The “Deportation” of Ndigbo and the Fashola, we do not know. By Nkannebe Raymond

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Raymond Nkannebe
Nkannebe Raymond is a Lawyer and an essayist with addictive interest in Nigerian and African politics. Believing in the power of the pen, he intends to contribute to governance through articles and commentaries that serve to keep government on their foot. He hopes to publish a collection of his essays soon, and possibly delve into legal fiction as God permits him.

I have never been to Lagos literarily but I once found myself accidentally on its lands sometime in 2008. I had wanted travelling from Ibadan to Kano but as providence would have it, I couldn’t get a direct bus to Kano. “What shall the son of man do”? I thought. Finally, I travelled from Ibadan to Eko, before boarding the “young shall grow” motors travelling northwards to Kano. So I should say I only had a glimpse of Fashola’s pride- Lagos state.
I should have finally been to Lagos after haven read a lot and travelled on the pages of newspapers to Lagos a fortnight ago for a “Book Talk” at the National Library complex but due to some circumstances beyond by immediate control, I was unavoidably absent from the workshop. However, I hope to be at the upcoming October 1st event on same topic but here am I, hoping that I don’t get rounded up, detained in some rehabilitation centre and finally dumped somewhere around Upper-Iweka by the ‘Operation Kick against Indiscipline’ (KAI) officials on governor Babatunde Raji Fashola’s behest.
Of course one need not be told that his Excellency, the executive governor of Lagos state has been in the news lately for the ‘deportation’ but which I prefer to call repatriation of some 67 Ndigbos to the famous Upper-Iweka in Onitsha, Anambra state after haven been detained at so-called ‘rehabilitation’ centers in Ikorodu and Magidun areas of Lagos where they no doubt, were subjected to degrading human treatment in every sense of the word at the hands of their “host” before being packed in four busses, some say a truck and transported back to the east to the infringement of their Fundamental Human Rights.
Even more worrisome, is the fact that this is not the first time the Lagos state government is involved in this inglorious act. It is a precedent that has been set by the Fashola-led Lagos state. It should be remembered that same Fashola on the 18th of September, 2012 was also in the news for the repatriation of over 100 beggars packed in a truck like refugees and dumped in the same Anambra state. And when the people’s governor of Anambra state, his Excellency, Dr. Peter Obi waded into the matter, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria, denied any knowledge of such and Nigerians, forgetful as we are, soon allowed that to pass without any confrontation. Also in the days when Alao Akala, spearheaded events at the government house in Oyo state, same BRF had the effrontery of deporting a number of beggars and dumped them at the state capital in Ibadan with little or no altercation and now, only a week ago, the man whose reputation as one of Nigeria’s finest state executive in this democratic dispensation is beginning to wane, also toed his already precedented footsteps in the guise of turning Lagos into a mega city when he saw to the repatriation of all those 67 Igbo’s.
Now, this act just as is expected, has led too many concerned citizens and Human Right activists into questioning why Fashola despite being a “learned” man as his profession would have us understand okay the ‘deportation’ of all those Igbo’s to the erosion of their constitutional right of citizenship and the denial of their civil liberties in a democratic state.
What makes Fashola to be so high-headed to the extent that he has lost his nous into flagrantly violating the civil right of citizens their indigene and socio-economic status notwithstanding? When has Igbo’s or members of other tribes once deported become aliens in their father land? And furthermore, when did Anambra State in all her glory become the dumping ground for a people whom Fashola and his vassals see as a nuisance? These and many more are questions begging for answers which only Fashola can answer.
I have had recourse to study the response of the ACN-led Lagos State government in justification of their position and in all sincerity, it is merely a response deluged with arguments that cannot hold water. What happened to the constitution which is supposed to be the pedestal upon which Fashola’s justification could have thrived? To the best of my knowledge, there is nowhere in the constitution where the Law gives the government of any state the power to ‘assemble’ what Fashola and his cohorts called, “social miscreants”, detain them in some fictitious camps and finally dump them in their country-homes at the late hours of the night exposed to all manners and mannerisms of mischief. And if there is anything as such in our statute books, Fashola in all his ‘intelligence’ should let us know. When a law officer who claims to be learned eschews such a character, it puts a question mark to his astuteness and leaves people like me wondering when reasoning will be allowed to prevail in the minds of those who are adamant to the dictates of reasoning. Let it be said- Fashola and his team goofed this time but thank God we are beginning to know the other impious side of him.
Not only did Fashola wobble socially and morally, he also flawed constitutionally and if he has always gotten away with it in the past, only time will tell if he will go unscathed this time. Section 34(1) of the constitution with “The Right of Personal Liberty” as its marginal clause is clearly unambiguous at least in the heads of whose faculty of reasoning is still sane. It reads:
“Every individual is entitled to the dignity of his person and accordingly- No person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment”
Fashola may want to tell us how the over two months detention of those he called “social miscreants” under ‘harsh’ conditions and their later being dumped under the notorious Upper-Iweka bridge at about 2:30 am is not a locus-classicus of inhuman/degrading treatment in contravention of the spirit and character of the above section.
Secondly, section 35(1) is also understandable and it reads:
“Every person shall be entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of such liberty, save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure permitted by Law”. The act(s) for which the deportees were repatriated in no way constitute a proviso to the above section except Fashola and his minions in their intelligence, bravado and pomposity will have us understand.
Thirdly, section 41(1) of our ground norm, puts the icing on the cake and reads:
“Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout the federation and to reside in any part thereof, and no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereto or exit therefrom”.
A reading together of the forgoing sections, points to the fact and brings to the fore that Fashola’s actions falls out of place. It is a travesty of justice and an aberration of our ‘sacred’ constitutional provisions which leaves too many a Nigerian agitated as to whether Fashola and his ACN-led government are now above the Law. Have they allowed themselves to be corrupted absolutely by power in the words of Jean Bowden? Nigerians are waiting for answers.
However it may be looked at, fashola’s act is ultra-vires, Null and void. It is an insult to the entire Igbo race and even though members of other ethnic group fall victim, the status-quo won’t change. It should not be seen as an Ndigbo affair or a situation where ethnic jingoists are trying to make mountains out of molehills. That obviously, will be an optical illusion and those suffering from that, must forthwith, correct that ocular impairment. This is about Nigeria, it is about integration- this is about the dreams of our heroes past that our unity in diversity on no grounds should be bargained. The fashola’s of this world, need to be made aware of the strife such acts could flare up, were it in some other climes. Igbo’s may be the victim today but Onye ma Echi? Loosely-who knows who will be the victim tomorrow?
If fashola wants to build a mega and utopian city; good and fine, nobody has a problem with that. Who doesn’t want a better society? Be that as it may, people should be careful that they do not fail to find the balance between passion for change and infringing upon the right of the next man. They should be careful not to lose four, running after eight. The end might end up not justifying the means.
I have no ill-will against fashola’s ‘deportation’ of Igbo’s per se. I am rather irked by the modus operandi which the state government explored and many people share my sentiment and am quite sure even the said victims too. Our ox is gored over the in- humane manner in which the act was orchestrated. Detaining group of persons for a long period of time under ‘harsh’ conditions and transporting them to have them dumped on the street at such time of the night, to say the least, is the height of wickedness and man’s inhumanity to man. Let a spade be called a spade except Fashola will rather have his wards pass through such harrowing experience.
Better means should have been devised. The Anambra state government should have been put on notice however long it may take. Or perhaps driving them straight to the government house Awka to be properly reconciled with their loved ones. It would have spoken volume of how wise and considerate Fashola’s government is. Is that how a government re-settles her citizens? Were they handed stipends and food supplies to enable them locate their loved ones? That is not to be the case. Fashola doesn’t care hence they are out of Lagos. It is the height of callousness and Fashola owes an apology to his “victims” in particular and Ndigbo in general as Orji Uzor Kalu has canvassed.
Finally, our beauty they say lies in our diversity. The deportation or repatriation of people of one ethnic group or the other is diametrically opposed to the tenets and objectives of this federation. We cannot allow people like Fashola to put a knife in the things that hold us together whether directly or indirectly. Let Fashola be guided. Eko O Ni Baje!
The writer is a Law student and tweets as @yung_silky
Nkannebe_raymond@yahoo.co.uk

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7 COMMENTS

  1. I keep on saying it, that we have exerted so much energy attacking GEJ and the Federal Government to the extent that we have given the Governors so much latitude. This is what you get when a person in authority is not checked. Most of the so called achievements of our Governors are a mere creation of the media, what ever any leader does that does not put food, give shelter and provide security to the citizens no matter how small the population affected is a total failure.

    Nice one bro!

    • gud talk go to all lagos state secondary school and take a percentage of ndi gbo enjoying free education is they a not more than the lagosians were dey deported? pls face fact and 4get sentiment pls.

  2. We are so focused on the larger evil (federal govt) that we deliberately ignore that small evil those around us are doing, this is an infringement on the rights of Nigerians in Nigeria but nobody is talking because its by an ACN governor. Thank you for writing about it

  3. I just have only few questions to ask. If Anambra State had been something to write home about, do you think Fashiola would have seen anybody to deport in the first place? What stops Mr Peter Obi from making Anambra State a mega city like Lagos? Why have the Ibos fled their homeland to find solace in another man’s land? The truth is not far fetched. Anambra State is not working because of its bad leadership and the people have no choice than to be involved in developing other states. A scourge Late Odumegwu Ojukwu preached until his death. It is quite unfortunate that the writer of the above article does not live in Lagos. He wouldn’t have embarked on this his full page masturbation. All the primary and secondary schools in Lagos are filled up with Anambrarians because of a one year strike that the said Mr Peter Obi neglected. Yet you guys have the audacity to question a man who did what your foolish governor could not do. Iam an Ibo of Anambra origin and i thank God for Babatunde Raji Fashiola. Your so called governor Mr Peter Obi had better start working because if Nigeria divides or another war breaks out, Ibos will definitely become refugees in their own land. Borno , Yobe, Platue, Bauchi, Zamfara, Kano States are my living witness (Boko Haram insurgency). I rest my pen.

    • OLIVET u are a big fool! U are a disgrace to Ibo race, to ur family and to the breast that fed u. If I should meet someone like u I’ll make u regret the day u wrote nonsense about Anambra, Ibo and Peter Obi the best gov so far! Ur fellow human beings were given inhuman treatment instead of followng due process of law and u are here showing ur stupidity and lack of home training. Call a spade a spade! I’m Yoruba but I must say that what Fashola did is bad, apalling and unbecoming of a Lawyer for that matter. Even if he has been treating Ibos well

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