LAWYER BRUTALIZED BY POLICEMAN IN ANAMBRA STATE

The thin line between despotism a and a democracy is the rule of law. The rule of law presupposes that all individuals, including those who make laws and the people entrusted with the duty of enforcing those laws, are subject to the law. In other words, the law is supreme and binding on all persons and entities.
Nigeria has experienced a series of totalitarian regimes and the numerous negative effects of those governments are still felt till date by Nigerians. The reign of terror associated with those regimes, massive lootings of the common wealth and the outrageously high levels of human rights abuses cannot be forgotten in centuries to come. In fact, Nigeria is in its unenviable shape today largely due to the corruption and mismanagement of her resources experienced during the military regimes.
Having experienced firsthand the level of degeneration that occurs in a country without rule of law, it is incumbent on us all to protect our democracy and the rule of law associated with it. We cannot afford to relapse into the highhandedness and arbitrary rule of Government and law enforcement officers of the pre-1999 Military Governments.
A young lawyer- Chijioke Ifediora Esq., who happens to be a human rights activist and the Anambra State Legal Adviser of the Democratic Peoples Congress (DPC), was on 30th September, 2017, beaten with a rifle, slapped, spat on and unlawfully detained by a policeman named Mr. David Idoyin who is attached to the Awada Police Station, Idemili North LGA, Anambra State. The young lawyer’s “offence” was advising the Policemen on duty to provide light for their checkpoint on the road they barricaded so that vehicle drivers would not be fearful of plying that route; and would know who they were from afar and not think they were armed robbers or kidnappers as it was very late in the night. The policeman told him he had wasted (killed) many boys like him and would shoot him without any repercussions. After the encounter the lawyer had to be taken to a Government Hospital where his bleeding arm was treated and his injured hip attended to.
This gradual degeneration and decay must be stopped. We cannot claim we are practicing a democracy where the rule of law is sacrosanct and policemen are allowed to go about extorting motorists and intimidating Nigerians. It is not alright for a human being to be beaten and disgraced in public by agents of the State for any reason at all.
Foremost human rights activist and lawyer, Johnmary Akachukwu Maduakolam Esq., has filed a Direct Criminal Complaint with Charge number MID/568C/17, against the policeman who brutalized Barr. Chijioke Ifediora at the Magistrate Court of Anambra State. The case was mentioned before the Honourable Court on 9th November, 2017, and expectedly the Police Officer refused to show up in Court despite being aware of the date. A bench warrant was subsequently issued for his arrest and the matter was adjourned to 24th January, 2017 for further mention of the case.
Barr. Maduakolam is of the view that all responsible citizens in the country must put their hands on the deck to ensure we steer Nigeria from the apocalyptic path it has found itself on. Human rights abuses have skyrocketed especially in southeastern Nigeria and it seems nobody is interested in defending the abused, nobody is interested in holding the Governments accountable and we are gradually retrogressing to the military era. This is unacceptable.  
Another human rights activist, Henry Chibuike Ugwu has lent his voice in speaking against the many injustices in Nigeria. He decried the way policemen collect “bail money” from suspects, the charging of estimated bills by electricity distribution companies and the corruption of political office holders. “One therefore wonders if the November, 2017 gubernatorial elections in Anambra State can ever be free, fair and devoid of law enforcement agencies participating as partisan politicians if lawyers and young DPC politicians are already being harassed and brutalized because there seems to be no rule of law in the State. This inequality of citizens before the law is saddening and is the reason why many people are suffering in the Country.” He says civil society groups and the Government must do more in ensuring all persons in Nigeria enjoy their fundamental rights.
With Mr David Idoyin’s case before the law Court, Barr. Akachukwu Maduakolam, who is also the President of Amicus Centre for Justice, a non-profit movement dedicated to enforcing the rule of law and protecting the oppressed, says he is optimistic that it would provide a platform for the Court to reemphasize the inviolable nature of the rights of its citizens and attention will be drawn to the high level of corruption, extortion and intimidation by law enforcement officers in a bid to change this narrative and save our dear Country.

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