Oby Ezekwesili, a former Vice-President (Africa) of the World Bank who retired a few months ago, has expressed devastation at the killing of students in Mubi and Port Harcourt in the past week.
In Mubi, Adamawa State, on National Day, unknown gunmen called out the students by name, and slaughtered them. In Port Harcourt, in an incident caught on videotape, the students were killed and set on fire.
Mrs. Ezekwesili, who had also served in the Olusegun Obasanjo government, told members of the press as follows:
I am sorry; I am totally outraged like any decent citizen of a nation that we love. The killings were barbaric, mere savagery and very devastating. Some people are acting or behaving as if there are no people in charge of the government. “Something is fundamentally wrong with our society: To see the dastardly mob killing of four misguided youths(Port Harcourt’s) who stole sank my optimism. Noo! Even in death, these four must get justice. My voice shall be heard on this. What have we become?
“We used to be better than this. What has psychologically traumatized our people? There is a fundamental problem; there is a breakdown in something that is proudly Nigeria. I cannot believe that our society has got to this level. We are broken, we need to be mended and nobody will mend it other than ourselvesWe are getting to the precipice and we need to pull ourselves back. The government has to take full responsibility; it has to be in charge to prevent anarchy. The only way out is for the government to prove that it is really in charge.
We are a nation of 150million people; we are not a small country. If the situation continues like this, we cannot survive a large-scale conflict. It does not do us good to befell into a nation of conflagration.We have to watch it. A lot of countries that have had genocidal experience started like this.
We have too many problems to descend into a state of anarchy again. How can we all sit and watch impunity becomes the order of the day. The government has to re-establish itself. The killing of these innocent students must not go off the news
These killings must not be swept under the carpet. There must be a rapid response from the government within the nuances of the law. The government must not just act, they should bring investigations into logical conclusion. If people watch and nothing happened, by tomorrow we will have worst scenario of killings.
The leadership of the entire justice(the Judiciary, the Ministry of Justice, the police and allied agencies) and security system should consider this a slap on their faces. Citizens taking the law into their hands in such barbaric manner suggest a loss of confidence.
They have a duty to speedily work at restoring that confidence and they can start with these two cases through rapid response.
They must successfully and speedily investigate and bring culprits to trial. We need to restore deterrence as a guiding principle of our justice system again!
When people know that the Rule of Law is predictable, they do not behave recklessly as we are seeing now.
But when you have a society and people believe the consequences are profitable, it suggests a breakdown of the Rule of Law
The whole world will be looking at us and say, what is wrong with these people? We do live in a new Nigeria now where life means nothing. We cannot allow the situation to continue like this.