Okorocha Saga: A Disturbing Display of the Weakness of the Nigerian State

The siege, break-in from the roof and arrest of Sen Rochas Okorocha by EFCC operatives is a telling example of the weakness of the Nigerian State.

A lawmaker refusing to honour invitation and shutting the door against law enforcement officers?

Imagine for one minute a US Senator refusing to honour an invitation from the FBI. Also imagine the Sao Paulo Police, that arrested former President Lula, standing in front of a Brazilian Senator’s house for hours and refused entry. A very unlikely scenario.

Nigeria’s public institution’s failure and descent into anarchy have their origin in elite arrogance and disrespect of rules. The political elite view political office as an elevation above the law and rules.

We violate traffic rules aided by law enforcement officers. We show little appetite for transparency and accountability both financial and administrative.

That is why a sitting lawmaker will refuse to honour the invitation of a law enforcement agency, a creation of the law he makes.

However, the EFCC should hold itself to higher standards of behaviour by showing examples. Breaking through the roof to arrest a non-violent murderer is not necessary and proportionate to the very provocative action of Sen. Okorocha.

EFCC operatives staking out for days in front of his house would have been a more civil approach that shows respect for human rights and life. Anything could have gone wrong in the course of that forceful entry leading to loss of lives – a violation of the fundamental right to life.

Our descent to anarchy has permeated all levels of our society. The man with the gun both official and non-state actor, act similarly in their exhibition of intemperance.

Unarmed Nigerians, a new majority tribe, are now at the receiving end of forced arrest, sit-at-home and kidnap by a minority tribe of armed people.

I pray that this oppressed minority do not turn to arms to resist oppression.

Time to stop elite privilege of disrespect for law and intemperate use of unnecessary force by law enforcement agencies.

Osita Chidoka
May 2022


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