Impunity in Nigeria – Democracy Day should be renamed Deborah Day

Deborah Samuel – Stoned and Burnt to death by Schoolmates

June 12 is Democracy Day in Nigeria, but this year it also happens to be the one-month anniversary since an angry mob of un-hooded classmates savagely hunted down Deborah Samuel, having accused her of blasphemy and proceeded to mete out a death sentence even though she had not been found guilty by any court in the land. An outcry ensued online and across the nation but what is worse than the original atrocity is the Nigerian state’s failure to have done anything more than arraigning two of the more than two dozen perpetrators of this very public crime for minor offences.

If the Nigerian State is unable to find, catch, try, prosecute and sentence a bunch of people who filmed themselves and boasted online about the atrocity which they committed, then what chance do they have of finding the killers of the Pentecost Sunday worshippers at The Catholic church in Owo or indeed of the several other cases in which it is often reported that the attackers came on several motorbikes, attacked and disappeared into the night.

It is this systematic impunity seemingly being allowed to continue by the Government of Nigeria and its partner nations e.g. the United Kingdom with which it has signed a legal partnership agreement, that is likely to push Nigeria over the edge and into a civil war.

If the citizens feel that the government is taking its ‘Responsibility To Protect’ seriously and is committing to enforcing the Rule of Law and justice, people would be much less inclined to lose hope or seek to take the law into their own hands, which only spurns retaliatory actions that spiral out of control.

Freedoms should be the real dividends of democracy and the Freedom of Religion or Belief, freedom of the press, and freedom to move from state to state without fear, are amongst the things people want to see in a progressive Nigeria that is set to maximise its potential. @PSJ UK

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