Again the Federal government is at it again, with the “heavy boot approach” in dealing with civilian unrest within the country. The recent spate of violence, maiming, killings and destruction of properties in the South Eastern region of the country has justifiably been traced to the deployment of troops under the operation “Python Dance 2” to deal with the provocations of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a secessionist group.
IPOB, a group with an umbrella motive of uniting certain parts of southern Nigeria in a break away formation of a separate existing country called the Republic of Biafra, has over the week clashed with members of the Nigerian military. The government choice of deploying of the military in dealing with civilian unrest is both laughable and incompetent. According to the venerate human rights lawyer Femi Falana, the Nigerian Police not the military is solely responsible for maintaining law and order. By virtue of section 215(3) of the constitution, the Nigerian Police Force has been conferred with the exclusive power to maintain law and order and secure public safety and public order in the country.
Having filed a case in court for the withdrawal of bail for the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra – Nnamdi Kanu, the deployment of military in the South East is hence unnecessary. Democracy confers the rights to expression. The issue of self-determination isn’t a peculiar issue to Nigeria. Human civilization and history is awash with calls by various groups for self-determination. What matters therefore is how such issues are moderated. Civilized climes had pursued a non-violent approach, prioritizing, negotiation and referendum in addressing dissenting voices. The 1995 referendum was the second referendum asking the French speaking Canadian province of Quebec, whether to declare a national sovereign state or be part of Canada. Another example is the velvet divorce of 1992, which led to the bloodless dissolution of Czechoslovakia into Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The government must show responsibility and tact in dealing with the agitation of secessionist groups to avoid a conflagration that will consume the nation in a mindless and unnecessary civil war. Hence, the immediate withdrawal of the “heavy boot approach” in dealing with challenges in the region. Priority must however be given to social and economic equality. Deliberate efforts must be made to address the issue of unemployment and infrastructural deficit plaguing the nation. The need to engage youths in productive activities is more imperative than ever, as an idle hand is the devils workshop.
News Correspondent at Core Magazine. Send all correspondence to email@example.com
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