Last week, we commenced this vexed issue wherein we defined who prisoners of war are? And what International Humanitarian Law and Armed Conflicts Law say about the rehabilitation of surrendered parties. Today, we shall continue and conclude our above discourse. Please, read on.
Prosecution of surrendered terrorists
As enshrined in Sections 5, 6 and 7 of the Geneva Convention, 2004, a protected prisoner of war and a protected internee can be prosecuted. This is in consonance with Article 3 of the Geneva Convention on the Treatment of Prisoners of War, 1949, which provides that:
“In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall not subject persons that are not taking part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, to…the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized people.”
Thus, under international law, subjecting these prisoners of war to trial in a court properly constituted is the right course to take.
At this stage, it is pertinent to state that, pursuant to the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war and Hague Regulations cited above, those members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect who have suspiciously laid down their arms by “surrendering” to the Federal Government of Nigeria may perhaps be classified as prisoners of war. Their weird ideology and atrocious acts against constituted authorities and the unconscionable crimes they committed or abetted in Nigeria will, however, serve as strong evidence against their not being genuine prisoners of war in the true context of the Geneva Convention. However, having “surrendered” to the Federal Government of Nigeria’s apparent “firepower” automatically makes them prisoners of war. They must, therefore, be tried for all the crimes and atrocities they have committed against the Nigerian people. The rationale for this is that all Nigerians are subject to the laws of the land and no one, however highly placed or violent, is above the laws of the land.
Merely surrendering to the Federal Government of Nigeria should not be erroneously construed as evidence of repentance on the part of the Boko Haram movement nor does it signify the unwillingness of the dreaded sect (one of the four most deadly and violent sects in the world) to further the course of their murderous engagements and pastimes.
It is common knowledge that these vampirous insurgents are said to be surrendering because their acclaimed leader has been killed. Nigerian actors in government are not good students of history. If they are, they would have known that when Mohammed Yusuf (the founder of Boko Haram) was killed, his followers dispersed only to regroup and come back stronger. Abubakar Shekau (Yusuf’s successor), who was never apprehended and tried, was to later put Nigeria in a worse position than Yusuf ever did. There is, therefore, a very strong probability that, if these surrendered terrorists are rehabilitated in the funny way the Federal Government of Nigeria has been going about it, they would come out worse than Shekau, if they are not properly tried under appropriate laws of the land.
Is rehabilation the right way to go?
Were we not suffering from collective amnesia, we should have scrutinized the antecedents of members of this deadly sect whose goals are to kill, maim, destroy established institutions and set up an Islamic republic. They made it clear in their very name, “boko haram” (education is a taboo). In pursuit of this ignoble venture, members of Boko Haram in Nigeria have adopted the cruelest war tactics of attacking noncombatants, civilians, soft civilian spots and nonviolent cantonments and whole villages. They abduct women and children at will and subject them to all manner of grievous ill treatment, forced labour, rape, torture, abuse, dehumanization, forced marriage, child marriage and unimaginable crimes against humanity. Unlike the then Niger Delta militants who were rehabilitated by President Umaru Yar’ Adua (God bless his soul), these bandits are not fighting for any perceived imbalance in the society. They are not fighting for a better society or restoration of any denied rights or privileges. Their war is fundamentally against western civilization/education, the very bedrock of the Nigerian society and all known tenets of democracy.
The insurgents are merely surrendering because they do not have any nucleus leader to galvanize them at the moment. The moment a new leader emerges and is announced, they would definitely rejoin their colleagues in the forests and resume their destruction of civilization and all institutions in Nigeria.
Rehabilitation is certainly not the right course to pursue. It is surely counter-productive. As provided in the Geneva Convention Act, the right way to go is to subject these surrendered terrorists to fair trial in properly constituted courts of law and get their just desserts.
Did President Buhari reshuffle his cabinet?
I simply guffawed when someone first drew my attention to President Buhari’s alleged much-expected cabinet reshuffle. I told him to hold his peace because it was impossible for Buhari to reshuffle his cabinet, as he was quite happy, comfortable with, and fixated with unbalanced lopsidedness of his cabinets in the well over six years of his rudderless and lacklustre administration.
Was it that President Buhari wanted power for the sake of it? Just to match Olusegun Obasanjo as having been both military and civilian President? Just to enjoy the unending perks of office, fly presidential jets and get sendoff and heralded by kakaaki-blowing trumpeters and a horde of fawning, obsequious and fawning aides? I cannot understand. Or, can you understand?
I was proved right, after all, upon reading the text of the alleged reshuffle. Buhari did not carry out any cabinet reshufflement. All he did was to merely toss out two unwanted northern ministers and immediately, but expectedly, replace them with two wanted northern serving ministers whom he disingenuously drew from existing ministries. Thus, Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Mohammed Sabo Nanono, was replaced by the Minister of Environment, Alhaji Mohammed Mahmoud Abubakar, whom he poached from the Environment Ministry. Similarly, Buhari replaced Alhaji Mamman Saleh of the Ministry of Power with Alhaji Abubakar Aliyu, the erstwhile Minister of State, Works and Housing.
As expected, I saw only Alhajis on the chessboard of his four players. I searched in vain but did not see or hear of a Revd. Tunji, Evangelist Okechukwu, Chief Ejiro, Dr. Oshozokha, Elder Tyehimba, Mosignor Effiong, Mrs. Toritsefe, Miss Ibiere, or Mr. Anoko, I didn’t see any. Or, did you?
So, what has changed, nearly two and half years down the road after Buhari cobbled together one of the most impotent, uninspiring and incompetent cabinets ever assembled in the history of Nigerian governance? Nothing; absolutely nothing at all! At best, Buhari merely put new recycled wine into old tired skins.
Mind you, fellow compatriots, if the two sacked ministers were of southern extraction, Buhari would have promptly, with immediate alacrity, replaced them with ministers from his northern geopolitical enclave. Such nepotistic, prebendalistic, cronystic and sectionalistic mindset is what has done, perhaps, the greatest damage to his colourless leadership.
My humble suggestion to Buhari, as a full-blooded Nigerian patriot (not imported marauding AK-47-wielding foreigners killing and seizing indigenes’ lands and ancestral homes), is that he should immediately dismantle the entire cabinet, rejig and reinvigorate it with some flesh blood that can lift from the sorry state of nadir his already failed government. He can of course retain some of the very few performing ones, if he so desires. They are quite few and in-between. You can simply count them on your right hand fingertips.
President Buhari has told Nigerians that he will, in due course, replace the dismissed ministers with substantive ones. Mr. President, sir, I hereby humbly challenge you to prove me wrong for once, only just for once, by appointing southerners in place of your sacked northern clique. Prove me wrong, sir; and I will applaud you from my little inconsequential corner.
Sounds and bites
There are two sides to every coin. Life itself contains not only the good, but also the bad and the ugly. Let us now explore these.
“When I was young, I was told that if I laugh at people’s condition I will be like them. But, I have been laughing at DANGOTE and nothing has changed. Or is it that I am not laughing enough?”
“A man checked into an hotel. There was a computer in his room, so he decided to send a mail to his wife. However, he accidentally typed the wrong email address, and without realizing he sent the mail to a widow who just returned from her husband’s funeral. The widow decided to check her mail, expecting condolence messages from relatives and friends. After reading the first message she fainted. The son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor and saw the computer screen which read: “To my loving wife, I know you are surprised to hear from me, they have computers here and we are allowed to send mails to loved ones. I have just been checked in. How are you and the kids? The place is really nice but am lonely here. I have made necessary arrangement for your arrival tomorrow. Expecting you darling. I can’t wait to see you…”
Thought for the week
“The rehabilitation of order as a universal principle, however, suggested at the same time that orderliness by itself is not sufficient to account for the nature of organized systems in general or for those created by man in particular.”