Snatch and Die!
On Monday, President Muhammad Buhari, out of a purported presidential mettle and passion to deliver a credible and peaceful election announced dire consequences for any person or groups intent on disrupting Saturday’s balloting either by inciting violence or by snatching of ballot box.
His exact words were: “I do not expect anybody to cause any disturbance. Anybody who decides to snatch ballot boxes or leads thugs to disturb the process, maybe that will be the last unlawful action you will take.”
This would have sufficed as a stern warning if Mr. President had stopped there, but he continued: “We have directed the military and other security agents to be ruthless.”
“So, I want to warn anybody who thinks he has enough influence in his locality to lead a body of thugs to snatch ballot boxes or disturb the voting system, he will do it at the expense of his own life.” Apparently, with this line, Mr. President went too far.
Anyone familiar with the Nigerian crime and justice topography especially with regards to how operatives of security and law enforcement agencies such as the Police Force, Department of State Services (DSS), and Army, handle the most basic form of everyday offences like assault, theft or traffic law violation will agree that President Buhari’s directive for “military and other security agents to be ruthless” with anyone found culpable of electoral offence is ill-conceived, lethal and fascistic.
Although interpreted differently, it is not out of place to understand Mr. President’s “ruthless” order and threat as a “license to kill” and straightforward encouragement of jungle justice and at the same time a bridge of the electoral act.