Bola Ige and the ghosts that haunt Nigeria

Kenechukwu Obiezu

Kenechukwu Obiezu

In perhaps the gravest assault on justice ever witnessed in Nigeria, on December 23 2001, two days to Christmas and under the watching eyes of the midday sun, Mr. Bola Ige, Nigeria`s attorney-general, minister of justice and senior advocate of Nigeria succumbed to the bullets of assassins in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

On that day, the ghost of the inimitable ‘Kaduna boy’ joined the host of ghosts that continue to haunt Nigeria till this day, casting a spectral pall over all its features. Although the good people of the Yoruba nation wailed uncontrollably when bullets snuffed life out of one of Nigeria`s most eminent lawyers, it was the country that awoke with a start, screaming from a nightmare. It has continued to scream since then, the plaintive screams continuing to lament till this day the killers who bestride Nigeria`s land of walking corpses. Should wolves be allowed to walk into a court of wallabies simply because the animal kingdom is in such disarray? We simply do not think so.

It was in 2001 and Nigeria was still breathing the air of liberty and liberation after twenty-eight bitterly asphyxiating years of military stranglehold on power. Yet, out of nowhere the bullets that cut down the chief law officer of the federation came. It is supremely scandalous that nothing has yet been done.

Twenty years down the line, his killers are yet to be as much as identified. Nothing could be more scandalous. Nothing could be more shameful, should anyone still wonder at the grotesque fingers of anarchy groping the scrotum of the country? With the seasoning of scandal that so strongly spices the soup of impunity in Nigeria, no one should wonder anymore at how killers wine and dine in Nigeria and exude evidence of good living even as they pat their paunches.

Among Nigeria`s walking wounded walk the walking corpses who should account for their heinous crimes against Nigerians and the ghosts which ceaselessly demand the rendition of such accounts. Because those who make ghosts and the ghosts made collide so forcefully here, they murder Morpheus and a country sickened by crimes is unable to sleep.

The Yoruba nation must continue to cry for justice until the killers are found. Other Nigerians must also key into this national wailing must of necessity be inconsolable. His death was one too many and did it not prove ominous for a country that had only escaped from teeth of corruptly indolent and indulgent military regimes?

His death hauled the country back into the eternally dark days of assassins and assassinations. There was the indomitable Dele Giwa; there was the indefatigable Kudirat Abiola; there was Funsho Williams whose murderers yet walk free. Across the country, even till this day, there have been other assassinations, political and otherwise.

What is most nightmarish about these assassinations is that those responsible always escape wildly pointing fingers, slipping through the yawning cracks of the fragile foundations of Nigeria`s law enforcement. Shall wolves be allowed to walk freely among wallabies?

It is because nothing is done to killer Fulani herdsmen; it is because nothing is done to the hyenas of Boko Haram and ISWAP; it is because nothing is done to the barracudas of Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta`adda bandit groups; it is because nothing is done to the jackals that unknown gunmen are that the sanctity of life in Nigeria is cast before swine without the direst of consequences. So, without scruples, killers attend the funerals of those they kill, and laugh in the faces of their bereaved families.

Justice is a marathon. Nigeria must build the fortitude necessary to participate and outlast killers. Unless those who kill people in Nigeria are left in no doubt that for as long as it takes, they will be hotly pursued, the killings will continue with glee. On December 23,2021, some people murdered sleep in Ibadan, Oyo State. They must never be allowed to sleep.

Kene Obiezu,

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