LEGAL IDEAS FORUM

I WANT TO BE ARRESTED:TRUTH IS NOT HATE SPEECH-A LETTER TO NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT. (Special edition) independence day publications.

Author:  CHUKWUMA JAMES J.


Introduction:this is a very abstract caption for this work which I published today October 1st 2017 as regards the most pertinent issue in Nigeria presently. The rationale behind choosing this caption for my work today is because we live in an era, where the truth is regarded as a “HATE SPEECH”,an era that elders find it difficult to tell the truth, an era whereIn  elders have their sense of reasoning beclouded by sentiment, an era that a brother kills or betrays his own brother for political positions or for his palm to be caressed by those in power.

This caption is only to tell them that I am not going to stop telling the truth, as long as I can still talk but if they find it uncomfortable, and thinks my writeup amounts to a hate speech I only have one thing to say to them “I WANT TO BE ARRESTED “.

I have given my reasons for choosing my caption now I will proceed to the major reason why I wrote this article today. Today in Nigeria the most pertinent issue is the issue of the self determination by the IPOB MEMBERS, the people of the defunct Eastern region . A lot has been said for and against the agitations and I wish to add my voice to the litany that has spoken.

Believing in what ‘Dan Brown’  said that the hottest part of hell will be reserved for those that remain indifferent in the time of moral crisis. I at this juncture must say the naked truth which is that the igbos has been marginalized in Nigeria, one needs not  the confirmation of a prophet before accepting that fact because RES IPSA LOQUITUR (the facts speaks for themselves). A lot has been done to the Igbos but I will like to focus on this government, this is because I wish only to blame them for their flaws and not that of others. The president of Nigeria after been elected into office, made a trip to the USA after which he was interviewed on how he wanted to carry the burden now on his shoulders as the Nigerian president,he answered that he will not give equal attention to those who gave him 95% of their votes and those who gave him 5% of their votes.

The president of Nigeria whose primary duty is to maintain peace and order in the country in his first interview as a president showed he is still a military head of state and not a democrat he was branded before the elections. How can the president be making such comments? Has now voting for another person become a yard stick for determining those to marginalize?

Furthermore the president when selecting his cabinet allowed his threats reflect in the choice of cabinet he made with 92% for the north  5% for the west and 2% for the south and east what a marginalization. 

The president also gave deaf issues to the pleadings of the people of this part of the counrty(East and South) to act against the Fulani herdsmen that has invaded, killed their children, sacked them from their communities and raped their wives and daughters,till today nothing has been done about this issue instead a bill was instituted in the National Assembly that a provision of graving grounds be made by each states.

Mr. President your subject whom you swore to protect are dying and you are interested on the welfare of cattles, are cattles more important than human lives?. This herdsmen pass through various communities with guns and matchets killing,maiming and sacking people from their communities,Does it mean there are no security personnel in these communities? or are they are blind? are guns and matches  now what cattle are controlled with? 

The same president who refused to bring the Fulani herdsmen to book, or taking any measure against their menace has sent out the military on those protesting peacefully in Aba, seeking a refredum to become independent. To crown it all they were declared terrorists by the same government that refused to act against the Fulani herdsmen menace,what a marginalization?  If the rationale for calling for grazing lands through out Nigeria is to maintain peace and order, and not to kill any Nigeria why has the IPOB members not been called for a round table meeting but instead the military sent on them?  What else if not marginalization.

The president claimed that Fulani herdsmen are criminals while IPOB members were terrorists, now my question is who is a terrorist? a man who protests peacefully or another who invades people’s community, sack them, kill their children, rape their wives and daughters? It is now clear to the blind and audible to the deaf like the Biblical  ‘mene mene tekel Upharsin’ that the igbos are been marginalized in Nigeria.

Is it not badwill and wickedness that that you claim to have no need of a particular people and still refuse to let them go?  How can you collect the only biscuit a hungry child has, eat it all alone and at the same time force the child not to cry?  pure marginalization I must say.

Furthermore the political vegetables in the various government houses in eastern Nigeria has proscribed IPOB without even thinking of what best to do to stop military intervention in their various states. The declaration of IPOB as a terrorist group has been met by oppositions in other countries like England, France and USA. The same man that says that an attack against Bokoharam is an agenda against the North, is now abusing the powers given to him under section 130(2) of the 1999 constitution to command the Armed Forces and this has resulted in the loss of lives and properties. I want to ask if the attack on Bokoharm is an agenda against the North what is the attack on IPOB? what sort of marginalization is this? so IPOB is a terrorist group? then what are the Fulani herdsmen? a charity organization? Mr. president are terrorists not criminals?  why call them criminals and IPOB terrorists? what a marginalization?

Moreover a lot of people has been challenging the legality of the activities of IPOB, claiming it has no such rights under the law,but I put it to you that all the activities of IPOB are within the ambits of the law. Every Nigerian has a freedom of expression under Section 38(1) of the 1999 constitution, they have the right to voice out that they are been marginalized and to criticise the government constructively. Also under section 40 of the 1999 constitution it guarantees right to peaceful assembly and association and this is what was clearly exercised by IPOB members.

The aforementioned rights were affirmed by the court of appeal in ANPP V IGP, it’s also obvious that the IPOB members are acting within the ambits of the law having been given such rights by the constitution which is the supreme law of the land as stated under Section 1(3) of the 1999 constitution. I will at this juncture ask those who said that activities of IPOB are illegal to state the laws that rendered them illegal and also explain to me how those laws are not subject to the constitution. 

Furthermore, the government has made a lot of mistakes against the IPOB members, a clear example is the arrest of Nnamdi Kanu which gave the movement popularity and international recognition. Sending the soldiers to Aba on Operation Python Dance, was a very bad decision taken by the government because there was no recorded case of break down of law which was above the control of the police to warrant sending the military. The government has claimed that it sent the military to go against kidnapping and other crimes in Aba, I have this question to ask them. so all the people killed in Aba and those asked to drink dirty mud waters and to slap themselves were criminals? Does the military have right to punish a criminal before or even after the judgement of a court?  it is obvious that the government has made a lot of mistakes against the IPOB member but I will also say that IPOB has made two mistakes which are, being unable to win over the elites in the society and making unwarranted speeches.


In conclusion, irrespective of all these things that has happened, all hope is not lost yet there are still things we can do again and make Nigeria great which if we don’t do Nigeria will never be great again.viz:

1.Restructuring Nigeria: I think before Nigeria gets better again there must be a booming economy and the feelings of injustice and marginalization bashed. The only way to achieve such is to restructure Nigeria and allow every region harness her minerals, every state in Nigeria has at least four mineral resources and this minerals if Nigeria is restructured will be tapped and combined with science and technology, agriculture, external trade and tourism.

Then there will be competitions amongst the states and the economy will start booming again. This will reduce corruption as so many state governors will no longer depend on the funds from Abuja to embezzle and if he doesn’t work hard, there will be nothing for him, it is amazing that the same party that preached restructuring during it’s campaign has rejected any call to restructure the country and labelled those requesting for restructuring as opportunists.

I will only say one thing in consonance with what ‘Atiku Abubakar’ said that “all who oppose restructuring are lazy and afraid that they might be overtaken by events if Nigeria is restructured”. I put it to you that if Nigeria is restructured,  Nigeria will be great again under three or four years. if Nigeria will not be restructured I think the IPOB members should be allowed to go because the only thing now is that they will continue to be marginalized.


2.Ammendment of the constitution: The constitution which we are presently using has expired, it has stopped reflecting the views and longings of the people. A modern and improved  constitution is needed and salient provisions, like a six year single term for the president rotated amongst the six geopolitical zones should be introduced so that nobody feels marginalized, the indivisibility clause presently in section 2 (1)of the 1999 constitution should be repealed, there should be right to self determination and certain powers of political office holders should be reduced like that of the Attorney General under section 211 of the 1999 constitution to stop any criminal proceeding before judgement is given.

if the constitution is amended to meet the longings of Nigeria it will aid Nigeria to become better and greater again.


3.Strict application of the rule of Law: The amendment of the constitution does not end it all. the dictates of the constitution should be followed strictly without fear or favor everybody should be treated equally,favoured equally as well as punished equally.
I have only but told the truth and it is obvious but if they think what I wrote amounts to a hate speech I have one thing to say “I WANT TO BE ARRESTED “.

I AM CHUKWUMA JAMES J. 
[email protected] 
08131081214.

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