Research suggests that a simple definition of the abuse of power is the misuse of a position of power to take unjust advantage of individuals, organizations or governments. This has been a long time issue in Nigeria, and as a matter of fact: one of the signs of a failed society.
In order to avert the tragedy of nations going into a failed state, as well as to strengthen the unity and peace enjoyed by citizens all over the world, the United Nations (UN) enacted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), in 1948. The document has preamble and articles with different clauses somewhat centred on protecting every individual from being a victim of this menace (abuse of power) and by extension asserted the equality of man and respect for his inherent dignity and inalienable rights which include and not limited to rights to expression, assembly, dignity, protection, fair hearing and so on.
However, any nation unable to maintain the UN set standards or adhere to the UDHR/the United Nation Charter is said to be drifting swiftly into a failed state.
Subsequently, such nation risks losing control of her citizens and facilitate the entrenchment of anarchy. Perhaps, this brings about the nation’s disintegration or UN intrusion. Can we justify the current state of Nigeria as heading towards a failed society?
Fortunately, we the populace are more Nigerian than our leaders, whose selfish interest and reckless conducts have gradually placed our beloved country at the top list of most corrupted, poorest and backward nations of the world. Yet, the masses love for Nigeria, high tolerance threshold and patriotism could not allow them reciprocate the atrocious treatment received from their leaders or follow their unpatriotic and irresponsible path which is just the simple reason this country has not drifted into a complete failed state.
To buttress the aforesaid assertion, let us ponder on some of the disgusting ‘misuse of a position of power to take unjust advantage of individuals’ which has been and still experienced more in this dispensation. The ‘End SARS’ protest, which started online and later turned physical, happened to be one of the most organized and peaceful protests since the inception of this fourth (4th) republic.
Although the protest was painfully botched by state actors as alleged, who were assumed to be determined in usurping the powers (legitimate rights) of the masses, thereby committing malfeasance with impunity. Just to coarsely restrain the populace from questioning their excesses or seek for good governance which was being expressed through the exercise of their fundamental human rights as enshrined in ratified treaties.
These protesters met the shock of their lives when some unknown soldiers stormed the venue (Lekki Toll Gate) and opened fire at them not minding the patriotism exhibited with the use of the national tricolour flag being flown by them. What a gross abuse of these ratified treaties and disregard to patriotism! One may begin to wonder if this is not the kind of situation obtainable in a failed society.
Unfortunately, the perpetrators of this atrocious act are yet to be brought to book by a nation assumed to be piloted by patriotic and sane persons, whose expectations are to have sane society with patriotic citizens. I weep for my country, Nigeria!
Meanwhile, all the diplomatic and legal approaches initiated by state actors in form of fact finding committee (Judicial Panel), inaugurated in many states to address the issues that prompted the ‘End SARS’ protest and possibly compensate victims of police brutality, are yet to be implemented. Sadly, none of these state governors have been able to make public the findings of the panel till date, supposedly have been concluded and handed over to them.
Nevertheless, this ought not be the best approach in actualizing the Nigeria of our dream. A nation we all grew up to be proud of, with big thoughts of making it the giant of Africa and the best developing nation of the world, where there will be strict adherence to the rule of law by the state and non-state actors in order to facilitate the speedy actualization of our dream nation and in essence compete with the world powers in all ramifications.
The sad narrative above and other abuse of power being committed in this era, which are yet to be documented or publicized appear to be so repulsive, life threatening and happen to be the citizens motive for aiding and abetting this menace. Have we come to a point that we can no longer utilize our constitutional powers to remedy such ugly situation?
Nevertheless, the use of gun by our security operatives to extort money from the masses is a typical example of using a ‘position of power to take unjust advantage of individuals’. This unethical act is so appalling and very common in the southeast, especially in Abia state and the city of Aba precisely. A city where every security operative lobbies to be transferred to, mainly the Nigeria Police officers.
The reason for such quest is to use their position of power to amass wealth. The citizens of this region have had unimaginable, terrible experience in the hands of security agents with regards to this menace. Such experiences ranges from, gun point extortion by security operatives, maladministration and misappropriation of public funds by elected office holders etc, thereby making their situation very pitiable.
However, the citizens feel endangered to demand for accountability (good governance) within the confines of the law and perhaps unite to constructively pursue the noble cause, in order to reduce the current upsurge of misuse of power.
Above all, the truth remains that, “the salvation of the oppressed lies not in the hands of the oppressor but in the hands of the oppressed” as opined by Late Comrade Chidi Nwosu, founder of Human Rights, Justice and Peace Foundation.
In accordance with the aforesaid citation, it is high time the masses rose to their feet and legally stand against this threat to democracy, possibly learn to use the vast media opportunity in the present digital era to publicize such issues in order to attract the attention of those whose duties and obligations are meant to entrench a wholesome society.