Former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, has faulted an order of the Acting Inspector General of Police, Mr. Usman Alkali, directing the police officers to deal ruthlessly with criminal elements and secessionists who attempt to test their will.
Chidoka, an erstwhile Corps Marshal/Chief Executive of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), noted that Alkali’s directive “is as problematic as it is embarrassing,” saying it violated minimum democratic norms and human rights principles.
He faulted Alkali’s directive in a statement by his media aide, Mr. Ezechukwu Okafor, describing the IG’s directives as unfortunate and unacceptable. Alkali had directed police operatives in the South East and South-South to deal ruthlessly with Biafra agitators while assuring the officers of the protection of the Nigeria Police.
The police chief had issued the directive after he unveiled a special operation codenamed Operation Restore Peace (Operation RP) at the Michael Okpara Square in Enugu, the state capital. Alkali had said: “You are charged to be civil with the law-abiding citizens, but firm and ruthless with criminal elements and secessionists that may attempt to take the risk of testing your will or threatening the citizens within your area of jurisdiction.
“In furtherance to the goals of this special operation, I charge you to henceforth, defend yourselves courageously against any armed group that attempts to attack you, any police assets, and other critical national infrastructure,” Alkali had ordered the police officers. Faulting Alkali’s directive in a statement yesterday, Chidoka insisted that the directive was “against minimum democratic norms and human right principles.”
Chidoka said the police directive “is as problematic as it is embarrassing in a democracy, and a country founded on the rule of law with guaranteed fundamental rights.
“If the mission of the head of Nigeria Police Force is to restore peace, he cannot at the same time entrench lawlessness and anarchy being a chief law enforcer himself. The directive is an open license for the massacre of the southeast and South-south youths. Under the guise of this blank cheque, any person killed would be labelled a Biafran agitator, and unfortunately, they would not be alive to speak for themselves.”
Chidoka said the police chief, through such an order, “has arrogated to himself the position of the law. This is arrogance, and an affront to constitutional rule. It is not tenable in a democratic society.
“The experience in Borno in fighting Boko Haram should remain a guide for all law enforcement agencies as we fight to restore law and order in the country.
“For the benefit of doubt, let me assume that the IG misspoke or was quoted in error and call on him to reverse himself and speak in a manner befitting of a refined officer in a constitutional society,” he said.
He, therefore, challenged men of good conscience and the international community “to take note of the looming regime of state lawlessness in the South-east and South-south, which portends grave dangers to young people of these regions.”
Chidoka, however, condemned the attack on policemen and law enforcement infrastructure in strong terms, warning that it was an ill wind that would blow no good to anyone.