By Samson Yaki

The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people’ Martins Luther King Jnr.

Worried by the continued silence in the middle of anarchy, characterized by high degree of crisis that is threatening the total collapse of the nation’s Security, Eminent Scholars and other Top Patriotic Nigerians, under the Platform of ‘Concerned Nigerians’, have at last broken silence, drawing a red line for Government, knowing full well that, “He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it”, and  “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”, as quoting Martins Luther King Jnr.

The Group, under the auspices of ‘Concerned Nigerians’ in a statement titled; “We Must Draw a Red Line on the Zabarmari Massacre”, which was signed by Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim and Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, OON, SAN, said, there is urgent need to halt the country’s descent into further deterioration of the system as the political space is heating up; calling for urgent steps to address the situation.

The group, which comprises Professors, other responsible and patriotic Nigerians, who are non-partisan individuals believing in the union of people through the maintenance of democratic order, founded on the rule of law, says it has watched with keen interest and with serious concern the unfolding crisis threatening to engulf the nation.

The Professors who included the immediate past INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Muhammadu Jega OFR, who was also one time President of ASUU, Professor Prof. Ukachukwu A. Awuzie, also one time ASUU President, Dr Dipo Adesina, also one time ASUU President.

Other Professors include, Prof. Auwalu H. Yadudu, Prof. Adele Jinadu, Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim, Prof. G.G. Darah, Prof. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo OON, Prof. Mohammed Tabiu, SAN, Prof. Pat Utomi, Prof. Rufai Alkali and Rev Prof. Koyinsola Ajayi SAN.

Other top Nigerians are; A. B. Mahmoud, OON, SAN, SFNLI, Abubakar Sokoto Mohammed, Adeyemi Candide-Johnson SAN, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kuka, Cmrd. Salisu Nuhu Mohammed, Dayo Olaide, Danlami Nmodu, Dr. Chris Kwaja, Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed, Dr. Dipo Fashina, Dr, Peter Ozo-Eson, Dr. Udo Jude and Dr. Innocent Chukwuma.

Others include, Dr. Kole Shettima, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba OON, SAN, Dr Usman Bugaje, Ene Obi, Father George Ehusani, Funke Adekoya, SAN, Idayat Hassan, Hon. Rima Shawulu, Mal. Yusuf Ali SAN, Mal. Kabiru Yusuf, Mallam Hamza Ibrahim, Mal. Y.Z. Yau, Mr. Ledum Mitee, Mr. Chino Edmund Obiagwu SAN, Mr. Femi Falana SAN, Mr. John Odah, Ms Ngozi Iwere and Ms Amina Salisu.

The group expressed concern over the outbreak of EndSARS protests by Nigerian youth across the country, against widespread police brutality, endemic corruption, and bad governance, calling on the authority concerned to reason and halt what appears to be a descent into anarchy.

“We believe in the freedom of all Nigerians to exercise the rights guaranteed by our Constitution, including the right to life, dignity, personal liberty, freedom of speech, and right to freedom of association (which encompasses the right to participate in peaceful protests and in processions without harassment or intimidation from any person or authority).

“Beyond these fundamental rights is the high constitutional duty and responsibility of all organs of government in Nigeria to act for the primary purpose of government being the security and welfare of the people (as set out in Section 14(2)(B) of the Constitution)”.

According to the group, the prerequisite for exercising the rights of citizens rests fully on the existence of the security of lives and property of all Nigerians; stating that despite the exacerbation of prevailing pains of anguish and anger precipitated by COVID-19 and attendant stagflation, “the unfortunate manner in which the ground swell united EndSARS protest was ended with illegitimate use of force by government (some disillusioned as well as criminal people), has increased tension, fear, dismay, disillusion and despair for most Nigerians”.

The group maintained that the situation was further “aggravated by the unlawful detention and blocking of bank accounts of innocent protesters; the unceasing attempts to delegitimize EndSARS, presenting it as a move to initiate regime change; and inconsistent, high handed treatment of the people by the Federal Government-appointed Consultative Committee under the Chief of Staff to the President”.

They further stated that the effort to subdue freedom of Nigerians the top agents of State have been insistent on not allowing anymore protests, warning they will be treated as acts of treason rather than address the substantive issues that led to the protests.

Stressing that this was against the backdrop of concerns about an urgent and coordinated action by the States and the Federal governments to implement the minimum set of proposals by the youth, establish the basis for trust, allow for evident and speedy reform of the police, and more importantly deal with the open take-over of a large part of the nation by well-organized outright lawlessness, intent on unleashing generalized violence on the citizens and threatening community.

The group stated that with the barbaric slaughter of innocent Nigerians at Zabarmari, Borno State, “Nigerians now live in a state of anomie, well outside our unsuccessful eleven-year old war against Boko Haram”, adding that,  “Across the country, especially in the North, life has become extremely tenuous. People are killed daily, women are raped regularly, kidnapping is rife and many farmers cannot go to their farms”.

“We are concerned that over the past five years, in particular, public safety and security have been in steady decline throughout the country.

“What we see, like others, is incompetence in governance demonstrated by a lack of ideas on how to tackle insecurity, a poor understanding of the situation and a clear failure in the pursuit of government engagement to address these problems.

Accordingly, the group called on President Muhammadu Buhari to demonstrate real leadership with empathy and compassion, as it urges all Nigerians to speak for government to show sensibility to the feelings of the people.

The group also called on the government to unfreeze all accounts and free all persons detained on account of organizing the EndSARS protest, charging to court anyone it finds to have a case to answer for any crime.

It says the Federal Government should stop all acts evidencing dissonance in government, labeling innocent and legitimate activity as criminal, ridiculing government by misrepresenting facts, and labeling the reportage of facts as fake news.

We therefore with all sense of patriotism and love for a united, peaceful, secure, just and prosperous nation,

The group also called on the National Assembly to ensure that the Office of the president takes decisive action to improve the security situation in the country as stipulated by the constitution; and in consonance with the widely accepted notion of devolution, the National Assembly should enact laws to facilitate State Governments to take more responsibility for their security as they face increased insecurity.

According to the group, “the security chiefs in the country have collectively failed to provide security for Nigerians and there must be consequences for this failure and in any case their tenure has expired”, calling on Civil society groups and communities to come out and show their legitimate concerns at mounting insecurity and make it clear that they are unwilling to continue to accept the current collapse of public safety.

“State Governments and community leaders should quickly put in place legitimate mechanisms for better protection of their people against mass violence, banditry, kidnapping and other crimes”, the Group added.

Indeed “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”

For “Nothing in the entire world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” And “If a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”

“A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan.”

And finally, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *