An Open Letter to Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu

By Mahdi Garba

I hope you are keeping well during these hard times. I also hope this message finds you well. I am writing this letter as an aggrieved Nigerian citizen that is traumatized by the security situation of the country. More to that, while all my fellow citizens in rural areas in Sokoto, Niger, Zamfara, Katsina and Kaduna are finding it difficult to sleep with their eyes closed, your nonchalant attitude towards their plight has become evident.

In May 2019, when you officially took over as the Inspector-General of Police in the Nigerian Police Force, many Nigerians were joyous, having in mind that your appointment will reconstruct the image of the Force. These celebrants were optimistic that you will steer a Nigerian Police that that would protect the lives and property of taxpayers without segregation.

Unfortunately, the hope of these millions of Nigerians has been dashed by your actions since you took the mantle of leadership of the Force in the last one year. Human rights abuse has become synonymous with the name of the Force that is meant to protect the lives of Nigerian citizens under your nose. 

In a country that stated unanimously every citizen has the Right to life, personal liberty, peaceful assembly and association in its constitution, men of the institution you are heading have turned minority groups to endangered species, specifically the members of the Sheikh Zakzaky-led Islamic Movement in Nigeria, by depriving them of these constitutional rights.

In July 2019, some members of the aforesaid movement were attacked by men of the Nigerian Police Force in Abuja, while protesting the continued detention of their leader who has been kept incommunicado by the Nigerian authorities since 2015. A total of 60 peaceful demonstrators were arrested and kept at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit in Abuja, a body with a track history of human rights violation.

In course of their illegal detention at this infamous unit, three persons were tortured to death and their bodies deposited at Asokoro District Hospital. I didn’t include the six people the Police killed during the protest and deposited three bodies at the National Hospital, Abuja while depriving the other three a befitting funeral. The seized bodies are still at the mortuary since 22 July, 2019. Their families are still waiting for their corpses to bury them according to Islamic rites.

The members of the Nigerian Police Force in other states have borrowed a leaf from your book. For instance, in Sokoto these personnel have mastered the art of taking laws into their hands. These are the same people Nigerians were once looking up to, to put a stop to the unending killings in the country.

In many northern states, Sokoto inclusive, the menace of insecurity is obvious, which is ostensibly as a result of the failure of Nigerian security operatives to nip the menace in the bud. Despite this, whenever members of the Islamic Movement converged on Sokoto for some programmes, precisely for #FreeZakzaky protests, their protest is greeted by excessive force from armed-to-the-teeth personnel that have failed in discharging their responsibility of protecting the lives and property of its people. Many Nigerians, including yours sincerely have started demanding that the bandits terrorizing the country should get a similar treatment.

This is not different from what is happening in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Some followers of the detained leader of the Islamic Movement have now make it a culture to peacefully protest the illegal detention of Sheikh Zakzaky, which the police shot almost every day.

The recent one is on June 27, 2020 where some members of movement were attacked with live bullets, teargas and water canon while protesting the continued illegal detention of their leader in the country’s capital.

The men of Nigerian police have understood the Federal Government is insouciant about the killings around the country while members of the movement are harassed on a daily basis by the authorities.
Is this to say that the members of the Islamic Movement that are known for their peaceful conduct pose more threat to Nigeria than Boko Haram, bandits and other faceless groups? Or the government is not just concerned about the incessant killings going on in the country?

Finally, I would like to call on you to focus on improving the security situation in the country, not the peaceful members of the Islamic Movement that pose no threat to anybody, as their activities have never become a problem to any Nigerian.

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