Ohanaeze Ndigbo Kano chapter has been following the hitting debate on the proposed state police. With keen interest, we have been monitoring utterances and positions of concerned individuals and groups on the issue. We are aware of the dramatic turns the issue took at the Governors’ Forum. In as much as we are not surprise at the stand of the northern governors against the establishment of state police, we hereby make an urgent call to President Goodluck Jonathan to open his eyes on the activities of the Hisbah Guards in northern Nigeria.
Over the years, the North has been running state police on the disguise of Hisbah Guards. We have pragmatic evidence of the victimization of our people by armed Hisbah Guards who were given powers to waylay, arrest, fine and prosecute their victims. In Kano alone, Igbo business men have lost billions of Naira on the several attacks by the Hisbah Guards targeted at their lives and business concerns.
The same situation are recorded in Minna, Kaduna, Bauchi, Maiduguri, Zamfara and other parts of the North where the Hisbah Guards otherwise known as Shariah Police are holding sway. It is also pertinent to note that northern governors fund Hisbah Guards with tax payers’ money.
In as much as Ohanaeze Ndigbo would not want to dabble into the politics of state police, we call on President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Assembly to, as a matter of urgency, enact a law abolishing Hisbah and other militant organizations being sponsored with government funds.
There is no gainsaying the fact that the proliferation of militant organizations such as Hisbah contributed hugely to the spate of insecurity and socio-religious violence that have become the bane in the northern region. It is on this note that Ohanaeze Ndigbo begin to suspect that a group of northern political leaders are, indeed, very much aware of the activities of northern militants in the fashion of Boko Haram who have vowed to Islamize the northern states. That up till now, no serious steps have been taken by northern leaders to put to a stop the menace of terrorists in that region left much to be desired. We decry the non-challant attitude of notable leaders like former Heads of state, General Ibrahim Babangida, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, General Yakubu Gowon and Shehu Shagari who have not deemed it right to look into nagging security challenges facing the region. We are, indeed, very much concerned that the activities of Hisbah and the Boko Haram are primarily targeted at non-indigenes resident in the North, particularly, Ndigbo.
We, thereby, implore President Goodluck Jonathan to take drastic measures towards solving security problems threatening the foundation of this country. We believe that instead of wasting time and resources in the debate for and against state police, the best thing to do at this critical time of the nation’s history is to overhaul all the security agencies with a view to repositioning them better to wage meaningful war against terrorism. In this case, we strongly submit that it will be to the best interest of the country if the presidency, Inspector General of Police and the Police Service Commission deem it right to post non-Muslim Police Commissioners to states where the Boko Haram insurgents are reigning supreme so as to do away with the syndrome of compromise. We say this because there have been cases where bad eggs within the security agencies aid terrorists to carry out their nefarious activities.
It is high time President Jonathan and those in position of authority rose up to tackle the issue of insecurity once and for all. The blood of over four thousand innocent Nigerians who have been hit down by the bullets and bombs of the dreaded Islamic terror group and their cohorts should not be in vain. It is the responsibility and obligation of the government to protect lives and property of its citizens. Nigerians have the right to feel at home and leave peacefully at any part of the country without fear of molestation and oppression by any group or individual in the name of ethnicity or religion. From the body language of northern political leaders, one would not be far from saying the truth if it is said that they have consciously refused to stop the uprising of terrorists in their region in furtherance to their agitation over power shift. We cannot forget in hurry inflammatory statements credited to powerful leaders from the North who threatened fire and brimstone over President Jonathan’s victory in the last Presidential election. The Presidency and security agencies are duty bound to review those statements for doing so will give the right clue on how to crackdown on the sponsors of these terrorists holding the country to ransom.
Nigeria belongs to all of us. We should be treated as equal people no matter where we come from—be it North, South, West or East. Ohanaeze Ndigbo believes in one and indivisible Nigeria, but what we cannot tolerate is the continuous oppression and persecution of our people. Once again, we urge the Presidency to abolish Hisbah and other security outfits established in northern Nigeria, in the interest of peace. President Jonathan should revisit the decision of former President Olusegun Obasnajo who outlawed Hisbah for obvious reasons that we have already highlighted.
Chief Tobias Michael Idika,