On Thursday, November 29, 2018, in Nonwa of Tai Local Government Area, the training center for newly employed members of the Rivers State Neighbourhood Corp was invaded by hundreds of troops of the Nigerian Army. The battalion shutdown the training camp acting on “orders from above”.
The Neighbourhood Safety Corp, which is also operational in Lagos State, was setup by the Rivers State Government to assist the security agencies in the State manage security issues as well as provide jobs for Rivers people.
The Federal Government’s move to shut it down is not only illegal, it negates all legitimate efforts to promote peace and security in Rivers State and also provide jobs for Nigerians, most of whom have been left jobless by the bad economic policies of the APC led Government.
More troubling is the reason behind granting Lagos State leave to operate its own neighborhood safety Corp and denying Rivers State the right to do hers by the intrusion of military fiat. The big question is whether Nigeria is now a pseudo military regime.
The image below is a letter from the director general of the Rivers State Neighbourhood Watch Agency which was written to the Nigerian Army. Click on any image to enlarge.
The Nigerian Army is a disgrace to the Nigerian Nation for allowing itself to be rubbished by ill-bred citizens and self-serving politicians.
The Army’s reference to young Rivers men and women taking up the job of Neigbourhood Watchmen as being members of a militia is a shame to itself and what it represents. Those who run the Army and are running it aground must hide their heads in the cesspool of that repugnant shame!
The Rivers State Government by constituting the Rivers State Neigbourhood Safety Corp Agency by a law of the Rivers State House of Assembly carried out a legitimate and legal action. The Rivers State Government does not need the approval of the Nigerian Army to provide for the maintenance of peace and order within her borders.
The action of the Army in invading and obstructing the screening process of the Rivers State Neigbourhood Safety Corp, an agency already existing in other States, is not only illegal, it is an affront and a monumental infraction on the Nigerian Constitution.
The action speaks of the suspension of democratic governance in Nigeria by the Buhari led APC Federal Government and is an incitement to public disorder across Nigeria given that it negates the will, purpose and intentions of good governance the world over.
The claim that because some clown, even if it were a respectable citizen, had dragged the Rivers State Government to court over its establishment of the Neigbourhood Safety Corp, the government has no right to go on with setting up the agency, is puerile, infantile and sterile of logic.
The reason is simple. No Nigerian court has issued any restraining order on the Rivers State Government from proceeding with the establishment of the Rivers State Neigbourhood Safety Corp Agency. None! Not one!
As such, the Nigerian Army or whoever or whatever agency of the Federal Government cannot arrogate to itself the powers of the Courts of the land to invade and shutdown a legitimate action by a State Government. That act is a threat to the sovereignty of the country because sovereignty is sustained by the laws of the land and respect for them rather than gunpowder.
Even if a restraining order had been issued by a court of competent jurisdiction on the Rivers State Government, it is not the duty of the Nigerian Army to enforce it. That duty is for the police. There’s no war in Rivers State to invite the presence of the Army into non-combatant and clearly civilian operations. The War is in Northern Nigeria and the unnecessary bravado should have been better deployed there, where it would have been legal and legitimate and, of course, served Nigeria better good than the disgraceful action it took in Rivers State yesterday.
Respect for a nation’s Army is on the basis of honourable action and patriotic national service.
When the Army positions itself as thug to do the bidding of self-serving politicians against the laws, best interest and good governance of the nation, it has gone rogue. It has lost its salt and purpose. It has been compromised and become useless to the nation. If the nation does not re-organize it, it will disorganize the nation.
The hallmark of military service is patriotism, which itself at its purest state is allegiance/loyalty to one’s country not its misleading leaders. patriotism is not zombiesm.
Oraye St. Franklyn is a barrister-at-law. He is senior special assistant to Governor Nyesom Wike on Social Media. He is a strategic communicator and good governance advocate, writes from Port Harcourt, Rivers State. He tweets from @SaintOraye. He is also on Facebook.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.