Monday, March 1, 2010

The extra-judicial murders - Matters Arising

Latest news from Nigeria indicate that the Federal Police has made a rare move of arresting 17 police officers allegedly involved in the extra-judicial murders of some members of the Boko Haram Islamist cult last year. Apparently, the Police action was in response to the video footage of the murders broadcast by Al Jezeera recently (see my post on this earlier this month).
Yes, this is the right thing to do. But the Nigeria Police is not known for prosecuting its own for the kind of murderous criminality and wanton disregard for the human rights of their victims. The skeptic in me says that this is a knee-jerk response to a routine incident that has suddenly become an international scandal. Lest we forget, the Nigerian government officials promised, soon after the incident, to investigate the circumstances of the Boko Haram leader's death in captivity. And that was it. Or is anyone under any illusion that the arrest of the "Police 17" is connected to an investigation that, for all I care, never happened? The true test is to check back with the Police in the next coming weeks and months about outcome of the arrests. To see if these uniformed maniacs will be brought to justice. And I am hoping also that the arrests include the senior officers the world saw giving orders or just watching the murderous proceedings in the video footage.

And while we are at it, could the Nigerian Police do the world another favor; they should also watch the Jos footage, and identify, arrest and prosecute all the uniformed men involved in those killings as well. Only then could my skeptical self be brought in for a sermon.

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