Two decades ago, former President Olusegun Obasanjo promised to make the security of lives and property an immediate concern when he was being sworn into office for the first time at the Eagle Square in Abuja.
Barely two years in office, his Attorney-General and Chief Law Officer of the nation, Chief Bola Ige fondly known as the Cicero of Esa Oke was murdered in cold blood in his Ibadan residence. The following year,the National Vice-Chairman of the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Marshall Harry was assassinated. Ayo Daramola, a PDP Gubernatorial aspirant was killed in the state which prides herself as the Fountain of Knowledge in 2006. That same year, Funsho Williams, the favourite for the seat of Alausa was killed in his Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi residence. Dipo Dina was killed in Ogun State in 2010 in the run up to the 2011 gubernatorial elections.
One thing which was common in all the killings is that their killers were never found. Some hungry looking street urchins would be paraded before the camera and then will be set free almost immediately after when the public would have lost interest in the charade. Life simply goes on goes the age-long cliché.
The latest victim in this bizarre act was Salome Abuh who was a PDP leader in Kogi State. She was said to have been locked up in her house by a mob who then set it ablaze amidst her loud cries for help. The heartless crowd jeered on till her voice was drowned by the excruciating pain of the fire.
Her death was so crude and barbaric; how could the hearts of the faceless mob be so cruel!
The governor of the state who is set to be sworn in for a second term, Yahaya Bello hasn’t yet offered a word of condolence. Is it because they belong to different political parties? He took an oath of office in 2015 to protect lives and property irrespective of the person’s political affiliation. Why couldn’t he offer a word of a death that occurred within his jurisdiction? President Muhammadu Buhari is also guilty of this conspiratorial silence. Up till now he or his media aides haven’t yet uttered a word on the gory incident. In decent climes, he would have even physically visited the place and set the chain in motion for her killers to be immediately fished out but alas we are domiciled in a third world jungle that foolishly prides herself as the ‘Giant of Africa.’
Her murder may most likely go the way of the other unresolved ones in the country. How tragic!
So far, only a serving member of the Federal House of Representatives gave the bereaved family, fifty thousand naira to purchase a coffin for her burial. There has been no official statement from the top hierarchy of the PDP so far. Is this how she will be rewarded for slaving away for the interest of the party that once touted itself as being the largest in the African continent? Her death has just affirmed the fears of some realistically minded citizens that Nigeria isn’t simply worth dying for.
Politically motivated murders aren’t restricted to Nigeria as they occur in all climes. We recall that some American Presidents have been assassinated including William Mckinley, John Fitzgerald, Abraham Lincoln etc but the response by the government is always swift as their killers get fished out in no time.
The corruption in the defense sector has ensured that the police is ill equipped to fish out murderers. They unfortunately lack the expertise to conduct thorough forensic investigations to discovering who the killers are. Long years of military rule and the unwillingness of the civilian ‘leaders’ to be committed to keeping the society completely free from crime has ensured that our police officers dread the mention and sight of criminals and assassins who brandish far more sophisticated weapons. The citizens prefer private security outfits or the likes of the Oodua Peoples Congress to cater to their security needs as they have lost faith in the police force to effectively guarantee the safety of their lives and properties.
Abuh’s death is a restatement of the clarion call for the police force to be decentralized and the formation of a state police where police officers are stationed in areas where they are very familiar with the terrain. Her death may have been averted by a policeman who would have kept a beady eye on the goings on in the environment in the aftermath of the fiercely contested elections which cost about six lives and was described by some international observers as something akin to being worse than a farce. Such a politician would have known those who were in the murder scene and would have been able to extract useful information from them to ascertain who their sponsors were. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The current centralized police structure has failed before our very eye and it’s time to try a different approach.
May her soul rest in peace and eternally rest in the Bosom of the Lord; May her family be comforted in this sorrowful time of theirs.
Tony Ademiluyi writes from Lagos and edits www.africanbard.com