These are my thoughts in reaction to the comments credited to the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, on the communique issued by the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan on the recent killings in Southern Kaduna.
Idris was said to have disputed the figures of 808 deaths in 53 villages in the southern part of Kaduna State.
It is important to note that people have died. It doesn’t matter whether it is only one or 808 people. It does not matter whether they are Christians or Muslims. It is also important to note that the Catholic Church (whether they be the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan or even any of the 16 other churches burnt) is for all intents in this matter both a voluntary institution and a victim in this sad crisis. It is also important to note that the Inspector General of Police is a public officer bound by the oath of allegiance to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (see item 9, Part 2 5th Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria). It is equally important to also note that the Nigeria Police is a creation of Section 214 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Sections 3 and 4of the Police Act Cap L9 laws of the Federation 2004. Section 215 of the Constitution creates the office of the Inspector General of Police. Section 4 of the Police Act provides: “The police shall be employed for the prevention and detection of crime, the apprehension of offenders, the preservation of law and order, the protection of life and property and the due enforcement of all laws and regulations with which they are directly charged, and shall perform such military duties within or outside Nigeria as may be required of them by, or under the authority of this or any other Act.”
The authors of the communique issued by the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan are victims who have taken the pains to compile a record of what is going on in their own backyard and produced a document which they have shown to the whole world. It should first of all be emphasized that the police have failed the victims rightly identified in this sad event by their failure to prevent or detect occurrence of even one of the killings that have occurred.
Now Inspector General of Police has disputed the figures but has not given us the actual or indicative figures of the crisis. In fact, it appears that is the first time the top dog of the force has spoken about an incident that has been on for weeks running into months. That there is no definitive report from the police force or the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on the crisis that has been in the public domain for some time is very unfortunate. It only goes to re-emphasize the fact that the premium on human life in Nigeria is terribly poor. This is coming on the hills of the gaffe made by the Presidential aide on media that the President needs not speak on the crisis in Southern Kaduna because there is a sitting governor.
Perhaps it would be appropriate to remind them of the oaths they both took to uphold the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Both officers need to be reminded that the oath they took to defend the Constitution of this country includes the provisions of Section 17 and 33 of the constitution. Only just on Sunday 1st of January, a lone shooter killed 32 people in a night club in Turkey and in less than 78 hours, and he had been identified. In Germany, the Christmas Market killer was located even if he was eventually killed within 48 hours. The simple reason is that the authorities in both countries saw both incidents as national tragedies and were sufficiently stirred up to find the culprits. Whereas a woman was murdered in cold blood by a mob in Kano and the killers are roaming the streets because of the shoddy handling of the investigation by the police.
Our public officers need to show more empathy to what affects people other than themselves. As a public officer, the Inspector General of Police is a leader. He should be at the fore-front of seeing that justice is done for the victims and not antagonise them because they have chosen to cry out. The least he could have done is give the actual figures since he doubts what was published and tell us what steps are being taken to forestall a re-occurrence and also nab all the culprits involved. I believe that if the people had confidence in their police force, they would have left the matters arising from that communique to them.
Finally how is it that the Federal Government is more concerned about the cattle rustlers’ affair and has paid lip service to the crisis in Southern Kaduna? I can never understand. I believe that Nigeria will never reach its full potential only when its leaders start doing justice to all her citizens.