Opinion: Apostle Suleman vs DSS: (Mis)Use Of Governors’ Immunity

Opinion: Apostle Suleman vs DSS: (Mis)Use Of Governors’ Immunity

By Opinions | The Trent on January 30, 2017
Apostle Johnson Suleman, general overseer of Omega Fire MInistries
Apostle Johnson Suleman, general overseer of Omega Fire MInistries

Last Wednesday, the attempts by the State Security Services, the SSS, also known as DSS, to arrest Apostle Johnson Suleman in Ekiti was thwarted by the Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose.

Suleman had drawn the ire of the DSS by allegedly asking members of his congregation to kill any Fulani herdsmen that come around his church premises.

Fayose who is the fiercest critic of the current administration had followed the earlier lead of Nyesom Wike who had stopped the DSS from a planned raid on the residence of Justice Liman for alleged corruption last year. The immunity both men enjoyed saved them from arrests for obstruction of justice and we can also say luck saved them from possible death for physically challenging and preventing armed security agents from carrying out their lawful duties.

Only a mad man will argue with someone armed with a gun, apologies to Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe.

This discourse will not dwell on the foolishness or boldness (as many of their supporters have termed it) of governors using the privilege of immunity to physically prevent armed security agents from carrying out their lawful duties but the implications of Wike and Fayose’s acts of rabid rascality on national security.

In 2015, Nigeria danced from the precipice of the United State’s predicted disintegration and shocked the whole world by conducting a democratic transition of power. Nigeria managed to pull back from imminent state failure, owing to the loss of territory near the size of Belgium to vicious Boko Haram terrorists, to a peaceful transfer of power from an incumbent president to the opposition.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things…

John 14:26
– JANUARY 30 –
If you are asking whom or where you can go to to get the help you need, ask no more. Just turn to God who has already promised you the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom He has sent in Jesus’ name to dwell in you.

The Holy Spirit will teach you all things. Yes, teach you all things! Do you really believe that? Or are you like some who believe that you seek God’s counsel only for spiritual things, but consult “professional” help for all other things in your life?

God does not want you to run to and rely on worldly wisdom. Now, there is nothing wrong with going to a doctor or engaging a financial consultant, but God wants you to come to Him first for counsel and direction. That is why He has sent the Holy Spirit, the Counselor (John 16:7, NIV), to teach you all things. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth and He will guide you into all truth. (John 16:13)

The apostle John said, “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things… the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things…” (1 John 2:20, 27)

So the way God teaches you is through the anointing within. It is a continuous anointing. In any particular situation, He is anointing you from within, teaching you by the presence or absence of His peace.

For example, a deal you are considering may sound very reasonable. But if you don’t have the peace in your spirit, don’t sign on the dotted line. Sign only when you have the peace. Be led by His peace and you will find that your heart will not be troubled, neither will it be afraid. (John 14:27)

When you follow that peace which only God can give to you as an inward witness, good things and even miracles will come forth!

Most scholars agree that one of the yardsticks for measuring state failure is the ability of states to exercise powers of coercion over citizens in its territory. Authority has been defined as the “state’s capacity to exercise coercive force over its national territory”.

The moment a state is unable to legitimately exercise coercive force, state failure is imminent. So we might have escaped America’s doomsday predictions but then, it is not yet uhuru!

A situation where state governors constitute themselves into courts of law to determine whether the exercise of state authority is lawful or not and then proceeding to stop the exercise of such authority is an invitation to anarchy and chaos.

I agree that the security agents in Nigeria are in the habit of abusing the rights of citizens, but then the courts are there to enforce constitutional safeguards. Suleman is not above the law and if he is if the opinion that there has been a breach of his rights, he should go to court, and not invite a governor to stop security agents from carrying out their duties.

The implications of his actions is as irresponsible as the comments credited to Suleman after his bungled arrest that if the DSS had arrested him, it would set the country on fire. We can bear the rascality of Fayose on the basis of the immunity (which won’t last forever) he mistakes for the lordship of a fiefdom, but not Suleman’s irresponsible comments aimed at pushing Nigeria into a sectarian war.

Scholars agree that when a state’s capacity to exercise authority is considerable weakened, that gives room for violent exertion of sectarian tensions and animosities. With sectarianism and ethnic violence added to the mix, there is no escaping state failure. Afghanistan, Iraq, the Central Africa Republic, Somalia etc. are good examples.

If care is not taken, Nigeria may be on that list all thanks to the dangerous combination of governors who leave the business of governing their states to undermine national security and religious leaders posturing for war through their rhetoric.

The carnage in Southern Kaduna and the government’s lackadaisical approach to the crisis is most disturbing and highly condemnable. All legal means should be employed including inviting the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the UN to investigate the crisis and bring the perpetrators to book. Irrespective of our anger, we should not allow the crisis snowball into a full blown sectarian war across the nation.

The US president has just signed an executive order barring immigrants and refugees from 7 nations who are the top occupiers of the global state failure index, seething with near nonexistent national security and sectarian violence. To the supporters and cheerleaders of Fayose, Wike and Suleman, all I can say is that when these men set the country on fire, we all shall embark on the tortuous trek as refugees for a safe sanctuary. It is never an easy road; you can ask the Syrians, Iraqis and the Somalians etc.

Maduka Onwukeme, a Lagos based legal practitioner is the managing partner of Elix LP. He blogs on www.legalfido.com and could be reached by email HERE.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.


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