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As long as Nigeria is still a democracy the rule of law must guide the words of officials like the Nigerian Inspector General of Police, Mr. Muhammed Dikko Abubakar.

As we know the criminal justice process is multifaceted and subject to many rules and that is what the IGP did in his objective response to an interactive session with some journalists while recently visiting the Rivers State Police Command.

There now appears to be an interpretation from some in the media that the IGP’s responses to the recent Abuja-Kaduna bombing were probably marked with loopholes, dodging and escaping the specific questions.

The IGP reportedly answered that the bombing incidents could be “the handiwork of criminals and hoodlums” and he further stated that “arrests have been made on the bomb blasts” and investigation on the case is going on.

Some in the media raised the idea that the IGP was “taking care not to mention any name or group” as in Boko Haram even when he was informed by the journalists that the Boko Haram sect had claimed responsibility for the bomb attacks.

Like a true professional, Mr. Abubakar stood his grounds of not wanting to pass verdict on any group including Boko Haram, simply because in a democracy the essential requirements of due process of law must be allowed to take place through police investigation, prosecution and the courts.

As one who looks at stuff from the point of psychology it is fully proper to state that whatever reason was behind the IGP’s responses, like an able criminal justice professional he sees the need for our nation to observe the reality of democracy and to understand that not until a suspect(s) is proven guilty by a court of law, even when he or she admits to a crime in the media he or she is still innocent of the crime.

Nigerian journalist should join the IGP in realistically practicing the due process of the law instead of attempting to read the IGP’s mind and question his impartiality as a citizen and above all, as a law enforcement officer.

In a democracy the IGP’s words or responses could at any time of the court process on this bombing matter represent aspects of contaminating the entire case and as such possibly sabotage the case.

Psychologically the very foundation of the rule of law, include commitment to fairness, and following the scales of justice as well as continuously developing our constitution, and these steps ought to become every ones move including the journalists especially.

As an emerging society no matter how heinous a crime is or no matter how suspicious we are of each other, let us attempt to walk together on the grounds of the rule of law.

This is essential if we are to ever shape Nigeria into an established society which we all hope will become the rock upon which a democratic government will rest on for the good of all Nigerian irrespective of their ethnic, tribal, religious and class differences.

Written By John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D.
[email protected]

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