A Crooked State Of Emergency
By Michael Egbejumi-David
Well, I used to think that only the All Progressives Congress (APC) is exploiting and cynically looking to profit from the Boko Haram impasse. I mean, just a few days ago, even the Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha was avowing that should Jonathan be returned to power in 2015, the Boko Haram war against the Nigerian state would continue. God only knows what Okorocha really means, however, it would appear the APC is determined to make stick the label that it knows a thing or two about the doings of Boko Haram.
But now, it seems the Federal government might be in on the act too. It is looking like the government might not be squeaky clean either.
Throughout this Boko Haram madness, I truly cannot recall a single case that has been successfully prosecuted by the government against captured Boko Haram operatives or any of their known (or alleged) sponsors.
And so it proved again on Monday 24 November 2014 when something quite fishy happened at a Federal High Court in Abuja. The presiding judge struck out the case filed against the alleged Nyanya bomb suspect, Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche. On that occasion, the prosecutor didn't even bother to show up in court!
Outside of the Chibok school girls' abduction, the Nyanya bomb blast in Abuja is arguably one of the more dastardly acts carried out by Boko Haram. And here we are; our government has gone and bungled the whole thing. The judge struck out the charges “for want of diligent prosecution by the complainant, Inspector General of Police and his Prosecutor.”
This is a funny turn of events, an unacceptable turn of events. Is the government not interested in prosecuting Boko Haram criminals and operatives? Is our government afraid of what Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche might say in court? And if the government is uncomfortable with what Boko Haram suspects might spill out in public, why would that be?
Yet the government is again asking for another extension of the State of Emergency imposed on three states in the Northeast: Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.
On the face of it, judged purely on end results and on achievables, the State of Emergency in those states has proved completely ineffectual, an utter waste of time. It was under this State of Emergency that the Chibok school girls were ferried away in a long convoy of buses. It was under this State of Emergency that Boko Haram routinely sacked police and army facilities and formations. It was under this State of Emergency that Boko Haram over-ran whole towns and villages, hoisting haphazardly designed caliphate flags on 'conquered territories.' But rather than declare a full-scale war on the insurgents and get everything over with, the government is asking for yet another extension of the State of Emergency; a tactic that has not worked.
Unless of course the State of Emergency serves another purpose. The extension being sort would be in place for another three months. That would take us to the end of February 2015. It is currently being argued in some quarters that non-conduction of elections in volatile or war-torn areas is permissible. This implies that the Presidential election of February 14 2015 could hold everywhere except for the three affected states and the results would still be valid.
Personally, I'm not sure if this is entirely correct. But I do know that our laws allow for postponement of elections where there is physical conflict.
However, regardless of conspiratorial permutations, regardless of whether there is a formal State of Emergency in place or not, I am not too certain that anyone will be queuing up to vote in those Boko Haram-soaked states anyway.
As it is, folks in those affected places barely venture out of their homes anymore to congregate in large numbers in any one place for obvious reasons. Even if the military were to sufficiently secure some urban areas for election to hold, could the same feat be done in many more rural areas where Boko Haram hold sway? The question then becomes whether results from a handful of secured urban areas are sufficient and acceptable for the presidential (and governorship) elections.
Where does all this leave us?
One thing has become clear and there is a strong sense out there that, by commission or by omission, Boko Haram and the fight against it is nothing more than a treasonable tool being exploited by all power mongers for political supremacy. Even most of our foreign partners in the battle to confront the insurgency have backed off. They have come to believe that, like our fight against corruption, the entire effort is unserious and cloaked in duplicity…
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