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Wike’s intervention, a sacrifice for Nigeria

By Austin Tam-George   |   11 October 2016   |   3:51 am
Nyesom Wike

Nyesom Wike

Barely 24 hours after I described the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, as Nigeria’s ultimate “outdoor leader”, in a Facebook tribute to his impressive achievements in the state, the governor was out at 1:00 a.m on the streets of Port Harcourt to stop the abduction of a Federal High Court judge, by hooded men of the Department of State Services (DSS).

The DSS men had arrived at the home of the judicial officer in a manner disturbingly similar to how Boko Haram marauders stormed the female hostels in Chibok in 2014.  It is a tragic parallel to draw, but a thread of impunity runs through both incidents.

In both raids, the invaders acted outside the law, they had no court orders, no arrest warrants, no search warrants, and their victims had committed no crimes.

After the 320 Chibok school girls were stolen by Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram’s blood-thirsty leader, released a sickening video in which he claimed to have acted on the exact orders of Allah.

When confronted by Governor Wike and other state leaders on the legality of the invasion of the judge’s home, the DSS simply justified their action by citing, not the law of the land, but “orders from above”.

The press statement released by the DSS following deafening public outcry on this unwarranted attack on the country’s judicial system, must rank as the most self-indicting statement ever made by a public institution in Nigeria.

The DSS has said its assault on the judiciary was part of a so-called anti-corruption crusade. But are we to accept “anti-corruption” as our new national moniker for arrant impunity? Is a fight against corruption outside the rule of law not itself the grossest form of corruption?

After a series of Supreme Court judgements in favour of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) earlier in the year, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) had launched a bitter and unprecedented campaign of calumny against the integrity of the justices of the court.

In a widely publicised media interview, Mr. John Odigie-Oyegun the National Chairman of the APC, had castigated the nation’s judicial system, and declared that “something is fundamentally wrong in the judiciary”.

Oyegun had also made the shocking suggestion that all oil-producing states of the Niger Delta region were prized assets to be acquired at all costs by the APC.

“We have lost very important resource-rich states to the PDP. No matter how crude oil prices have fallen, it is still the most important revenue earner for the country”, Mr. Oyegun had said.

The illegal invasion of the homes of judges across the country must, therefore, be seen as a full frontal reprisal attack launched by the APC against our evolving democratic culture, and the judicial institution that supports it.

I recommend that the public statement released by the DSS should be made a required reading in all schools in Nigeria, as the sorriest justification for executive lawlessness in a democratic dispensation.

I appeal to the international community to not look away as Nigeria’s fragile democratic order faces its gravest existential threat in nearly two decades.

Governor Wike’s courageous insistence on the supremacy of the law, even as he was physically assaulted by men of the DSS, is his finest service to Nigeria.

The governor’s historic intervention reminds us of the sacrifice every Nigerian must now be prepared to make, as we challenge the tyranny and anarchy that loom over our nation.

•Dr. Tam-George is the Commissioner for Information and Communication, Rivers State

  • Kehinde

    The rule of law has been compromised in Nigeria, just like we used to have in Ghana. That is why God Almighty in His infinite Wisdom gave us GRACE (freedom) from the LAW of corrupt mankind. Extreme situation demands extreme response. We must all join hands to fight corruption in Nigeria, even if the Rawlings style is needed. Enough of hiding under the porous Nigeria legal system to perpetuate evil.

  • Haddy Wadda

    What sacrifice? Wike was there at that time, to make sure that the billions of dollars that he gave to the Judge as bribe money was secure. He and Akpabio are very currupt. Akpabio, is the most currupt person in the world. He is a world class thief . He has stolen AKS dry. He has mentioned in the past, how he used to eat from the dustbin, now he owns houses all over the world, where did he get such money from? Where is he also getting billions of dollars from which he is using to bribe Judges? We know that his life has always been filled with filth. He is a crook…

  • Haddy Wadda

    This kind of operation, has been done in the United States severally to rid it’s country of currupt Jugdes. If the DSS did not go in the way they did, those Judges, would have had the chance to hid the money, that could be used as evidence in the court of law. There has never been a better time, to fight curruption, than now that we have a President who is incorruptible. Curruption does a country no good, it stunts it’s growth and sometimes renders the country non existent. The time to salvage this country is now. Those currupt former Governors like Akpabio really have no place in the Senate if the truth about his emergence is to be told. Is it the killings that he masterminded in our State, AKS. Is it the wanton level of curruption, that he perpetuated… Need more be told?… Nobody should be above the law!

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