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How Not to Treat a Governor

How Not to Treat a Governor

By Abdullahi Salisu

They came in several vehicles dressed in full battle gear. Sophisticated guns and bulletproof vests complemented their smartly ironed green-on-green police uniforms.

Their destination was the Abuja private residence of Arc Darius Dickson Ishaku, executive governor of Taraba State. And their brief was to obtain some incriminating evidence, no matter how little, against the governor for the purpose of framing him up as a gun runner.

All entreaties by their fellow police men on guard at the entrance to the house to tarry awhile for the keys to the apartments to be brought so that entry into the building would be easier and less destructive fell on the deaf ears.

They opted for the use of force, using heavy iron equipment they had brought with them. By the time they were through with their evil mission, the building had become a shadow of its former self.

Doors and windows were smashed, beds and tables were broken, air conditioners and refrigerators damaged while the ceilings were pulled down, all in their desperation to get “something” to take back to their masters for the purpose of nailing the governor and members of his family.

They found no such thing. It was, indeed a failed mission. I’m told that up till now, that is, over three weeks after the incident, the police high command and their masters are still leaking the wounds of failure of this outrageously embarrassing assault on Governor Ishaku’s privacy and his constitutionally guaranteed immunity as a sitting governor of a state in Nigeria.

The police authorities, according to reliable information, are so disappointed and embarrassed by the scandal that the failure of the invasion of the Governor’s privacy turned out to be for them. It was for this reason that they have been unable to issue a public statement to explain it. Truth is that they have no convincing explanation for this primitive act which has gone into the nation’s history books as one of the most arbitrary and obnoxious violation against the person and office of a state governor.

But information available to this writer is that the invasion was a premeditated action intended at “punishing” the Governor for his courage in defending his people against the incessant attacks and killings in the state by the Fulani militia men.

The police high command was said to have organized the invasion on the basis of spurious allegations that the Governor had a large collection of arms and ammunition and huge amount of money in the house.

The plan was that the items would be recovered and the news of the recoveries trumpeted even beyond the nation’s borders in order to humiliate the governor and project him as unworthy of his people’s respect and support. That was the architecture of the plot that eventually failed.

Surprisingly, the nation’s usually very active human rights clan has failed to raise a voice against this unlawful invasion of the privacy of a sitting governor. The press, too, has been curiously silent. We have seen no editorial comments condemning this outrageous act of humiliation of a very senior public servant – a sitting governor of a state who enjoys immunity under the constitution of the country.

So far only the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Governor Ishaku’s political platform and his colleagues in the PDP Governors Forum have condemned the invasion and demanded explanation. Yet, the police have offered none. They have just reluctantly ordered a probe which is being handled in a manner that will produce no useful results. They only intend to use it to exonerate themselves.

The police should show remorse. Governor Ishaku and his family deserve public apology. The police should organize a press conference to be addressed by the Inspector General of Police to publicly accept responsibility for the illegal invasion of the Governor’s house, give full explanation on their motive and exonerate the Governor and his family.

He should also publicly give an undertaking to guarantee the safety and life of the governor, that of members of his immediate family and his close aides.

This invasion by the police is a very serious matter, especial if taken alongside some other unsavoury developments that happened earlier and related to the Governor.

Shortly after Ishaku’s re-election for a second term, there was a threat to kill him. The threat was linked to a certain group that was also linked to the political opposition in Taraba State.

Then came the wicked rumours of the Governor’s supposed death, also packaged and orchestrated by people connected to the political opposition in the state. All of these point in the direction of an invidious agenda against Governor Ishaku that ought to be a subject of police probe.

Unfortunately, the police that are supposed to investigate these dangerous developments around the Governor are part of this intricate web of controversy and conspiracy. The invasion is a big evidence against their neutrality.

The public and the press must rise and ask the critical questions on this issue. Why is Governor Ishaku being targeted for humiliation, even elimination? What really is the offence of this man? Is it wrong of him to have opted to serve his people diligently?

I know he had always asked security agencies to show more commitment and become less bias in their handling of security issues in Taraba State. That was not too much of the chief security officer of the state to ask for. He never failed to express appreciation for the much that security agencies were always able to do towards the maintenance of law and order.

And he is on record as one of the governors in Nigeria who did the most to facilitate the job of the security agencies. Certainly, Governor Ishaku deserves better treatment from the police and other security agencies. Anything less will amount to an unfair treatment for the Governor.