By Richard Murphy
An American international gospel evangelist, Rev. John MacArthur recently ruminated; “It is confusing to watch people demanding justice by violating laws.” There seems to be a conflict of law tormenting Nigeria’s human rights activists over the bloodily raging #EnSARS protests in Nigeria.
Leading the pack of rights activists is a lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN. He is vociferous in threats to drag the Chief of Army Staff( COAS) Lt. Gen. TY Buratai to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over watery claims that soldiers deployed to assist civil security restore sanity have indulged in rights abuses..
It is understandable that citizens are entitled to enormous rights under democratic Governments. But what must be clearly understood is also the exercise of these rights within the armbit of the same laws. It’s a reciprocal mutuality. That’s why the ponder of Rev. MacArthur is instructive.
It’s naive and senseless to breach laws in the guise of demanding justice. This tendency leaves the lawbreaker vulnerable to some unsavory treatment by the same laws.
Falana and his brigades of activists have every information long before now on the abused #EndSARS protests. It is not controvertible that these are no longer peaceful protests as insured by democratic tenets; but bloodily violent riots with all it’s gores and nasty repercussions.
By this development, the state has the sacred obligation to maintain public law and order, as well as protect the rights of law abiding citizens. Deployment of soldiers occurs when the gravity of public expressions of discontent becomes subversive and attempting to compromise national security as it is glaring over #EndSARS protests for days now.
Strangely, Falana and his merchantile activists are less concerned about the brazen and violent violation of the human rights of other Nigerians by the protesters. The so-called activists are more concerned about the rights of the lawbreakers and bloodsuckers in the guise of sticking to stipulations of the law.
But no action from Falana on these half-hearted human rights campaigns shudders anybody again because his antecedents are now known. He neither does it for philanthropic or humanitarian reasons.
The rights lawyer has abused the culture of human rights activism so thoroughly. It is expected because Falana understands the personal gains on expending his energies on this investment which richly services his bank accounts.
If there is anyone, anywhere in the world who understands conflict as a business, it must be Femi Falana, a self-styled human rights activist. Therefore, if there are no human rights issues in the country, he allegedly invents one once a crisis occurs through twisted narrations and fabricated tales.
He has the knack. Falana follows his contrived tales on alleged humans rights violations by making a hell of noise until it attracts the attention of the international community.
And soldiers are Falana’s favourite victims of his antics on human rights. The lawyer’s deep-seated hatred for the Nigerian Army has morphed into phobia. Falana is aware the Nigerian Army knows he conspires with foreign sponsors to undermine security in Nigeria. So, he has morbid fear of the Army.
Therefore, he uses the instrument of human rights at his disposal and credentials as lawyer to appear bold or fight back the Army by fruitlessly trying the trick of intimidation. But a soldier is never intimidated or coward.
And Falana’s trade in human rights is allegedly motivated by the handsome USDollars some foreign philanthropists and organisations have invested in battling violated human rights of people globally. But there are key conditions which must be met to drew assistance from the juicy funds set by these organizations for the human rights project.
A basic criteria for sponsors of human rights projects is the established existence of a conflict between the state and the citizens. Happily for Falana and soulmates, there are a galore of insecurities in Nigeria, which always dwarfs the capacity of civil security to handle. And the Armed Forces must intervene.
A fertile ground is automatically laid for Falana to ply his trade. He scouts for ways to falsely implicate soldiers over allegations of human rights.
Once this happens, his clients who are usually foreign-based begin to pay for his services in USDollars. No wonder himself and son were very vocal in instigatng the #EndSARS protests that eventually led to the killing of innocent Nigerians and massive destruction of properties, in addition to general breakdown of law and order in some states.
With fake news merchants on the prowl in town and vibrant social media activists claiming that the Army was shooting protesters in Lekki, Falana immediately activated his sense of business.
The faulty and spurious claims on soldiers were apt for Falana to grant interviews and spit fire over alleged human rights violations baselessly.
But Falana’s deception is unmasked by Nigerians. He cannot intimidate the Nigerian Military who are out to restore and safeguard public security sanity. Soldiers have been engaged in countless Internal Security (IS) in the country. They have always performed these special assignments with exceptional professionalism and patriotism. All Nigerians know Falana and his self-acclaimed gang of human rights activists better now.
Falana’s smear campaigns against soldiers in the line of duty on the #EndSARS violent protests are another puerile and worthless attempt. Let him continue to embolden subversive elements; but think it is feasible to make soldiers false culprits.
Lawyer Falana should take counsel from the COAS’s reaction to his tissue of lies and threats; Gen. Buratai has remained unmoved and resolute in the defence of Nigeria against subversive elements.
His words; “Criminal elements are threatening us with travel ban but we are not worried because we must remain in this country to make it better. The NA (Nigerian Army) has been aware of the grand design by the sponsors of the protests to draw it into the crisis. The plan was to embark on massive propaganda to discredit the military and the government so as to set the people against the NA once it is called out to aid the civil authorities.”
He added, “Now the detractors alongside their local and international collaborators have mischievously and deliberately misrepresented troops’ efforts to ensure compliance with the curfew imposed by legitimate civil authorities in Lagos and other states.”
Murphy is a security expert and wrote from Calabar.