In the heated conversation that ensued between Festus Keyamo; a spokesman for the ruling APC, and Dino Melaye; a serving senator and main opposition PDP member, I wish to state that the former was apt, clear and right on President Muhammadu Buhari’s call. In fact, it was a conversation that is truly enlightening and educative.
Dino Melaye’s overall contribution can be summed up to be simply playing the emotional cards. In doing so, he was as theatrical as ever. Dino only plied the emotional route without concrete reasons other than sticking to the campaign script of the PDP– latch forcefully on any available opportunity that would favourably direct public sympathy to us. In doing the aforementioned, ignore historical accounts and facts, strangle and twist logic, attach sinister colorations, and ensure all these are carried out in full blown denigrating verbal fisticuffs. That’s why he kept insisting that Keyamo is endorsing illegality with illegality. Citing example with children watching the programme. Sarcastically attacking the president and applying the draconian coloration. He argued without reason and logic, with little or no factual backing whatsoever.
Keyamo on the other hand was very unambiguous and direct but swayed when invited to the mud by his counterpart. He dished out constitutional backings to the controversial statement of the President as expected of a seasoned veteran of law. To be honest though, I did enjoyed his savage response, typical of a contemporary Twitter user!
Indeed the dictionary defines “thug” as “a cruel or vicious ruffian, robber or murderer”. The word was first recorded in 1800-10 from the Hindi word; “thag”. Fact check: does the “ballot box snatcher” fits the definition of a thug? 100%. Does the Robbery and Firearms Act applies in same regards mentioned earlier? Yes. The Robbery and Firearms Act spells out punishment for robbery as follows:
(1) Any person who commits the offence of robbery shall upon trial and conviction under this Act, be sentenced to imprisonment for not less than 21 years.
(2) If- (a) any offender mentioned in subsection (1) of this section is armed with any firearms or any offensive weapon or is in company with any person so armed; or (b) at or immediately before or immediately after the time of the robbery the said offender wounds or uses any personal violence to any person, the offender shall be liable upon conviction under this Act to be sentenced to death
Now, do ballot box snatchers commit treason? Fact check: YES. The dictionary defines treason as “The crime of betraying one’s country, especially by attempting to kill or overthrow the sovereign or government”. By snatching ballot boxes, the offenders betray the electoral process of the country and consequently attempt to overthrow a government. Nigeria’s constitution describes treasonable crime as; “whoever intends to: (a) remove otherwise than by constitutional means during his term or office– (i) The President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria; or (ii) The Governor of any state of The Federal Republic of Nigeria. The punishment accordingly states that; “whoever commits treason shall be punished with death, and whoever abets treason shall be punished with imprisonment for life or for any less term or with fine or with both
Also, under the Armed Forces of the Federation 218 (1) the powers of the President as the Commisioner-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation shall include power to determine the operational use of the Armed Forces of the Federation. By urging the security apparatuses to be ruthless in discharge of their duties, Buhari was simply exercising his powers constitutionally. The armed forces are guided on the exercise of their duties in securing and guaranteeing the sanctity of votes which has in the past been hindered by ballot box snatchers.
On the use of force in arrest (like the ballot box snatchers) as captured in Tactics B: Lecture Notes For Senior Staff Course Qualifying Examination, prepared under the direction of Chief of Army Staff (2013), the law provides that in effecting or assisting in a lawful arrest of an offender or suspect or person unlawfully at large a person (security personnel especially) could use minimum necessary force. Force may be used not only against the person who is being arrested, but also against any other person who is physically preventing or obstructing an arrest. Also, on the degree of force that may be used, the law submits that “ a person, whether a police, soldier or civilian, may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstance, for the prevention of crime and making lawful arrests.
As for those raising alarm over the misinterpreted “kill” or coloured “shoot on sight” order of the C-in-C, section (e) under the use of firearms states that; a soldier can open fire also to defend property or persons, which is his duty to guard and protect from forcible crime, which could result in serious damage to the property or injury to persons. Hence, thugs here can be fired upon if they constitute a threat to credible elections which will cause serious damage to Nigeria and her citizens.
So, like Keyamo submits with regards to snatching ballot boxes in view of the above, either ways–you DIE!!! You snatch the box with use of force—you get shot, probably die or injured in the process. If dead, better. If not, after trial death awaits you as punishment for treason. However, since truncating credible election is not an option, it is most likely that you will get killed or injured on the spot!!!
Best advice? Like the famous WWE slogan; Don’t Try It. Thou should not temper with the ballot boxes!. A word is enough for the wise. Keyamo is 100% right and clear!
Yahaya wrote this from Suleja, Niger State.