26th May, 2011
Nigerians have always condemned extra-judicial killings in any form and have always looked at the police as a band of cowboys acting with impunity. But the recent killing of two police officers in Badagry, Lagos State, by soldiers has taken extra-judicial killing to a new level.
Clashes between policemen and soldiers are not new, afterall they are human, but for soldiers to avenge the killing of a colleague by shooting police officers is taking it too far.
The Badagry incident has again revealed the extent of lawlessness and decay in our military and paramilitary forces. Innocent people have been killed by policemen and nothing has happened to the culprits. Even the police high command seems to admit its powerlessness as no policeman has ever really been disciplined for taking the life of another Nigeria. Police and military men have often clashed leading to the loss of lives and property. Many times, the authorities have convened meetings and promised Nigerians it would never happen again but it does. The latest incident is shocking. It is shocking because members of a disciplined force like the Nigerian Army have descended so low and behaved like the policemen whom we usually condemn for taking the law in their hands. They have behaved in a way that negates their description -as officers and gentlemen.
The killers of the police officers in Badagry must be fished out and made to face the music. The policeman who murdered the soldiers must also be apprehended and taken into custody. He must also face the law, no matter the provocation that made him pull the trigger.
These murderers among us must go to prison or get the death sentence as the law may decide. It is not enough to claim anger or temporary madness. It is not enough for the authorities to promise to look into the matter. Nigerians are tired of these mindless killings. We cannot continue in this uncivilised manner. We had thought it was just the police that had this blood lust but the latest incident proves otherwise. There is need for re-orientation of the rank and file of the military and police while stiffer penalties should meted out to perpertrators of the so-called accidental discharge or any form of extrajudicial killings.
We cannot afford to allow the incident to be swept under the carpet like many others in the past.
The killers of innocent Nigerians have never really faced the law and get punished. Indiscipline and the culture of impunity has permeated all our spheres of existence and Nigerians have remained helpless. Until we do something, the country will continue to lose human resources to these kind of senseless killings.