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Media Trial of Corrupt Officials: Celebrating Wickedness

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A government serious enough to fight corruption will not invest much of its resources in advertising its findings against these people in the media, but will work hard to ensure that water-tight evidences are gathered so that they will end up convincing the courts to mete out the right judgements.

There is hardly any ordinary Nigerian who is not embittered about the fact that most of those who had at one time or the other occupied public office have used that opportunity to serve themselves, instead of serving Nigerians, and this has led to the righteous outrage against those being tried in the media by the President Buhari administration for stealing public funds. I have looked around and I haven’t seen anyone angrier than myself over these revelations.

The death sentence is barbaric, but those who wish it to others should not be spared the noose. Stealers of public funds sentence ordinary Nigerians to death through their mindless plundering of our commonwealth, hence, my support for them to also get the death sentence, whenever they are caught, charged and convicted. I do not know of a worse death sentence than when our siblings who are in the Army are sent to the warfront without the necessary weapons, even though mouthwatering billions of Naira had been budgeted for the purchase of these arms. 

Hundreds of them die in the hands of these terrorists, yet those who allegedly diverted these funds are enjoying in the coziness of their homes, while none of their children and relatives are anywhere close to the Army, and those who managed to smuggle their relatives into the Army make sure that they do not get anywhere close to the Northeast. 

Is it not heartbreaking enough to learn that there are soldiers and officers of the Nigerian Army who have never seen war in the Northeast since the Boko Haram insurgence started, while there are thousands of their colleagues who have remained in that war torn area for more than three years, without even knowing how their families are doing? Death to the looter!

I am not just annoyed that an insignificant number of citizens of this country stole monies, big enough to rescue millions of us from the grip of poverty; I am angrier that the present Federal Government in its vindictiveness may end up bungling this whole matter and even make the alleged criminals turn to heroes. A government serious enough to fight corruption will not invest much of its resources in advertising its findings against these people in the media, but will work hard to ensure that water-tight evidences are gathered against these people, so that they will end up convincing the courts to mete out the right judgements against them.

No matter how angry we are or pretend to be, we must be guided by patriotism for our country, an insistence on adherence to the provisions of our Constitution and the upholding of the Rule of Law, protection of our fundamental human rights, and for those who believe in God, we must be guided by those Godly principles of mercy, compassion and empathy. 

We cannot claim that we are patriotic citizens, while we celebrate the dehumanization of our fellow citizens all in the name of some not too convincing onslaught against corruption; we celebrate the arrant disregard for our laws and applaud as the last hope of the common man, the judiciary, is being denigrated, weakened and amputated.

It all started with Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, the immediate past Minister for petroleum and first woman President of the OPEC. Even before the presidency of General Muhammadu Buhari took off, so much venom had been spewed against this woman, a lot of accusations have been leveled against her, while her own side of the story is played down and not taken seriously by her traducers. 

When news emerged that the Bayelsa born queen is down with cancer in faraway United Kingdom, some people went wild with jubilation. Some of them even went ahead to say that it is our monies that she stole that gave her cancer, as if the poor people in the villages who die daily from cancer related ailments also stole Nigeria’s money. Even when a picture of the now drained and ghostly lady emerged, very few people showed any sympathy.

Haliru Bello, a former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party and former Minister of Defense, was recently brought to a court in Abuja, vegetative and on wheel chair. The same set of sanctimonious sadists celebrated the old man’s condition. Some also claimed that God has decided to visit all those who had a hand in stealing our money with strange ailments; that God must be Buhari. Some also argued that Haliru Bello is merely feigning sickness just to evade trial. This suspicion may not be completely wrong, as some Nigerian politicians have shown themselves capable of anything. But for a seventy year old Haliru Bello, such sicknesses are not unusual.

Apart from the dehumanizing treatments being mete out to these people, who are in different detention cells across the country, the fact that those selected for these probes are all of the opposition PDP and mostly those who were vocal in their opposition against the election of General Buhari as the President makes the entire charade, a most disheartening wickedness and vendetta, instead of a people oriented policy thrust to enthrone responsible leadership and ensure that those who hold public office in trust, do not abuse it. 

The federal government is leaving little doubts that they are only after getting a pound of flesh from a marked group of people, not for their sins or sabotages against the Nigerian State and its people, but for their sins against an individual and a group of people.

What about Nnamdi Kanu, the self-acclaimed leader of the separatist Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, who has been in detention for more than three months now over allegations bordering on terrorism, felony and whatever the DSS may come up with the next time. Kanu, has been granted bail twice by two different courts presided over by two different judges and twice the federal government of Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari has disobeyed these orders, the same set of Nigerians are jubilant and are coming up with various, and I daresay, stupid reasons to justify a fellow citizen’s continued illegal detention. 

The young Kanu is at the danger of being cut down at his prime. There are allegations from usually reliable quarters that Kanu is being subjected to the most dehumanizing tortures by the DSS, his plight seems not to matter to this same set of Nigerians, to whom whatever President Buhari does is correct and must be encouraged.

There is hardly any country in the world with more number of religious people than Nigeria. The Muslims among us are as committed as the Christians among us, yet when it comes to living Godly lives, we are arguably the most wanting. For those of us who are Christians, our Bible does not encourage us to rejoice at the suffering of our enemies, rather we are encouraged to pray for those who persecute us. Jesus Christ even made His stance known on mob justice in the incident concerning the woman accused of infidelity. 

The mob was set to stone her to death, to set her ablaze, it would have only taken Christ’ assent to get rid of the woman, but Christ told them; “He who is without sin should cast the first stone”. This portion of the Bible should have been enough to teach Christians among us that it is unchristian to condemn people without allowing them the opportunity of being heard out. I do not think the Holy Quran teaches the celebration of this kind of wickedness, either.

 The noisy celebration over the abuse of a fellow citizen’s rights is not very different from mob justice. It is not very different from the Aluu 4 incident, where a mob was incited by a few people to set some four young boys ablaze. Not a few people are convinced that these young undergraduates did not do what they were accused of doing, but were victims of some well-orchestrated vendetta plot. 

These boys begged to be spared, they shouted their innocence, but they were clubbed to their deaths and burnt. They died a most painful death. Most members of the mob who carried out this wickedness may not have known that these boys were innocent, but were spurred to that wickedness not just by the shout of; “thief, thief, thief”, but maybe by the anger of past incidents in that community, where petty robberies are said to be regular occurrences.  

The same thing applies to most of those applauding the Federal Government’s disdain for Rule of Law in its fight against corruption. But this mob celebration of wickedness against accused persons is not less barbaric than the Aluu 4 incident, neither is it less criminal than stripping a woman naked and parading her in the market place just because she was accused of infidelity.

Anyone who is found to have been involved in the stealing of our country’s wealth is an enemy to Nigeria, he or she is an enemy to all of us, because they are the reason why a lot of Nigerians are suffering, they are murderers, too, because their decision to divert our funds to things other than what they were meant for caused the death of so many people; those who died of curable diseases because they can’t access good healthcare, soldiers who died in war fonts, because they do not have the right ammunition, citizens who lose their lives in road accidents and air crashes, because monies meant to get our roads in good shape went to private pockets, etc. 

However, subjecting these people to inhumane treatments, denying them access to good healthcare, focusing on media trials against them, and trying to intimidating the judiciary into granting frivolous orders against suspects is wickedness rather than justice.

May Nigeria Prevail!

Onwuasoanya FCC Jones


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