On the DSS and the abduction of Nigeria’s supreme court justices


It is now crystal clear that we are living under the jackboots. They were abducted in Gestapo like manner, like fugitives hiding from the law. Not even under Abacha were things done this brazenly. The manner of their abduction reminds one of American marines abducting terrorists in Afghanistan to face justice. Buhari’s Gestapo (DSS) have become terrorists who operate above the law. Nigeria is now a banana republic.

These barbaric actions would equally have unintended consequences. If Supreme Court justices can be abducted in the middle of the night on allegations of corruption, then, who is safe in this country. Which investors would come into a country whose authorities routinely demolish the foundation of the rule of law. When the judiciary is intimidated and terrorised, the foundation of civil and economic relationships is destroyed, as uncertainty and capriciousness rule the land.

Let nobody deceive himself that the president might not know about this. Mamman Daura would not take these crassly audacious steps without clearance from the man who brought him from retirement to head the DSS. Judges are not subject to oversight of the executive. The judiciary is an independent arm of government. It has its own disciplinary institutions and procedures. If a judge is corrupt, there are laid down procedure for removing such a judge from office.

Buhari is showing us that a president can be as powerful as he wants. He still sees himself in the mould of a military dictator. So many people missed the point about Dasuki. Buhari got it wrong by disobeying court orders granting Dasuki bail. Since we tolerated Buhari over Dasuki, it was a matter of time before he pushes the boundary again. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It is certain now that Buhari will use the DSS to crush any political opponents or dissidents (including those who brought him to power who may be thinking of turning against him).

Sadly, we have a senior lawyer as Vice President – a part and parcel of this authoritarian regime. I am wondering whether he buys into the gibberish coming from the DSS as justification for carrying out these dastardly acts. It is always surprising how being in the corridors of power changes people. If anybody had hinted at something like this before now, I would have certainly asserted that it is not possible, with Professor Osibajo being the Vice President.

To borrow the words of Winston Churchill, an iron curtain has descended over Nigeria. Goodnight democracy. Welcome autocracy.

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