By Utitofon Idara
On Tuesday July 25th, 2023. The second-longest-serving Central Bank Governor of Nigeria was charged in court on two counts of illegal possession of weapons and ammunition, Emefiele pled not guilty to the two counts charges. Aside from the fact that he had been in custody for the past month without facing charges which isn’t even the main point of this article because the poor downtrodden sometimes spend years in custody without being brought before a judge.
The main focus on this issue is the dance of shame by security agents that has been making waves via videos and photographs, with the Department of State Security leading the pack. I viewed that video in complete bewilderment and loss for words. To say that it was absurd would be putting it mildly, I wonder what and how our children react to viewing the people who are meant to uphold law and order.
When I was a kid, the only security organization I wanted to work for was the State Security Service (now DSS). This may be due to my constant knack for protection and security, but I find it upsetting when I observe them acting in such a way that is lacking in many respects and I ponder whether I could have escaped this web had I joined.
As seen in the video and pictures, the way and manner the DSS agents manhandled, dragged and assaulted the Correctional Squadron Commandant was a gross violation of human rights. With such an act towards a senior Nigeria Correctional Officer (NCS) and a fellow security official like them, one wonders what happens to ordinary citizens under their care. Such scenarios usually occur in bars and brothels where one would witness a complete breakdown of law and order with total disregard for safety. If this could happen to a law enforcement official, what might they possibly do to a regular citizen in secret locations? Can we now understand how and why people die in jail for unjustified reasons?
In the video, the court ordered that Emefiele be turned over to the correctional officers, the correctional commandant asked Emefiele to follow him, Emefiele hesitated and informed him that they, (referring to the DSS) were already “shouting outside”. The officers reassured him that everything was all right, but because the DSS had blocked the exit, Emefiele’s attorney, was forced to voice his utter dismay at the DSS’s refusal to abide by the recently-passed court order, he challenged the presence and need for bringing machine guns to arrest only one individual who has given their country nine years of devoted service. “This is not right”, he said, “Film me, the court has issued the order, obey the order, and if you have any questions, go to court.”
By the courthouse door, officers could be heard shouting and screaming as though 20 convicts were ready to break out of prison. Some DSS members even corked their firearms in preparation for the fugitive criminals. You could hear one of the Correctional officers telling Emefiele to sit down as they were unable to exit the courtroom, adding pitifully, “The entire world will hear this”
The Nigerian Correctional Service Squadron Commander, Lagos State, was dragged like a cow to the slaughtering ground, his uniform was torn and he was pushed in a circle as if he had no business around that place as at that time. Even a criminal should be treated better than what we saw in that video, except that video was doctored which of course, must be proven, else, those DSS men should be brought to book.
Even the lawyers were not spared, Barr. Maxuel Oparah, Lead counsel to Emefiele, said in an interview that all the NBA President could say concerning the matter is that “it was a mere two fights. It is so shocking that a number one person in Nigeria that is meant to condemn in totality that display of shame could say it was a mere two fights? Not sure he saw the video I got. It is sad to know that well-trained officers could fight and tear clothes on an occasion as serious as the case that was presented at the court.
Another Barr. Okere Kingdom stated categorically that “The judge gave an order granting bail and made a further order that if this bail is not perfected by the end of today this man should be remanded, Emefiele at the custody of the NCS. DSS barricaded everywhere that Emefiele, for More than three hours, they had to call their boss, after three hours, their boss has to reschedule what he was doing to come to the Federal High court to personally take Emefiele to Correctional Service as was ordered by the court and they attacked him and tore his clothes, you didn’t see it on the media? We were all there live, and you said it was two fighting? What two fights?
“And you say the NCS were fighting DSS? there was nothing like two fighting, DSS came there with their lawlessness as ordered by DG, BG Mogaji, who is lawless, who has vowed to institute lawlessness in Nigeria and we must continue to tell him and tell Tinubu that he has made him his attack dog to institute lawlessness in Nigeria, and this will bring about the downfall of this administration, Mogaji instructed his men not to allow NCS to take the man Emefiele to prison, and they threatened hell fire, cork their gun threatened to shoot all of us and you are saying is two fighting, NBA president I am ashamed of you” Okere added.
Talking about the commander that was assaulted, I want to say well done for allowing your professionalism to come to play, you have not changed one bit as I knew you way back in Lagos mainland, you were, and still are, a well-trained officer of the law. Imagine if he had ordered his officers to engage in that free for all dance of shame? Yes, the DSS may outnumber its boys especially with their machine guns, but maybe just maybe, someone or more would have lost a father, mother or both just because the justice system has become an instrument of confusion. A matter that the DSS and the Correctional officers would have discussed as trained men, turned into an assault and a complete embarrassment to the nation.