The increasingly brutal government of Nigeria under democratically elected dictator Muhammadu Buhari has slammed 10 Internally Displaced Persons from Bama local government to jail for leading protests to return to their town.
Denied bail, the 10 men lead by Mohammed Hassan, chairman of Bama Initiative for Huamn Development, were slammed in jail by the magistrate of Wulari court till October 23rd in a short court session that did not take the defendants pleas.
Dying of hunger in IDP camps Bama IDPs had protested that they were going to return to Bama town since the Nigerian government claims the town had been liberated; rather than remain chronically in the IPDP camps. Their decision to return to Bama town was met with government resistance who wish to keep them in the camps allegedly for political reasons or because the claims of liberation are not quite accurate.
The Buhari government has been noted for its brutality, clamping down on the media and Right activists and for several massacres of protesting youth across the nation followed by secret burials.
Release #BamaMustGo IDP Leaders Now – Prof Khalifa Dikwa
My humble appeal goes to the BORNO State police Command to release all the leaders of Bama IDPs who threatened to go back owing to the failure of state govt to fulfil its promise to return them to their localities almost 2 years after the recapture of territories under bh terrorists and their subsequent degrading by our gallant military. Releasing them will dispel the notion that the police is playing to the gallery of self centered politicians because the IDPs who are very poorly catered for, are human shields or ATM machines for the enrichment of the ruling class as well as an easy way to guarantee their bloc votes in 2019.
Keeping them in custody for just threatening to go back as a political strategy for govt to do the needful in order to ginger the military and other security agencies to sit up on intelligence gathering and mop up the remaining bh insurgents who are degraded by 90%, leaving with their diabolic ideology of hitting soft targets and die in the process. Keeping IDPs for this long with no constant communication, visits, progress reports or response to their appeals may give the impression that they are kept in Maiduguri for political exigencies rather encouraging the military who placed their lives on the line to save them from bh attacks if they return, is disingenuous to say the least.
The continuous detention of their leaders may invite more criticisms to the police as complicit to intimidate Bama IDPs but other IDPs from other LGAs from trying to take to the streets in the future. We do not see any cogent reason to keep them in police custody beyond 24 hours, having heeded the advice of the police commissioner not to engage themselves in a suicide journey home. Truly, the Police acted in a professional manner, but their leaders should have been released after a short briefing on the dangers involved.
When I queried the initiators on the response of the security agents, they told me that their real intention was to merely test the waters as well as moral booster to measure how eager the people are, to collectively hang out together for a while, exchange ideas and for the media and the civil society to help them draw quick attention to their plight, therefore no need for the police to charge them because they were not out to endanger the lives of their people.
They are wise enough not to do so without police protection, not withstanding their ability to team up or form themselves into local vigilante groups to defend themselves. They are simply fed up with the traumatising situation in Maiduguri camps.
They tagged it RETURN to BAMA when their serial attempts to draw the attention of both State and FG authorities failed to give result oe prompt response, particularly in terms of food, shelter and educ of their children after 3 years of hardship. They just threatened use their constitutional rights to gather and show their eagerness to go back to Bama when it was obvious that their application for peaceful protests would be rebuffed, no thanks to those who are benefiting from their continuous stay.
The state govt should talk to them in concrete terms as to when the promise for all IDPs to go back home will be fulfilled. No amount of intimidation by the political leaders through the police would deter them from peaceful protests to keep the authorities on their toes, to cater for them until necessary measures to create safe havens are provided for to enable them move out of Maiduguri.
My suggestion to the State govt is to set free all the leaders of ReturnToBama initiative as well as to engage them in a sincere dialogue for a better understanding. Lest We Forget, Borno people have a history of facing any danger and die protecting themselves to die with dignity than to live as cowards in perpetual bondage, avoidable slavery, shame and humiliation as guides for our children to learn the act of bravery. May Allah help us. Khlf dk