Po­lit­i­cal thugs rule the scene

Weekly Trust - - Insecurity In Nigeria - By Fidelis Mac-Leva

Last month, mem­bers of the Na­tional Union of Road Trans­port Work­ers [NURTW] the cham­ber of the Ondo State House of As­sem­bly and beat to a pulp law­maker who had im­peached their speaker, Mr Bamidele Oleyeloo­gin and his deputy, Mr Iroju Ogun­deji. Armed with ma­chetes, axes, cud­gels and sticks, the NURTW mem­bers led by their Chair­man, Ja­cob Adebo re­port­edly de­scended on any­one and at­tacked law­mak­ers as well as As­sem­bly staff, jour­nal­ists and se­cu­rity agents.

The at­tack on the Ondo As­sem­bly oc­curred af­ter sus­pected thugs re­port­edly killed one Abu Kalhu, fondly ad­dressed as Ba­raden Sun­nah, who was said to be a sup­porter of the Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP) in Sokoto State. Wit­ness ac­counts had it that the thugs, num­ber­ing 40, were brought to Ko­far Kade where the res­i­dence of the de­ceased was lo­cated in two Hilux ve­hi­cles around 9pm. They blocked all the routes lead­ing to the res­i­dence while some of them went straight to his house, called him out­side and stabbed him to death.

Ear­lier in July this year, thug­gery as­sumed a bizarre di­men­sion as the Taraba State Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice David Ak­in­remi was re­port­edly at­tacked by irate youths in Tudun Wada area of Jalingo. The state’s po­lice Pub­lic Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer, ASP David Misal, told news­men in Jalingo that the com­mis­sioner had gone to the area with a team of of­fi­cers to re­store nor­malcy, fol­low­ing re­ports of youths un­rest, only for him to be stoned on the head. The com­mis­sioner was rushed to the hos­pi­tal where he was treated and later dis­charged. Else­where in Rivers State, po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence has been an en­dur­ing land­mark on the state’s land­scape. Elec­tion­eer­ing cam­paigns and even elec­tions proper in the oil rich state had been char­ac­ter­ized by maim­ing and killing of po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents leav­ing it with what an an­a­lyst de­scribed as “Rivers of Blood.”

In La­gos, politi­cians rou­tinely en­gage thugs from trans­port unions and cult con­fra­ter­ni­ties. One se­cu­rity an­a­lyst said, “Re­cruit­ing po­lit­i­cal thugs in La­gos is not a dif­fi­cult task as le­gions of young­sters seek­ing em­ploy­ment lurk ev­ery­where…” such in­ci­dents all over the coun­try have raised con­cerns for se­cu­rity of lives and prop­erty of Nige­ri­ans as the 2019 gen­eral elec­tions rapidly ap­proach. In Kano State for in­stance, state po­lice com­mand spokesman SP Ma­gaji Musa Ma­jia said 273 po­lit­i­cal thugs were ar­rested from Septem­ber 1 to Novem­ber this year. He said 205 of them were con­victed with 57 await­ing trial. An­other 40 sus­pected thugs iden­ti­fied through cam­eras at var­i­ous lo­ca­tions in the state would be pur­sued and ar­rested, Ma­jia said.

Wide­spread use of po­lit­i­cal thugs by politi­cians to in­tim­i­date op­po­nents and mo­lest vot­ers is one the big­gest se­cu­rity threat to the up­com­ing elec­tions.

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