The Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) condemns, without any reservation, the gruesome killing of four University of Port-Harcourt (UNIPORT) students in Aluu community of Rivers State. This, coming so soon after another brutal cutting down of scores of students in Mubi, Adamawa state, is one killing too many!
Unconfirmed preliminary reports had it that the students- Ugonna, IIyod, Tekana, Chidiaka- were embroiled in an argument with a man from the community over money owed. Rather than settling amicably, the man in question called a local vigilante group that came instantly. The students, first stripped naked, were beaten into pulp before being burnt to death. The footage of this act of untrammeled barbarism reveals a sad commentary that in the current Nigerian state: death is cheap and ubiquitous! It also reveals that studentship in Nigeria is fraught with inherent danger because of the near absence of governance in the Country.
The question is: where was the Nigeria Police while this fire of primitive justice raged? Indeed, the Police was nowhere! The defective organizational, crime-fighting thrust of the Nigeria Police is seen in its reactivity rather than pro-activity. Globally, Policing is first and foremost about maintenance of law and order. The Prevention of crime comes to the fore in the discharge of this responsibility by the Police. This is why the New-York Police Department (NYPD) officers are seen patrolling the streets in all the five boroughs of the City of New-York. In that way, crime is detected and prevented so that societal equilibrium is not unduly discomfited. But the Nigeria Police is hamstrung to do this efficiently because a considerable number of its insufficient personnel is devoted for the protection of the
chieftains of the ruling PDP. Truly, arrests have been made in connection with this heinous crime, we insist that there should be a paradigm shift in the organizational strategy of the Nigeria Police to Crime prevention.
The emergence and growing number of vigilante groups in the Nigerian communities is an attestation to the waning public confidence in the service delivery of the Nigeria Police. First, the spontaneity of the response to distress calls is still a sore point in the performance of the Police. Second, the delay or absence of prosecution and conviction makes for eroded public confidence in the Police. There was the case of a Man, arrested by the Police with evidential trappings of an Armed robber that later found his way to as an elected senator of the Federal republic of Nigeria, having escaped prosecution and conviction. This may partly explain, but not justifiable reason, why communities now mete out jungle justice to criminals or perceived criminals. As a Party, we believe that all these institutional foibles of the Nigeria Police are not enough for communities to resort to self-help. In this vein, the operation of vigilante groups should henceforth be structured to work in tandem with the Nigeria Police.
The kernel of the operation should be to effect arrest of accused criminals and turn over to the Police!
As a Party, we commiserate with the Parents, siblings, family members and friends of the deceased. Indeed, the gory pictures of the gruesome killings evoke feelings of anguish. The murderous violence on these young Nigerians should therefore elicit a collective desire in us as Nigerians for a safer, tranquil and better-governed polity.
God bless Nigeria.
Rotimi Fashakin (Engr.)
National Publicity Secretary, CPC.
(Tuesday, October 09, 2012).