DEATH of two top security officials in two cities within two days may be a cause of concerns to the authorities but the approach to investigating them seems to suggest the killers may never be found, and their motive would remain a riddle.
In Kano, Garba Bello, an official of the State Security Service, his wife and three children were murdered. Bello who was serving in Sokoto was home to celebrate the Eid-el-Fitri festival.
The next day, Abdulahi Muazu, Head of the Forensic Unit of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, was killed in his Kaduna home. The killers reportedly took money, phones and his service pistol.
He was the sixth EFFC operative to die in two years, and the second in five months, after Sgt. Edoga Eze was killed in an ambush last March.
Like Bello , Muazu was home to celebrate the Eid-el-Fitri.
EFCC’s Chairman Mrs. Farida Waziri said Muazu was a victim of “assassination and not armed robbery.”
According to Waziri, FBI is assisting in the investigation of the death.
As is always the case when killings of this embarrassing nature occur, the security agencies are into a frenzy of investigations and in a flash have produced suspects and statements in the Bello case.
Kano State Police Commissioner Mohammed J. Gana paraded, Bello, son of the late SSS chief as the self-confessed killer of his father, mother and three siblings. He showed journalists a handwritten statement allegedly by the suspect, in which he confessed to killing, and said he tried to commit suicide on realising the enormity of the crime.
The suspect, a 200 level Physics student of the Kano State University of Technology, Wudil, confessed to the state command of the State Security Service that he single-handedly carried out the killings. He claimed he was angry over his father’s terminal illness and feared that he could not bear the responsibilities of catering for his mother and siblings when his father dies. Could he be believed?
Mr. Gana was sounding triumphant as he paraded the suspect. Bello’s confession, he said rested speculations about the motive behind the killings. Why the hurry in arriving at this bizarre conclusion?
How could Bello have stabbed his father to death, strangled his mother, and stabbed three others, Hafsat, 16; Khalifa, 14 and five-year-old Murjatu all alone?
Would the account of Umar Danjani, a relation of the deceased SSS official, that of Farouk, the other surviving son of the late Bello, who told the family that he saw another man who was wearing a white singlet, interest the police? Little Farouk named the man. Did the police speak to neighbours who said they heard movements of many people? Does the suspect’s statement sound coherent?
It is sad that a security investigation could produce this type of result. Bello ’s motive is suspect as well as the claim that only one person carried out the attack.
With the general level of insecurity in the country, it is dumbfounding that top security officials are also not protected. Their bosses should know how dangerous their jobs are. The public would expect they would have cover, especially when they are at home and more vulnerable to attacks.
The speed with which the security agencies explain away killings, obstructs further inquiry into those behind. EFCC’s invitation of FBI is of little comfort beyond admitting our limitations in taking charge of our own affairs. It is a shouting shame that we need FBI to investigate a murder in Kaduna or anywhere in Nigeria.
We remember that foreign security agencies that reportedly assisted in the investigation of the murder of Funso Williams, a gubernatorial candidate in Lagos, four years ago, did such a great job that his killers have not been found. Nigerian security agencies need to develop the capacity to investigate cases conclusively and produce enough evidence to convict suspects. It would reduce the incentive to kill whatever the motive.
Nigerians and the craze for titles
By Ebele Orakpo
O God! What is with Africans, especially Nigerians? We love titles so much. It is commonplace to see a man having over seven titles and all the titles must come before or after his name. For instance, you hear something like High Chief, Professor, Dr., AYZ,(OFR, GCFR, BA, BSc.,GCE, SSCE). It’s so ridiculous,” noted a commuter by name, Azeez as the radio announcer reeled out the names of distinguished guests who attended an event, some with so many titles attached to their names.
“Maybe one day we will begin to hear of medium chief, low chief, triple chief, MSc, BRT,” commented Tunji. His comment sent everyone reeling with laughter.
Said Oby: “BRT indeed! Haba! You are exaggerating. At least I haven’t heard of GCE or SSCE. But I wouldn’t be surprised if anyone adds those to his titles. The longer, the better. It amuses me to no end any time I hear all that. I see it as pride.”
“Yes, but you must give honour to whom honour is due,” noted Joke.
“That is correct but we must not overdo it, otherwise, it will begin to sound ridiculous,” said Kenneth.
“Now, people who have gone to Jerusalem must add JP (Jerusalem Pilgrim) to their names. One of these days, I won’t be surprised if you start hearing things like Chief Justice, Dr, (Mrs) K, (MSc., Phd, USA, UK, Asia, Europe) to tell you where they have been,” stated Amaka.
“And some feel so offended if you address them without adding all the titles. Just call them Mr. So and So and they will tongue-lash you or worse still, ignore you completely as they see it as a slight on their person. I heard about a man who was called up to address a forum, everyone was clapping, waiting for him to come to the podium. But guess what? He refused to get out of his seat, reason being that he was not properly introduced! His personal assistant had to approach the compère to ask him to correct the error. Thereafter, he was introduced ‘correctly’ with all the titles in place,” narrated Toks.
“What nonsense! And people were there still waiting for the correction to be made? If I were there, I would simply have walked out. Let him keep whatever he had to say to himself. He is a very proud man and such people don’t last long. Pride goes before a fall,” fumed Kenneth.
“People did not know what happened initially, it was later they learnt why he refused to stand up,” replied Toks.
“Thank God for the ongoing re-branding scheme in Nigeria. I watched the re-branding campaign recently held in Asaba. There, the Information and Communications Minister, Prof. Dora Akunyili said one of the things they are trying to do is to teach Nigerians to keep it simple and avoid all those unnecessary protocols,” said Tunji. Continuing he said: “You hear ‘Your Excellency,’ ‘Honourable’, all over the place, used to address some people you know very well are dishonourable and not excellent by any stretch of imagination. That just makes a mockery of the whole thing.”
Noted Azeez: “Hasn’t it been said that empty vessels make the most noise? I’ve noticed that it’s mostly those with nothing upstairs that insist on all those appellations. Serious-minded people who have something to offer their people don’t bother about titles.
They know what they’ve got and they don’t need to make noise about it. In the medical profession, those with PhD in Medicine are addressed as ‘Mr.’
“In the Western world, you hear people address presidents as ‘Mr.’ You hear things like Mr. Obama, Mr. Blair, Mr. Clinton, Mr. Bush, Mr. Reagan, etc., but you dare not do that in Nigeria. Even if the president wouldn’t mind, his overzealous acolytes will call you to order for committing a sacrilege”.