Former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu will, tomorrow, deliver the Nnamdi Azikiwe University convocation lecture at the institution’s 11th convocation ceremony. The lecture, titled Leadership and the challenges of national unity in Nigeria holds at the university auditorium by 1:00pm. Ribadu was the pioneer EFCC chairman, the government…
We are used to governance by contradictions. It’s part of the Nigerian political culture and we enjoy it, or better said, have come to make do with it. It’s a situation of cherishing what you have when you can’t attain what you desire.
This week, we stepped back into the same cesspit where the same government sommersaults in public on policy pronouncement contradictions. The president’s adviser had issued a statement that made sense, asking Nigerians without clear purpose of visiting the US to stay away as the immigration policies of President Donald Trump are not so clear now.
Just the same day, the foreign minister asked all of us to ignore Abike, for ‘she knoweth not what she sayeth or doeth.’ Now, the same person asking you to ignore his partner in the same confusing government said all of us with valid reasons and mission to visit Trump’s country shouldn’t hesitate. At last, I have not seen the reason for one asking us to ignore the other. What Geoffrey Onyeama, the minister said and that of Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the SA, in my thinking are just like one person saying that: Monotony kills interest, and the other counters that that’s not true, rather that: Variety is the spice of living. Any difference in the two? Don’t go to US if you don’t have good reason to be there. Don’t hesitate to go to US if your mission is valid. What is the difference between the two? None, other than confusion of the ruling class.
In December 2004, the Supreme Court had delivered a judgment that President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Federal Government had no legal reason to withhold Lagos State LG allocations.
Few weeks after that when it was clear that Obasanjo had superior law and decision to that of the Supreme Court, on that fateful day, the formidable Lagosian and Works Minister, Adeseye Ogunlewe visited Lagos and told journalists at the airport that the money had been released, because Obasanjo is an avid respecter of the rule of law. On that same day, another minister in the same government, Bayo Ojo, the Attorney General, visited Ibadan and in response to the same question from the media, Ojo said the money had not been released because the government was still studying the judgment to decide on compliance. What is the meaning of these? Confusion! Government confusion or what Fela called govment magic comes in diverse forms.
That is my case for discussion here. On January 27, Friday, in a court in Owerri Imo State, a notorious kidnapper, as we were told was abducted, kidnapped, and forcefully bundled out of the court in the full glare of the court and police. His name was Vampire. In a vampire move, his fellow vampires desecrated the court and whisked him away. That act was a sign that bullying and lawlessness are more powerful and potent than all the laws put together in a jungle setting called Nigeria.
Later on March 2, 34 days after that invasion, Vampire was neutralized in gunfire exchange in Rivers State, and I read the people of the state got into jubilation frenzy. I think some people must have jubilated more – that is some of the powerful and well connected in the state.
I can bet my hat that something sinister, away from what the eyes see was behind Vampire, the kidnapper’s kidnap from the court in Owerri. If my senses and tentacles still vibrate in tune with reasonable suspicion, I can tell you as a matter of fact that, that act was necessitated by powerful forces in Imo that Vampire acted for or in concert with. Otherwise, it’s almost impossible that the goons mobilized and stormed the court and successfully whisked away their member who must have been guarded by armed security operatives due to the weight of his crimes and standing.
Some people possibly didn’t feel comfortable with his trial, because that would have exposed certain things other ears must not hear. To stop Vampire from squealing, the trial must stop and he must be taken away and eliminated. That way the trial would never hold. Some people heaved a sigh of deep relief that the fall guy has been taken care of.
While the streets were filled with jubilant motley crowds, some alleys and lounges for the powerful would have overflowed with champaigne, wines, spirits etc in celebration of the same death, but with a different motive. Vampire is silent forever and the collaborators had a last and loud laugh. That is organized crime and the way it operates. So instead of finding a way of capturing Vampire to continue with the trial he was safer dead.
Vampire’s drama is akin to the major character in Casey Prescott’s book, Asset in Black who was described as a man too important to die and too dangerous to live. You may do a rehash of what you read in James Hadley Chase novel – Safer Dead. Vampire was safer dead just like some that are still alive who are twice safer when Vampire is dead.
To wrap up whatever deal in this drama, the police that shot dead Vampire never revealed to us what happened to his gang members and, especially those that abducted him out of the court while trial was on. That abduction was a typical case of multiple crimes in the face of the court and in defiance and scorn of due process in criminal justice administration.
It reminded me of the hideous assassination of Osisikankwu, another high wire kidnap kingpin in Abia State in December 2010. In his case, soldiers killed him and much as the goon was a terrorist that needed trial to unravel what moved him to his awesome evil adventures, some forces that used him and his group for politics never wanted him caught so that he won’t say some abominable things.
So, kudos to the police for killing Vampire, but we expect to be briefed further on when his gang members and those that forcefully took him from the court and truncated his trial would be caught and tried. Until that is done, I think the jubilation would be too unwholesome and must be called off, otherwise killing him would not bring any palliative to the continued reign of the kidnappers and other criminals in that state and region of Nigeria.
It is possible that state has forgotten or that they think Nigerians have forgotten the Otokoto incident that ravaged Owerri in 1996 in reaction to the gruesome beheading of 11-year-old Ikechukwu Okoronkwo, the kid groundnut hawker that was lured into Otokoto hotel and beheaded by an evil agent, a guilty felon that bore a misnomer – Innocent Ekeanyanwu. After he chopped off Ikechukwu’s head, he was caught on his way to deliver it to one Chief Unaogu through a tip-off by an okada rider that conveyed him there.
In the same vein, Ekeanyanwu, the major culprit died in detention just after three days. That way he was silenced, but it didn’t stop the completion of the trial of the seven major suspects and their execution, especially one that was hanged November 13 last year.
Maybe Owerri wants to reenact that Otokoto saga of 21 years ago, but this time, the masses instead of protesting like they did then, instead jubilated and I hope the jubilation lasts because something seems to say that whoever did the damage control in Vampire assassination, and I believe they would be, may just have treated a symptom and not the cause of the ailment.