I have been researching on political killings and state-sanctioned hits in Nigeria. It is tragic where we are coming from. The murder of these people – Pa Alfred Rewane, Bola Ige and Kudirat Abiola was like a scene in the action movie – The Mechanic.
Luckily, Alex Ibru and Pa Abraham Adesanya, though both late now, survived hits ordered by the Abacha regime.
But what is more depressing for me is the irresponsibility and complicity of the Nigeria police in the barbarous executions.
In July 1999, at the Oputa Panel, Sergeant Rogers, Abacha’s hitman, confessed to have carried out the killing of Kudirat. He also confessed to have carried out the hits on Adesanya and Ibru at the behest of Major Hamza Al Mustapha.
But did you know that the police in these cases arrested innocent Nigerians, some of whom were killed in detention?
For example, in the case of Pa Rewane, two of the innocent suspects were only released in 2011 – most of them died in police custody. The police did all they could to bury the case.
Did you know the police, under the Abacha regime, which killed Kudirat, put a $45,000 bounty on the killers of the woman even when they knew the perpetrators?
I believe most Nigerians in prison today are innocent. But our police are not a law enforcement organisation, but a regime-protection agency. And it has been so since the military era.
In addition, most Nigerians have no faith in the Nigeria police. I was discussing getting police security for an estate with a neighbour. This is what he said: “That is dangerous. The police security could mastermind an armed robbery here or even carry out the robbery. Halogen security is better.”
I was reminded of how some policemen guarding former President Jonathan’s house in Abuja butchered the place and looted its content.
The hierarchy of the Nigeria police is perhaps oblivious of citizens’ revulsion or just insouciant about it.
In the days of the protest against SARS, I did not join the campaign against the dreaded squad because I knew the hierarchy of the Nigeria police was not amenable to reforms. I believe the police need a total purge now.
I have devoted some of my time to criticise the police because I want a better organisation. And I know there are good men in the force.
However, in the past few days of my onslaughts on the police, I have been receiving strange calls. It is really surprising. We need a better police. I want a better police.
Fredrick is a journalist, writer and media entrepreneur.