Are We Back To Tyranny?
On Saturday, January 8, 2011, officers of the Nigerian State Security Service (SSS) briefly detained Okey Ndibe, a columnist and professor who is also a member of our editorial team, upon his arrival at the Lagos International Airport. His Nigerian and American passports were seized and he has been directed to report to the SSS director on Monday. The government has yet to declare the reason for this violation of his rights.
We hereby call on the Nigerian Government to respect its own laws, immediately release Ndibe's passports and offer him an unreserved apology. The Nigerian state should also learn the virtue of toleration of those who are courageous enough to express opinions on issues affecting their country, or those who are at the forefront of making governments accountable to the people.
Harassment of journalists has no place in a civilized society. Freedom of expression is not the gift of the government to its subjects. It is a fundamental human right. It is only in a tyranny that journalists are harassed and intimidated.
When good men are silent, evil prevails...this harassment by the SSS is most unacceptable. Intimidating the citizenry with the use of state machinery shld be condemned by all democrats.
Are we still in a democracy?
Really, what is the big deal?
Yes, Mr. Ndibe is of course not of any threat that we ordinary observers know of. It is therefore natural that our first instincts as citizens is to react in his defense. Such is our right as citizens - even to be wrong out of an abundance of natural suspicion here.
But we need to exercise a degree of balance, too. Mr. Ndibe was not \\"arrested\\" in the sense that we are familiar with when it comes to arrest of people, hand-cuffs and all. Instead, he was detained - just it has happened to many of us at airports anywhere.
I was unlucky to be pulled-aside for closer scrutiny at Philadelphia International Airport some five years ago. It was one of their random checks, and the guy did a painstaking search of ALL my belongings, checking aerosols for false-bottoms and all.
At a point I began to fear, after managing to let the thought slip in my mind that someone could have planted something in my belongs, using me as an 'ignorant' mule. The fellow did his job, and warmly apologized for wasting my time and I was on my way.
I think that is all that Mr. Ndibe has gone through here - well, besides his seized passports which I suspect will be handed back to him on Monday. The whole thing has so far been professional and 'democratic' - very unlike the terrible days of the zombies.
I speak of the days when it was all \\"Army Ah-Ran-Gee-Ment\\", where Ndibe would have simply been picked-up by the goons [whom the likes of Tonsoyo and Ewuro are calling for their return] and won't be seen until we hear that he is in a prison in Bauchi.
Tyranny is not back and NVS should quit the sensationalist patronage of the Ndibe situation, please. Heck, the Jonathan Administration has been mild-handed for the most part - so much so that this same NVS had to issue a \\"standpoint\\" to that effect last week.
Let us weigh the situation and await information before we go to town issuing [overtly] sensationalist press-releases. We need to be vigilant, no doubt, but we need to adopt circumspection in the practice of our vigilance. Let us quit this military mentality.
Even Mr. Ndibe isn't protesting as of yet. But the Nigeria Village Square has already released a statement that is insinuating tyranny. When tyranny comes, what would NVS release? A statement on Jonathan's Armageddon? Oh please let's hear word, abeg.
Couldn't be said any better...I know this conjures up heart-rending memories of the past, but having a \"little faith\" will inspire the exercise of patience; so let's wait and see.
It's nice to tread softly at this moment until Okey's perceived offence is defined. The nation's security apparatus has its spokesperson. Let's keep our ears constantly ajar in order to receive from him or her allegations made against Ndibe, if any.
It is true that he was "arrested" and briefly detained. But the reason for his detention was not made open. It falls within the realm of speculation. In my village square, not NVS when elders want to pass judgement they must hear from both sides.
Monday will spill the beans after his visit to their HQ. It is good that they let him go and to report to them on Monday than to keep him in a dingy cell where the droning of anopheles mosquitoes and their vicious bites would steal his sleep away.
THOSE WHO RATIONALIZE TYRANNY WHILE STICKING THEIR HEADS IN THE SAND
It is curious how Auspicious has, in his usual knee-jerk manner, jumped to the defense of the Jonathan regime in the matter of its scandalous detention, yes, DETENTION, of Ndibe. This guy even has the temerity to declare that Jonathan's Gestapo-aided despotism is not a tyranny. At any rate, it is those who have been living in denial, due to some obscure reasons, that are only now ''realizing'' that Nigeria has been under an insecure, schizophrenic bandit regime for some time now.
I suggest a reading of some of my writings. This should help those who have elected to hide in a dubious paradise regarding a very dangerous and sectarian Jonathan and his clueless sinecure. Let them take a look at the on-going primaries within the PDP and the grim trail of corpses they are leaving behind. This is apart from the fact that Jonathan's desperation has meant that the so-called security forces and other governmental structures are systematically being used as ready tools for blackmail and intimidation against political opponents and perceived enemies in general.
And this also:
You have a right, Mr.OneNaija, NOT ONLY to hold an opinion that is at variance with mine, BUT you also have a right to criticize my opinion based on whatever justification you can find to do so.
The right that you do NOT have is the right to label me or make derogatory caricatures of me. As you are probably aware, I can give as much as I can take in that department until either of us tires of it.
I however choose to be mature here for the sake of the reading audience, never mind how tempting it is to respond to your rather unfortunate allusions to ostriches-in-denial and knee-jerk reactions.
There is nothing ostrichy about saying we should hold our fire until such a time comes when we have detailed info about the event under discourse here. Neither is anything knee-jerky about it either.
It would be different were Mr. Ndibe still in jail - or, if he releases a rather loud statement of protestation from an actual detention. But he is currently free, and the process has so far been civil.
The insinuation of \\"tyranny\\" is therefore exaggerated. We are all educated people, and many of us are qualified enough to address this event in a press release without resorting to exaggerating the situation.
And no, such a message will not lose its potency either - unless the recipients are not intelligent enough to get the import. I don't begrudge us from defending our freedoms; we just need to be smarter about it.
Do you actually believe that what Ndibe is going through is comparable to what you went through at an American airport as described in your very first post here? Can't you distinguish between purely administrative procedure (as in your case) and politically motivated and panicky antics (as is apparently the case involving Ndibe in Nigeria)? If the issue of Ndibe's detention, no matter how brief. were a purely administrative one, or one not informed by darkly unwholesome motives, it would have been settled at the Lagos airport without a recourse to nebulous hedging and obfuscation on the part of the SSS. At the very least, Ndibe would have been told why he was detained for about three hours by the SSS.
So, should we clap and be contented that the SSS was just doing its job if on Monday it releases Ndibe's passports to him and lets him go without any cogent explanation as to why he was subjected to such indignity? Listen, governments are ultimately judged by their track record. And it is individual events like the scandal we are discussing here that add up to give an informed picture of any regime. In the case of the current Jonathan administration, the verdict is one of a tyrannical configuration led by a desperate, conniving potentate who is afraid of his own shadow ( Please do a reading of my two essays at the links provided in my last post here).
And one "Kaparak" is so happy.
There is nothing funny or having kneejerky reaction about being detained or told to wait for three hours. If this is purely administrative matter, it shouldn't take that long to sort out. It may have nothing to do with Jonathan's involvement, but it all points to tyranny nonetheless, whether Jonathan was involved or not.
Some people are not comfortable with Ndibe's thoughts and writings, and their forks are out to gorge him. You wonder what they have in stock for others like Sowore Omoyele. I'm sure they are snooping around the globe for him, let alone in this banana republic.
I am not privy to anything he went through and I doubt that you are as well.
But if it is anything to go by, Mr. Ndibe himself has stated that the men who invited him over for a brief chat were relatively courteous - or something like that.
As much as the detention is annoying and, perhaps stupid, it is not out of place for us to exercise a tiny bit of patience till after the other end of the 'chat' with the SSS DG tommorow.
It is true that many of us live with the memories of the bitter past; but it is only the traumatized who sees a flicker and scream \"fire!\" There is an African proverb which says: \"When a man has been bitten by a snake, he flees at the site of a worm.\" Could this be a worm that we are calling a snake? Shouldn't we exercise patience and wait to see how this pans out before resorting to labeling and equating this event with historical antecedents?????????