FEATURE ARTICLE

Sunday, August 18, 2019
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APPRAISING GOV IKPEAZU'S QUICK INTERVENTION ON THE MURDER OF CHIMAOBI NWAOGU

ecently humanity was thrown into deep agony when the news filtered that a commercial motorcyclist, Chimaobi Nwaogu, was sent to his untimely grave by a soldier identified as Corporal Ajayi Johnson at the deceased hometown, Amaise Umuokerekengwa, Obingwa local government area over alleged refusal of the deceased to part with N100 bribe.

The heavens were let loose as pandemonium reigned supreme as angry youths in their hundreds, including the deceased wife and mother took to the streets to seek justice.

This time the protest, which could be likened to a revolution, was neither provoked because of bread like that of the French Revolution that nearly collapsed the history of Europe and civilization, nor the killing of the duke as in the Sarajevo potentate but by the blood of an innocent young man who has gone out in his daily routine to fend for his immediate family and his widow mother.

The murder broke forces and joined mankind in unity in protest as propounded by John Donne that"All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated... As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all... No man is an island, entire of itself... any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

The most episode of the whole incident is the swift intervention of Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu who cut short all other official engagements the following day to visit the bereaved family. The visit was both timely and thoughtful of the governor because it saved the state some possible chaos that could have been generated as angry youths were still occupying the streets of Aba the next day.

According to the governor during the visit,"this is one murder too many. We will do everything possible under the law to get this murderous soldier and bring him to justice. Whatever it takes, we will do. We will go to Abuja or any other place to ensure that this soldier doesn’t go scot free. The death of this young man is extremely painful and cannot go in vain. This is my position and this is the position of the Government and people of Abia State”.

It will be recalled that the state government had the previous night issued a statement condemning the dastardly act, and promising the strongly to bring the culprit.

Part of the statement reads:"our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Nwaogu who reportedly lost his life and we pray God to give them the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss".

"This administration led by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu considers security of lives and property of our citizens and residents as its most sacred assignment and will not accept any act that would undermine it. We will therefore continue to do whatever is necessary to protect our people as well as ensure that the cause of justice is always served".

The murder has generated fresh debates on the spate of extra-judicial killings in the country and has critically questioned the rationale behind drafting the military for internal security management.

An extra-judicial killing is the killing of a person by governmental authorities or individuals without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process. Extra-judicial punishments are mostly seen by humanity to be unethical, since they bypass the due process of the legal jurisdiction in which they occur.

Also an article entitled” Weapon Handling and Phantom Discharge”, vested the security agents with responsibility of keeping the weapon pointed in a safe direction (where there would be no injuries to persons or damage to property in the event of a discharge); keeping the finger off the trigger until the gun is on a target and the decision to shoot is made;be sure of the target and the target backstop.

There have been calls to redesign the training of our security agencies to expose them to academic works on human psychology, human rights, and the constitution. The proponents of this arrangement also advocate a review of academic entry requirements of the security agencies.

They are of the view that the proposal, if implemented, would go a long way in enhancing the security agencies’ performance and respect for the civil population.

A human rights activist, Okechukwu Nwanguma contends that:"The right approach to address rising insecurity is not to continue to deploy the military. Military training does not equip or make them suitable to deal with internal insecurity. Police training does. The military are to be deployed only in exceptional circumstances and are not to permanently take over the functions of the police. This comes with dire consequences".

"The standard argument seems to be that the military are brought in to intervene in internal security challenges due to the ineffectiveness of the police. But what is it that makes the Police seem to be ineffective and the military effective, arguably? Is it their training? No! Is it better equipment? That, to me, seems to be the 'magic'.

"The army is composed of human beings (not magicians or superhumans) just like the Police.

"Equip the police (as much as the army), motivate, train and retrain them, and you will see that they will be prepared and fit to more effectively and even more professionally discharge their functions which the army have usurped, with dire detrimental effect.

"We will not need the military in internal security functions if the police are well resourced and equipped.

"It is the arrogant but deluded perception by military officers of their superiority and their being called to occupy civil space meant for the police that fuels the longstanding rivalry and conflicts that often result to casualties and concomitant loss of public trust and respect for both agencies," Nwanguma opined.

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