When A Nation-State Resorts To Self-Help By Nasiru Suwaid
It is the foundational root of the concept of republicanism, which divorces the theory of state from the empirical individual, no matter the exalted status, erudition or monarchical heritage. According to this progressive thinking, everybody is under the law or should be under the law, be they a lord or a labourer, it is also incumbent upon them to always obey and abide by the rules and regulations, most especially, a personality is not substitutable with the depictive characterization of the essential nation-state, even if they are a representative sovereign.
Thus the often referred acclaim of the middle-ages, which aver that ‘a king does no wrong’ or their words as declaratory pronouncement having the status of a law is a misnomer in the present period and a relic of the times past. Generally and normally, the concept of self-help is usually a deviance easily associated with individual citizen, who might due to some unexplainable resolve or irrational urging decides to take the law on their hands, by acting mostly by force to commit or execute a certain action that seeks to correct a perceived feeling of grave personal or communal injury.
Basically, it is acting outside the law for someone to help himself, herself or themselves to achieve a sense of justice denied and such individual could even be a law giver or an executive sovereign. What is happening within the bounds of the executive and legislature as well as the security services testifies to this reality, the fact that the holder to the coercive instrument of state authority feels a sense of injustice, does not give him the power to correct the perceived wrong, because, it is purely ceding the moral high ground to have authority over the population.
Typically, every government in the world, even in the draconian communist enclaves, rule with a written and unwritten understanding, the former being part of the body of laws with guides the society as the agreed grand norm, while the latter is the unspoken agreement taken as given that every citizen abides by the law, not merely because of the fear of sanction but purely because of the inculcated patriotic resolve to have a decent and organized community. Indeed, as has been proven times without number, mostly it is not the dreading of what could happen, which deter a potential offender of the law, rather, it is the sense propriety and the belief that the leading and the led have openly subscribed to the righteous behavioral ideal.
What happened last week in Ekiti State has shocked not a few Nigerians, not in the fact minority members of the House of Assembly have suspended their majority colleagues, elected a new speaker from amongst a tiny number and openly advocate violence against brotherly political opponents. Rather, it is the reaction of the governor that is interesting, when he openly ‘proclaimed’ he has no apologies for organizing the resort to self-help in his state, however, what he does not know is that without the rule of law and if rule of the jungle takes effect, there would be no state to rule by him and his ‘majority’ supporters, as the Nigerian security forces he is using against his opponents, have lost that barrier of fear they possess over those Nigerians determined to challenge the state.
The fact of the happenings in the North-East of Nigeria testifies to that, as in the case where the instrumental weaponry giving them advantage over the populace, becomes readily available to insurgent opponents, the superiority of a government enforcement agency quickly evaporates, the reality of the current cowardice mutiny trials of the Nigerian army, glaringly confirms the lack of invincibility of our security forces. Thus, it behoove on any one demanding diligent loyalty of the citizenry, to operate on the moral high ground of adherence to the rule of law, before demanding unto others the requirement to follow the path of what makes a nation-state peaceful to govern.
The criminal justice sector encapsulated as the Nigerian penal arrangement is composed of the prosecutor, the police and the prison system converging unto the courts of justice. It is instructive to note that other specialized investigative security services fell under the purview of the national policing. For there to be a proactive and efficient rule of law and general reduction in the commission of crime in the society, this sector of the government must be active and effective in prosecuting and pursuing punishment of criminal behavior and tendencies to logical conclusion.
The striking out of the two count charge by the Federal High Court, Abuja, against Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche for want of diligent prosecution, after the duration of the over ninety days allotted to the prosecution, says a lot about the Department of State Security, the Nigerian Police Force and of course the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, because, it is these three agencies which as of recent, have been enjoying notoriety in the media in harassing anyone perceived not proven as an opponent of the president, yet they can’t even collaborate to compile reasonable prosecutable charges against a known terror suspect.
And this other thing:
Last week was a torrid time for me, as many readers accused me of lack of constructive criticism, yet the written piece itself was an attempt and an effort to shy away from the norm, as many a Nigerian writer are wont to do, which is the making of a critical analysis without necessarily offering solutions, on the likely policy deficiencies unearthed. In fact, I boldly called for the devaluation of the naira, not for any unpatriotic motive but because of the prevailing reality on the ground, has made the taking of such action a fait accompli, as the difference between the official rate and the commercial banks rate has so widened, that it only serve as an incentive for the banks, to only engage in unproductive speculative activities that further harms the naira’s value, most especially, with the apex bank’s persistent and consistent policy of lowering of the inter-bank rates, specifically, to stimulate credit growth as a result of the National Bureau of Statistics ‘erroneous’ figures of falling inflationary rate, in an economy using more naira to buy fewer dollars.
Well, the Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria has agreed with me, Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele, while reading the communiqué of the Monetary Policy Committee, asserted the Nigeria is yet to ‘diversify’ its economy, as he stated that we are just crude oil defendant country, calling for the nation to ‘truly’ do the needful. He also put a lie to the acclaim on the transformation of the agricultural sector, as he contended that the country is still a net importer of every type of agricultural products from ‘rice to mere milk’. In fact, the committee even adopted some of my recommendations, as it has devalued naira from 155 decimal point to 168, while for the first time in two years raising the inter-bank lending rate a notch higher by 100 points from 12% to 13% to check excess liquidity.
However, while the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance had stated that the impending Austerity Measures would only affect the rich, listing raised taxes on exclusive items. By the recommendations of the revised ‘fiscal’ Medium Term Expenditure Plan as well as the ‘monetary’ central bank’s policy group, they all proposed a reduction in the petroleum products subsidy, which must be a luxury good also and a preserve of the rich, just like champagne and private jet.
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