It is an indisputable truth all over the world that security is everybody’s business and not that of the security agencies alone due to the fact that life has no duplicate to remedy a lost one. Also, this are not the best of times for the security agencies here in Nigeria in view of the overwhelming but surmountable security challenges which confront the country and is threatening our corporate existence as a people if not handled with tact and responsibility.
But a patriotic duty and responsibility which citizens owe themselves and their society is to hold people in positions of authority accountable for their actions by being vigilant and inquisitive to comment and take actions on societal issues lest we return to the despotic state of nature through conspiratorial silence of the citizenry which is inimical to the peace, progress and development of humanity.
Also, we must take heed and note as vocal citizens with the love of our country at heart, after all we don’t have another one for now, that we should not allow ourselves to be blackmailed and cajoled into silence by those who feel and label those with opposing or contrary views to the official state positions as unpatriotic elements or members of the opposition. It pays humanity and our society in the long run when we keep those in office of authority on their toes through criticisms and comments because we will by this action be justifying the Yoruba adage which says “Ebo alaroka ko se ruu” meaning “The aggrieved cannot be appeased from complaining since that is the only way to voice his discontent” and also the tenets of democracy which recognizes the salient importance of citizenry vigilance through opposition whereby the majority will have their way while the minority will have their say.
Nigerians woke up on Monday 31st March 2014 to a news in almost all the mainstream media and which had been circulating in the social media a day before on Sunday 30th March 2014 about a three hours shootout at the DSS headquarters in Abuja between alledged invading Boko Haram members and DSS operatives who were complemented by men of the Nigeria army which left some people dead and others injured.
However, following this shootout and its cloudy aftermath, the Deputy Director, Public Relations DSS in person of Mrs. Marilyn Ogar came on air to address the world on what transpired and her explanations on circumstances surrounding the incident left much to be desired and it was akin to pouring water into a basket. The more she laboured to explain, the more she exposed her flak and inconsistencies that one could see that she were being economical with the truth.
There are some salient questions that Nigerians who are desirous that that our security agencies perform their constitutional duty with the highest sense of responsibility and decorum which is hinged on civilized norms and respect for human lives would like the DSS to provide answers to;
- Is it lawful for DSS to keep suspects in their custody when the prisons and other lawful detention facilities exist?
- Why would the DSS keep high risk suspects together in a cell against all known laws of security intelligence?
- Is it proper for a security operative to go into a cell housing high risk suspects with arms?
- How can the DSS rationalize the killing of 21 suspects in its custody via alledged jail break just because one of the suspects disposed the security operative of his gun within DSS facility?
- How many security operatives were on guard the detention facility when the alledged attempted jail break happened?
- Can high risk suspects within the DSS detention facility attempt jail break with only one gun?
- How can we juxtapose DSS account of a jail break with account of residents that the shootings within the DSS facility lasted for three hours?
These and many other questions have been bordering the minds of discerning Nigerians who have taken the DSS account of the shootout with a pinch of salt bearing in mind that not too long ago, the DSS stormed an uncompleted building in Apo village, Abuja and killed some innocent and homeless Nigerians all in the name of the fight against terrorism. We must be careful not endanger humanity by allowing our security agencies to use the fight against terrorism as a license to kill.
In as much as we sympathize with the security agencies in the tasking battle against insurgents and other forms of criminality in the land, we owe it a duty to posterity to ensure that they don’t take the law into their hands in the discharge of their constitutional responsibility like a rag tag security agency and not a trained one by killing suspects in their care who have not been convicted by the courts of law for the sake of justice.
Therefore, one would like to use this medium to call on Nigerians to speak out and demand an independent inquiry into this matter and not allow the culture of mindless killings by our security agencies to continue.
This is one extra judicial killing too much that we are not convinced with official explanations and so one would like to call on the international community to investigate this matter and not allow it to be swept under the carpet as usual by the Nigerian authorities.
One is also calling on the international community to come to the aid of Nigeria with modern methods of combating terrorism because she seems to be relying on crude methods of extermination which is harmful to humanity and the course of justice?
Again, one would as well like to call on the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to investigate and make recommendations over this violation of the right to life of suspects who are presumed innocent until proven guilty in order to avoid a reoccurrence.
Centre for Rights and Grassroots Initiative (CRGI)
1a Fadeyi Street, Ikeja, Lagos.