Dear Nigeria: For The Sake Of Public Trust Set Up A Bi-regional Style Commission Now Over The Deadly Threat On Ortom’s Life. It Is A Hate Crime. Let’s Stop Playing A Delicate Dance Due To Culture And Religion

Source: Prof. John Egbeazien Oshodi
Governor Samuel Ortom
Governor Samuel Ortom

The Inspector General of the Police (IGP) and the Nation’s President have respectively ordered investigation into the deadly attack on the life of the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom. Let’s have some optimism in the ability of the IGP team to investigate the incident professionally and in a non-biased manner. A Nigerian police organization not quite known for transparent, impartial, open, and trustful investigations.

Given the global perception and Nigerians' long-standing genuine concerns about the nationwide frequent police misconduct, incompetence, unethical and unprofessional performances in investigations, a far wider probe and neutral investigative exercise is equally needed.

With current deep regional and religious divide, unfairly as it may be there is the perception by a part of the country, the non-northern or non-Muslim side in particular, that the President and the IGP being Muslims, they are by way of that cultural background apparent part of the problem.

As conflict intensifies in Nigeria between the Middle Belt/Southern Christians and Muslim Northern Nigeria, marked with the apparent perception that the President and the IGP, may likely to be less closer to the southern and middle belt in terms of cultural beliefs and religious sentiments, for the benefit of doubt this Commission should commence as an addition and a more broader cross-section body.

It will be best for everybody for a bi-regional type Commission to investigate the attack on Ortom.

The independent bi-regional-type Commission will investigate and report on the facts and causes, and the security relating to the March 21, 2021 domestic terrorist attack on the Governor.

A Commission of this nature would be established immediately on the orders of the President along with Speaker of the House of Representative and the Senate President officially agreeing to its formation. The Commission members would not be elected leaders and would be outside the government.

Why a Commission?
As cultural, religious, security, leadership and regional tensions surges on in the country, there is distrust on every side. Nigeria, no matter how we try to deny obvious issues in it, is certainly, culturally, and religiously tense in real life and on the social media now.

This Commission would have a greater emphasis on equal representation, culturally, religiously, regionally and leadership wise. It's an outside Commission. Active political and current law enforcement or security members would not be serving on it. In order to sincerely, openly and equally address issues surrounding the attempted killing, there should be two co-Chairs with law enforcement investigatory and subpoena powers, chaired equally by well-known leadership voice from the South and North respectively, preferably former governors. With the power to refer the case to the public prosecutor and the courts.

Comprised of 12 members from around the country. On civil grounds, no one with a military history should be in membership.

Just like the IGP and the President, in terms of cultural and religious apparent perceptual concerns by the Christian southerners/middle belt citizens, the current Attorney General (AG) should not be involved with the commission.

Should the office of the AG via the Federal Ministry of Justice be involved in any way, a two man-prosecutor of opposite religious and cultural backgrounds should be involved.

While some governors have been victims of attempted violent attack the only difference is that in recent times, Ortom has intensely become the subject of a betting game within the circle of northern Nigerians with widespread rhetoric from some Muslim Northern leaders.

The Commission that will show interregional equity especially when the southern part of the country perceives skewed leadership appointments on ethno-religious grounds, a perception that was recently noted in the USA congress, that leadership appointments are lacking equitable image or representations, so in order to gain legitimacy ,confidence and power in the eyes of the Nigerian people both home and abroad, the Commission must show religious ethnic balance and regional equity.

For far too long the Nigeria Police Force has being known for its human right failures resulting in international admiration, public support and peoples trust been completely eroded.

The near death of the Governor of the Benue State, Ortom, for many in non-Northern territories, this act that has gained international and national attention, is seen as a hateful form of extremism and a threat to them as persons that belong to a part of the country with opposite ethnic , regional and religious sentiments.

The central question before the nation and the world is what is wrong when a State Governor in line with international and democratic standards, as in many countries require cattle herders to purchase a land and establish a ranch? He legally banned open grazing which in fact is dangerous to the herd. Ranches keep the cattle safe from dangers and predators and keep private properties from freely roaming animals.

For his resistance to lawlessness in his State, he is being marked for destruction, and in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, on April 28, 1967, “ no matter what abuses it may bring I’m gonna tell the truth”. A line of words that speaks volumes about Ortom.

If this independent probe through this suggested Commission is started urgently and moved to investigate this national type catastrophe and domestic terrorism, with successful outcomes, for once, we may be choosing a path towards peaceful coexistence. This is the time of national accountability irrespective of regional differences.

In fact, in the absence for what many are calling for, such as noticeably constitutional amendments, separation or radical restructuring of the federation, a co-leadership type (from the President, Senate, House of Representative, Ministers, and other federal headships) practice across federal leadership positions as asserted here regarding the commission make up, will help attain a Nigeria type equitable democratic system that work and accommodates the citizens in the Northern and South/middle belt.

Prof John Egbeazien Oshodi, is an American based Police/Prison Scientist and Forensic/Clinical/Legal Psychologist, a government Consultant on matters of forensic-clinical adult/child psychological services in the USA; Chief Educator and Clinician at the Transatlantic Enrichment and Refresher Institute, an Online Lifelong Center for Personal, Professional and Career Development. The Founder of the Dr. John Egbeazien Oshodi Foundation, Center for Psychological Health and Behavioral Change in African settings especially. The Development Professor and International Liaison Consultant at the African University of Benin, and a Virtual Faculty at the ISCOM University, Benin of Republic. Author of over 35 academic publications, at least 200 public opinion writeups on African issues, and various books.

Prof. Oshodi was born in Uromi, Edo State, Nigeria. Comes to Nigeria periodically visits home for scholastic and humanitarian works. [email protected]

Prof. John Egbeazien Oshodi

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