The easiest way to get away with anything is to claim you are acting against a terrorist. Once the charge is pressed, with the attendant publicity, the onus is on the suspect to extricate himself from the allegation.
Suspects tagged terrorists are guilty until they prove their innocence. We have entered a more dangerous loop in the war against terror. We hope the authorities realise the new applications of official violence against suspects can cause further challenges in the fight against terrorists.
Who were the occupants of the uncompleted building which security agencies stormed in Apo, Abuja? Who made the report that they were terrorists? Motor cycle riders are raising a strong voice that eight of those killed were their members? Again, that is not a proof that they were not terrorists!
Any proof that they were terrorists? “Considering the ammunition recovered, in addition to arms and weapons from suspects and from the fact that on approach to the area, the personnel were fired at, there is no doubt that those people were terrorists,” Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika told newsmen.
If armed robbers had arms, ammunition, weapons and fired at security agencies on approach, would that make them terrorists?
Our concern is that the loss of lives, like other incidents where security agencies felt they had nothing to explain to anyone, should worry anyone, who believes the law still has a place in guiding our society. What would replace the lost lives? What type of fire power should the security agencies use when they come under attack?
As usual, government is moving on, using the incident as excuse to unleash its own terror on people. The Federal Capital Territory Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed said 100,000 illegal buildings and 435 uncompleted houses had been identified for demolition. How did construction of such number of building begin without FCT approval?
Mohammed told a House of Representatives Committee of FCT’s determination to take down the buildings, possibly its contribution to taking out terrorists, who reside in those places. He should also consider how the uncompleted buildings had been accommodation for hundreds of thousands, who Abuja treats as mere statistics — it never plans for them.
This incident, within firing shots of residences of most federal legislators, is grabbing attention but it ranks low in the long list of security operations that question concerns for lives.
Our legislators place their comfort and safety above others’. Assurances that the operation in Apo was for their safety are enough for them to lose interest on how many died and why they were killed.
An independent enquiry is needed on the Apo killings; it could at least set standards for security operations.