By Abu Onyiani

Everybody wants to live in a society that is free and fair to reside in, where the rule of law is the order of the day, and where a carefully constructed constitution that carries everybody along is respected. However, the Muhammadu Buhari led regime has shown times without number that they are unwilling to respect the very laws it is supposed to enforce and protect.

While Nnamdi Kanu is presently languishing in the cells of the DSS in abuja, Sunday Igboho remains detained in the Republic of Benin, with his lawyers fighting furiously to ensure that he would not be sent back to Nigeria, as the Kenyan government did with Nnamdi Kanu, even though the details of his arrest in Kenya remains shaddy.

It is common belief that these men are being specially hounded by the Nigerian authorities because they seem to threaten Buhari’s peace. This was exemplified by a not so peculiar case of Joachim Iroko, a man arrested and prosecuted in 2016 by the Nigerian police force for the “crime” of naming his dog Buhari. Numerous Buhari supporters in Ogun state (no doubt supported by, or in a move to gain recognition by the Abuja chapter) had led the calls for his arrest, and under the pretence that his conduct was liable to breach public peace, the police had arrested and prosecuted the man, until the public outrage it generated forced the judge to strike out the case.

Such has been the reality of people working closely with Buhari. The nation may be on fire, and they will not bat an eyelid, but will bare their rotten fangs at the first instance of any criticism aimed at their deity Buhari. It seems that whenever anybody who has a little influence dares to question or criticise Buhari’s regime, they then immediately find themselves in trouble with the Police force, the DSS and even the EFCC.

Ordinarily, Nnamdi Kanu should have been left alone by the Buhari led administration. He first started radio Biafra in 2009, and then IPOB in 2014, all before Buhari was elected in 2015, and all these while, he was relatively unknown, even to people from his ethnic group. From 2010 to 2015, there were numerous calls for a break up of Nigeria by numerous northern leaders, with some of them even praising Boko Haram for their destructive tactics of terrors. Yet, Goodluck Johnathan never took it upon himself to personally hound any of them.

Although, his statements were capable of causing public unrest particularly after calling for a war between Nigeria and Biafra, it was very evident that the Buhari regime would bulldoze every mountain, and every law to ensure that they detained him. This is exactly why the DSS kept him detained for a very long period even after a judge had ordered that he be granted bail.

Sunday Igboho on the other hand had merely called for the Yorubas, who like the Ibo’s have been treated like slaves under this regime to form their own nation. although he was boastful, and threatened the lives of highly placed Yoruba people, he sang the song most Yoruba people were beginning to sing, only his voice was louder.

Surprisingly, many Nigerians have been locked up for far less, because free thoughts and speech is akin to bitter poison in Buhari’s regime. In essence, saying that you think Nigeria should be split into parts would put you in big problem because this government doesn’t bother to hide it’s hostility against free speech. If this administration had not played and encouraged the ethnic card, and instilled the mentality that the Fulani were the superior ethnic group in the country, people like Igboho and Kanu would have been relegated to their background, their voice drowned out by the policies of inclusion that Buhari’s cabinet would have promoted.

Were they right to jump bail or try to escape for their lives? What rational individual would not flee from a government that murdered protesters who were protesting against police brutality. Given the chance, any average Nigerian with the means to would flee from the country if he heard that this draconian government was sending the police or any of the other armed forces to harass them, because the government has shown on countless occasions that they are not after justice, they are just out to punish whoever dares criticise their deity. The DSS’ refusal to produce Nnamdi Kanu in court supports this theory that the government doesn’t intend to give him a fair trial.

This regime has a history of pampering terrorists, rewarding them with cash gifts in the name of rehabilitating and reintegrating them back into the society. A few days ago, terrorists in Borno state were made to carry placards “begging” Nigeria to forgive them, after years of murdering, raping, kidnapping and stealing from innocent Nigerians and they were granted amnesty. This is a government that has equally mollycoddled bandits, paying them huge ransoms and appointing spokesmen like Sheik Gumi to speak for, and even defend them.

A government that is this morally deficient has no moral ground to hold people seeking to break out from the nepotistically unfavourable conditions it has created. What Buhari and his cabinet should do is to settle with these men, forgive them and allow Nigeria forgive them, and integrate them back into their societies, with a stern warning to never go back to their former ways. This is the sensible thing to do, because the continuous extra judicious persecution of these men would only serve to escalate the whole problem, especially as this regime is infamous for lying with Northern terrorists and Bandits.

(c) Abu Onyiani 2021