Justice under the bomb – Vanguard

By The Citizen

Somewhere in the midst of the self-excusing reasons that are being given for the bombing of courts in Ahoada and Okehi, Rivers State, the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, has adopted the same self-defeating posture that has failed to improve the country's security.

'We condemn these acts of brigandage and view them not only as sacrilegious, but also as a desecration of the temple of justice. On no account, will we ever, idly stand by and watch these acts of violence and impunity to our courts, which are tantamount to an affront to the rule of law and threat to our democracy,' NBA's statement said

'The lackadaisical attitude accorded to the security of our courts nationwide, is now brought to the fore. The need to secure the premises of the hallowed courts of justice across the nation should be taken more seriously,' the NBA said in a statement that failed again to see the security situation as more compounded.

Does what happened in the Rivers courts have a link to the security situation in the country? We do not think so. Some people burnt the courts because for years, the high and mighty have acted above the law; they have seen themselves as the law, destroying whatever stood on their way with impunity.

Over time, they have managed to extend their immunity to their minions. What happened in Rivers State is purely political. If the security agencies are serious, they can find the criminals and their backers in days. They may not because they have accepted the 'security situation in the country'.

What makes security in courts more important than in other places? NBA talks about the importance of justice. Is NBA serious in relating insecurity in the country to the dispensation of justice?

How would the courts be secure if the other places are insecure? Or would secure courts be the security that Nigerians have been asking governments to ensure?

There are obvious challenges with security. The biggest threats to security are politicians. They do not respect anyone or anything. They promote illegalities. They have no respect for life, so law and order are meaningless to them.

Whoever bombed the courts intended, among other things, to heighten the tension in the State. Did they succeed? If they failed, they would try something else, something more devastating.

The fire next time may not be in Rivers State. Anywhere lawlessness thrives, as the polity has pre-disposed in the past 15 years, security breaches would be common.

NBA should be asking governments to make Section 14 (2b) of the 1999 Constitution, 'The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government', actionable.