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Aminu Salihu: Scapegoat for impunity

By Onwuasoanya Jones

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Aminu Salihu, whom I read was a dispatch rider attached to the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic, but who somehow found himself riding alongside or leading the motorcade of Kogi State governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello has reportedly died in what could be an avoidable road mishap.

Some commentators have blamed the death of the “expert rider” on possible exhaustion, stemming from his long road trip with the governor of Kogi State who was said to have visited Enugu before proceeding to Owerri on the invitation of his Imo State counterpart.

It is not clear if this is a one off or a ritual, but what seems to be obvious is that the young man, who could have as well, been the breadwinner of his family died while on what many inside sources have described as an illegal assignment. Obviously, he would have still being alive today, if he had stayed back at his duty post, because our President wouldn’t have had any reason to take such a long and hazardous road trip like the Kogi governor put him through.

Aminu is said to have rode the motorcycle in escort of the Kogi governor – who incidentally isn’t his boss and in whose convoy he had no reason been – from Kogi to Enugu, then Enugu to Owerri, then back to Kogi. These trips may have been made in less than or within 24 hours. Nature could have taken its toll on the young man as he might have either become very tired from these long trips, been deprived of sleep for a prolonged period or had some health challenges which should have prevented him from embarking on the trip in the first place. But in a country where workers, especially at such cadre as Aminu, are sometimes treated like some pieces of irritating rags, it would be asking for too much to expect that anyone would be held accountable for the death of that young man.

This innocent young man fell victim to the mindless impunity that has come to become a tradition among some high placed civil servants and politicians in Nigeria. There was no how this young man would have left the premises of the Presidential Villa or been absent from work for some days without the collusion of some or all of his superiors. This gives some teeth to the suspicion in some quarters that some hard currencies might have exchanged hands within the hierarchy of Presidential security and protocols, for that apparent “breach” to be sustained.

Questions need to be asked as to how a dispatch rider allegedly assigned to the presidential convoy left his official duty post in the presidential villa to junket across the middle of the North to the Southeast? Who authorized this redeployment and for what purpose? Doesn’t the Kogi State governor have his own official dispatch riders? If he does, why coveting the dispatch rider of the Commander-in-Chief when Kogi taxpayers must have been paying some people for the same purpose? Shouldn’t the President be worried about such encroachment on his official security and protocol architecture? If the President’s dispatch rider could be poached from him, most likely without his consent, how safe is the President? If someone else could pay the President’s ‘piper’ how are we sure that the payer will not be able to dictate, or at least influence the tune of the music?

Aminu’s death and the circumstances surrounding has far more implications than the death of any other serviceman. The young dispatch rider may have been a tragic scapegoat for some perennial impunity that may have been at play in our nation’s presidential palace, but his death should be a wake-up call to those charged with the responsibility of protecting the President. Nigerians also deserve answers as to how this obvious breach has gone on undetected and appropriate penalties meted out to those involved in this obvious act of fatal corruption.

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