On March 29 this year somewhere in Kogi State (Okenne and Lokoja) an innocuous post on Facebook by one Miss Elizabeth Oyeniyi against the current Commissioner of Water Resources, Abdulmumuni Danga, had made national headlines online for its cruelty and abuse of power; abuse of privilege and how not to hold public office. Danga presents us lately with a new face of oppression and terrorism incompatible with democratic societies. But since our democracy is defective anything can happen and heavens would not fall!
According to Elizabeth recounting her ordeal: “I saw a post by a local comedian of the commissioner sharing food and his family are complaining that he doesn’t attend to them, that was why I made the post…..I made a post about the commissioner…… After making the post, they started attacking me on social media and he sent some guys to come and get me….On getting to me, they flogged me….He flogged me himself, stripped me naked and made a video of me threatening to post it when next I make any public comment about it.”
And continuing she said: “They also made me apologise that what I said about him was not true under duress. I had to do so because they were all over me….The commissioner also smashed my phone and destroyed it totally, saying that maybe I might have been recording what was happening or I have been recording before getting there…He did not release me and took me to a hotel nearby. Over the night, he made advances and raped me.”
Watching her bruised and battered body on a video clip online I was scandalized. I felt revolted by such crude and rude display of power, such sexual abuse and battering. How on earth could Danga descend so low? In what country did he think he was living by commandeering such brutality against a lady just for telling him the right thing for him to do for his suffering siblings? What was Danga doing, by the way, before joining government in his state? A kidnapper? Rapist or thug?
Following the uproar that greeted the report by ‘Sahara-Reporters’ the Kogi State government led by Governor Yahaya Bello had issued a statement denouncing such arbitrary behaviour and instituting an investigation promising to deal with whoever were involved in the scandal.
In a statement, Commissioner for Information and Communication in the ‘Dino-saur’ state, Kingsley Fanwo, said Governor Bello would not allow intimidation and oppression of citizens of the state to prevail hence his rapid reaction. The Governor he said “being an avowed advocate of fundamental human rights, is shocked by these allegations and will not allow them go without being investigated.”
Commissioner Fanwo ended the statement by declaring that “We give our word that if these allegations are proven, everyone found culpable will be brought to justice”. A day or two later the Commissioner was summarily suspended by Governor Bello pending the conclusion of ‘accelerated’ investigation into the case. Good step in the right direction!
However, we contend that the Kogi state Governor or government did not go far enough in his or their initial action or reaction against Commissioner Danga in this open abuse of power by an executive thug. Governor Bello, himself a baggage of thuggish tendencies and political hubris, ought to have suspended the ‘animal’ immediately at best or at worst sacked him outright to pave way for independent investigation and justice.
Commissioner Danga committed multiple offences by forcefully taking the lady away, brutalising her and above all, raping her! By sexually violating her Danga demonstrated how not to hold public office. He showed himself as an executive sexual predator on the prowl. By ordering his goons to go after her without involving the police he abused his powers.
These kind of things happen on a daily basis in Nigeria– a nation noted notoriously globally for lawlessness and abuse of power by the privileged elite. But allowing such impunity to stand is tantamount to acquiescing to evil. Danga must pay for his ‘crimes’. And the boys he used to intimidate and molest Elizabeth must all be sent to the judicial gallows.
But why such acts of injustice prevail in our abused and mismanaged country is that examples are not always made to serve as deterrent to other executive fools masquerading as servants of the people. If Commissioner Danga were to be sent to jail other big men would sit up and think twice before engaging in such dehumanising display of power.
If it is true that Danga was neglecting his immediate family members by starving them or depriving them of his assistance, materially or financially, while playing munificence outside then he is culpable of negligence for which calling him out in the public square was called for. Charity must begin at home of course! It does not amount to criminal offense doing so.
The best he could have done under the circumstance if he felt embarrassed or maligned was for him to follow due process by filing for defamation or getting the police to arrest or prosecute citizen Elizabeth. Taking the laws into his hands as he did must be condemned strongly no matter how he felt. He was not appointed a Commissioner to arrest, prosecute and judge citizens but to provide democracy dividends to the populace.
Our own ‘Queen’ Elizabeth deserves justice and justice she must get! Nothing less is expected in Queen Elizabeth’s England! Danga and his gang must not be allowed to feel any sense of living above the laws of the land. Lady Elizabeth must be made to feel satisfied that her attackers never went away with their crimes.
‘Queen’ Elizabeth Oyeniyi could be anyone’s mother, wife, sister, niece or aunt. She deserves to be defended against acts of intimidation or torture. In a democracy her right to free speech is constitutionally guaranteed. For us, therefore, resisting tyranny or tyrannical attitudes by the glorified victims of the big-man syndrome Nigeriana constitutes obedience to God. God owns all powers!
In the book of Ecclesiastes 10:8 we are admonished that “if judgement against evil is not punished speedily, the hearts of men are set to do it”. Let Commissioner Abdulmumuni Danga be punished speedily and accordingly lest our hearts got set to do it!