May 10, 2021

Insecurity: Nobody is safe in Nigeria — Osagie, Ex-Reps minority leader

…says Buhari must justify his election as President

…faults Robert Clarke on call for a military takeover

By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja

The former minority leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Samson Osagie on Monday said that Nigeria at the moment is not safe for anyone.

He said that insecurity and criminality have become pervasive in the land.

Osagie however said that President Muhammadu Buhari must rise above the rhetorics and justify his election in 2015 as President.

Osagie who was reacting to a call by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Chief Robert Clark on national television in Abuja for military takeover faulted the call.

The former lawmaker who is also a senior lawyer and a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC said that the call amounted to a treasonable felony.

He urged Nigeria to rather engage the government in constructive criticisms than asking for military intervention in Nigerian politics.

Osagie wondered why the security agencies have not invited Robert Clark to explain his motive for the call.

He said: “Yes, as a parliamentarian and of course, as a lawyer, statements of that nature expose the ignorance of some otherwise learned people or highly educated people within the society.

“In Nigeria, we must be careful not to have our frustration lead us into digging our own grave.

“I was very surprised to hear Robert Clark, SAN asking President Buhari to hand over to the military without any basis for such a call. Regardless of the state of our rule of law in this country, it can not be heard that a Senior Advocate of Nigeria of that age will call for an unlawful change of government, calling on the incumbent elected president to hand over to the military on his own. It is very preposterous, and no logic or reason whatsoever can justify it. Nigeria and Nigerians are going through hard times, we are all affected by the grave insecurity in our country. We are all affected by the huge economic challenges besetting our nation. We all blame the government in power, yes, because they have to take responsibility but we must not add salt to injuries by asking for undemocratic take over of government by a Senior Advocate. How does he justify that? In any case, such a call amount to treason.

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“Honestly speaking, I think that Robert Clarke as a SAN and old man ought to have known better because the evidence of our history shows that the challenges we face today are attributable to long years of military interruption of our democratic governance and that have made our democratic journey to be very crooked in the last sixty-something years that we have been independent. If we have had unbroken civilian administration since 1960, our experiences will have allowed us to correct a lot of mistakes we would have made, some gains we would have made would have been consolidated upon also.

“Take it or leave it, nobody is coming to build the Nigeria of our dreams. Nigerians have to do it themselves. So, if you call the military, they are not angels. They are not going to do something extraordinary they have not done before. They will only add to the challenges on the ground. If you call for undemocratic take over of government, then you are jeopardising the growth of democracy regardless of how weak our democratic culture may seem to be today, it is still better than any military government.

“So, if we feel that the President is not doing enough, then, we have a collective duty to engage in constructive criticism of his administration and that I support because I feel the pains, my people feel the pains. Things could have been better if a different approach to governance had been employed by this government but that is not to say that we should sacrifice our democratic rights to elect another President in the next couple of years that we think should be able to drive the developmental agenda that will favour and benefit the people of Nigeria.

“In the meantime, what we must continue to do which I support is to call on President Buhari because you cannot say because your prayers are not answered, you wouldn’t pray to God again. You can’t substitute God with another god. He remains our President. What we should do is to constantly call on him and I hereby call on him that he needs to go beyond rhetorics in addressing the security problems.

“Nobody is safe in Nigeria. Everywhere is now a haven for insecurity. Criminals are almost overrunning the legally constituted security architecture. What has happened to us? The few successes that have been made are not enough to give the citizens succour and the security they deserved. We must stop responding and be reactionary to every incidence of kidnapping, bombing.

“We must be able to nip in the bud criminal activities before they happened. This reactionary method, reacting after every incident happens will help no one. This is what was happening during Jonathan who was good at issuing beautiful statements after an incident happen.

“President Buhari must do everything possible because this is the part of the reasons he won election in 2015 because Nigerians had faith in him that being a retired military general, he will be able to handle the security situation because no one will tell him what to do but quite frankly, the insecurity in Nigeria today is mind-boggling. Granted that there is no incessant bombing, detonators here and there, but the dimension insecurity has taken today is alarming.

“We cannot allow it. We must continue to engage the government and demand accountability from them regardless of the party affiliation, make suggestions and statesmen for the advancement and for the development of our country. But we have no right as citizens regardless of how we feel to call for a military take over of government. We don’t have that right and anybody who does that commits an offence that is punishable under our constitution which is the grundnorm of our country and that is a treasonable felony.

“I am wondering if our security agencies will not have to ask Robert Clarke as to what his motives. We have to speak against it. We can suggest ways of improving our nation but you have no right to suggest illegal means of taking over of government. Our freedom of speech does not allow us to commit treason under the constitution. Your freedom can be circumscribed if you commit a crime. Section 1(3) of the constitution makes the constitution supreme over any other law. There is no law in this country that says if a civilian administration is not doing well, then, the military can take over.”

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