Posted by News Express | 13 October 2017 | 2,622 times
The life of a man is sacred in the eyes of God, and the law. That is why laws all over the world guarantee the right to life. Extra-judicial killing implies the termination of life without authorisation of the law, and strictly outside functioning of the court of law.
The 1999 Constitution (as amended), for instance, in section 33(1) states that every individual has right to life which no one should deprive him of intentionally, except in execution of the sentence of a court, in respect of a criminal offence of which the person has been found guilty in Nigeria. Any killing, therefore, of a human being by anybody that is not in compliance with the Constitution and legal provision is extra-judicial killing, as it was not ordered by the court. In addition, section 36 sub-section 5 of the 1999 Constitution as amended provides that a person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be innocent until he is proved guilty. In essence, any termination of life which does not follow the dictates, processes and procedures of the law is extra-judicial. Therefore, the place to prove whether an offender is guilty or not, is in the court of law.
However, there are several cases which Nigerians have been murdered as a result of misunderstanding with law enforcement agents. In recent times, both print and electronic media, have reported different levels of extra-judicial killings. We can recall the Apo Six killing of five young male traders and a female returning from night party in Abuja, by two police officers in 2005. We can also recall how a jealous Air Force officer shot his girlfriend dead in her apartment, accusing her of infidelity. Such stories go on and on. Although, we must also acknowledge the fact that this issue is not limited to Nigeria; it happens even in other parts of developing nations of the world. Extra-judicial killing and death squads are common in Syria, Egypt, Central America, Pakistan, among other countries.
This is a serious crime against humanity. It is simply man’s inhumanity to man. Therefore, I am using this medium to implore the government to checkmate the activities of security operatives across the country, and it is not limited to Nigeria Police Force. We have seen soldiers brutalise civilians who are helpless.
Now, the question is: Should we continue to fold our hands and allow this evil that has eroded our society to continue? It is a collective task; government alone cannot do it. Security operatives must be from time to time trained on the ethics governing their noble profession.
This is, however, a wake-up call for every Nigerian to put all hands on deck to fight this crime against humanity.
•Adaobi Nwagbo, a Public Affairs Analyst, writes from Abuja and can be reached via email@example.com
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