Tompolo’s Evasion Of Court Summons Is One Of The Dangers Of Buhari Administration’s Contempt For Rule Of Law In Nigeria
(Intersociety Nigeria, 16th January 2016)-It is now a season of vindication for the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law concerning the full graduation of the democratically chained administration of President Muhammadu Buhari from ballot box to barrel of gun. According to the Shasta and the Legist Schools of Jurisprudential Thoughts of ancient India and China respectively; a society not popularly governed by law is a society of anarchy and lawlessness. And such society is said to be popularly governed by law if respect for its law starts from its political office holders and the same law evenly made and evenly applied. Selective and vindictive application of law is a clear invitation to anarchy!
We had observed from day one President Buhari’s unrepentant contempt for rule of law, human rights and constitutionalism in democratic Nigeria, to the extent that one of his closest allies, Dr. Yakubu Lame at a point cried out openly and called for extra constitutional emergency powers to enable President Buhari to perform. We again observed correctly that the administration of Muhammadu Buhari had in principle resurrected hitherto dead Decrees No 2 and 4 of 1984 in place of the 1999 Constitution and the rule of law. All these have since come to pass.
Instances of our vindication abound. Most, if not all policies and public conducts of President Muhammadu Buhari including his so called “anti corruption war”, appointments into key federal appointive offices and application of extant laws have remained grossly selective, skewed and lopsided. Till date, the Southeast Geopolitical Zone has remained the most cheated in all his federal appointments and this anti democratic pluralism practice of his has remained un-rescinded. The application and enforcement of the provisions of the 1999 Constitution has also remained grossly selective and misapplied. His so called “anti corruption war” is not only grossly selective, but vindictively directed at with 99.9% of members of the opposition party. Propaganda and falsehood is also the trademark of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari as well as its gross intolerance to dissent political and social opinions. Legal and rights activists are now waylaid at airports and bus stations, quizzed for hours and days for exercising their constitutionally empowered rights to movement and expression.
Today, the beginning of wisdom for some suspected unclean politicians of the opposition segment is to decamp to the federally ruling APC so as to be given corruption clean slates or weavers. Members of the opposition are arrested and detained beyond constitutional limits with reckless abandon while any member of the ruling party (if any) arrested; is freed under 24hrs, with his or her alleged white collar crime converted to indebtedness to Federal Government. Till date, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is popularly believed to be dominated by either electoral fraudsters or public funds plunderers. Some members of his federal cabinets and political party are notoriously known publicly and condemned for leaving their States; as governors, with hundreds of billions of public debts which usage had remained questionable; while others are alleged operators and owners of questionably acquired private jets and billionaire media industries; yet the so called “anti corruption war” of the Buhari administration is never channeled in their directions.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s fragrant contempt for rule of law and rapacious disobedience to judicial decisions; which he openly admitted on 30th December 2015; has taken a dangerous dimension leading to ominous signs of civil disobedience and lawlessness in Nigeria. Of such dangerous signs is recent evasion of court summons by Mr. Government Ekpemupolo (a.k.a. Tompolo); one of the leading Niger Delta militants. Mr. Ekpemupolo had earlier refused to honour administrative criminal invitation of the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over allegation of money laundering and diversion of N34 billion said to have accrued from the public private partnership agreement between NIMASA and Global West Vessel Specialist Limited (reportedly linked to Tompolo) for personal use.
Hon Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court, Lagos, had recently ordered the arrest of Mr. Government Ekpemupolo following his refusal to appear in court to take plea of guilty or not guilty as being charged over a 40-count charge of money laundering, conspiracy, stealing and diversion of public funds. The Court further directed the Nigeria Police Force to arrest and produce him in court by all meansin the next adjourned date, 8th February 2016. Mr. Government Ekpemupolo has responded publicly of his unwillingness to appear before the court and some militant elements in the Warri part of Delta State violently reacted by blowing some oil pipelines in the area; though he had reportedly distanced himself from the explosion.
The consequences of President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent public contempt to rule of law are yet to quench with the foregoing being one of them. As condemnable and despicable as Mr. Government Ekpemupolo’s affront to rule of law and judicial process is, the Government of Muhammadu Buhari should be held solely responsible for it. It is anarchy when the principal enforcers of the law lead the way to violating same. It appears that Nigeria has degenerated to a point where once a citizen wields a gun and becomes violent, he or she is listened to and respected.
Otherwise, where are Tukur Buratai and Solomon Arase of this world; who recklessly go about exhibiting futile and beast gallantry by recklessly shooting, killing and maiming in their hundreds innocent and unarmed Shiite and IPOB activists who never used or advocated violence? Where are President Muhammadu Buhari’s lawless DSS operatives who are only “experts” when it comes to trailing and waylaying innocent and unarmed citizens?
We understand that all kinds of persuasions and negotiations are reportedly being applied by the Presidency of Muhammadu Buhari and its loyalists to pamper and ferry Mr. Government Ekpemupolo to appear before the court; but if it is to be unarmed citizens, the Tukur Buratai and Solomon Arase of this world would have unleashed their crude violence on them including killing them on the process. The Buhari administration must stop teaching Nigerians, in disguise, on how to be armed, violent and lawless. His administration’s reckless and lawless dispositions are not only a recipe for anarchy; but also triggers of underdevelopment, mass poverty and spiral unemployment as no meaningful direct foreign investments will come to Nigeria already designated by its President as a country of anarchy, self help and lawlessness.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq., Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
Uzochukwu Oguejiofor-Nwonu, Esq., Head, Campaign & Publicity Department