The Military Giving Tinubu Govt Bad Image, Says Bola Bolawole, Warns Against Soldiers Usurping Police Duties - EDU-BIZNEWS


Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The Military Giving Tinubu Govt Bad Image, Says Bola Bolawole, Warns Against Soldiers Usurping Police Duties

President Bola Tinubu must not succumb to the temptation of sweeping under the carpet the recent barbaric act of the abduction of Editor of First News Online, Mr Segun แปŒlatunji by the Military, a former Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Punch Newspapers, Mr Bola Bolawole has cautioned.

Bolawole, while speaking on the popular monthly interview discourse, BOILING POINT ARENA, emphatically said the Nigeria Armed Forces, by that untoward action, has already cast the image of the Tinubu Administration in the mud.

To Mr Bolawole, a renowned columnist and media professional, "the prolonged silence by the government can only mean consent unless the President speak out to dissociate himself from the whole saga". 

Given the dangers posed to democracy, he has also warned against continuous trend of military usurpation  of the duties of the Nigeria Police Force, just as he wants an end put to the practice of involving soldiers to handle internal security affairs of the country.

Boiling Point Arena, which took place via Zoom and transmitted live on Sweet 107.1FM on Sunday night, was hosted by an accomplished media professional and public relations strategist, Dr Ayo Arowojolu.

A foremost traditional ruler, the Olowu of Owu Kingdom, Oba Prof Saka Matemilola, was the Keynote Speaker on the programme which also had in attendance Kaduna-based activist, Senator Shehu Sani but whose voice could not be transmitted due to internet glitches, apparently from his own end.

The topic of discourse was: "Democracy: The Media Under Siege and The Travails of Journalist Segun Olatunji in Military Detention"

Mr Bolawole's drift on the issue is captured below: "Insecurity in Nigeria has been grave. What we've had was the fear of abductions from insurgents, Fulani herdsmen and all sorts. But now, we are seeing it from security operatives who are supposed to protect the Nigerian territory and citizens. Now, we are seeing them abduct fellow Nigerians and it looks like the body language of this administration is to be silent.

"It is very, very unfortunate that the military did what they did. The name they have given this government is a very bad name and I do not think it is a name that this government deserves. From the little that I know about President Tinubu and for the much that I know about the media people working with him, I do not think that in their wildest imagination, that they could have sanctioned this or that they condoned it.
"I think the military people who carried out the abduction went out of their way on their own and they should be allowed to carry the can. Everybody was afraid, particularly when the military now said, the abducted journalist was not in their custody. That was what spoiled it for me. Up till the time they released him, they were saying he's not with us. That is too much. That alone could have killed the wife. That pressure alone can kill anybody. 

"I expect the government of Bola Ahmed Tinubu to dissociate itself from what the military has done so that it can wash itself clean. And we can now know that it has no hand in it. They must wash their hands off it. And whatever punishment they want to give to the people that have done this, they must mete out punishment. And they must allow Nigerians to see that actually, they did not sanction it."

Delving into why the spate of insecurity, banditry and kidnapping has yet to yield desirable fruits, he came down hard on the military for their penchant to stray away from their statutory functions and for dabbling into civilian duties.

Hear him: "Usurpation of affairs of the police did not start yesterday. It was the military coup that came in 1966 that brought out the soldiers from their barracks and then they became governors and all that. We began to see them every day unlike before. It is the incursion of the military into politics that has cheapened the military. 

"Soldiers are supposed to play their role as defenders of the territorial integrity of the country but now they are coming out to even maintain internal security which is not the primary duty of the military not to talk of even governance. Governance is not the duty of the military. 

"The military is not trained to govern, that's why all the military regimes we have had rather than solve problems they created more problems. They left their barracks, they left their primary assignment and they dabbled into what did not concern them. They ate the forbidden fruit and having eaten the forbidden fruit they found it difficult to disengage. Though they have retreated back to the barracks, yet they are still everywhere in roadblocks"

Mr Bolawole applauded the collaborative efforts of the Nigeria Guild of Editors, Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria, the Nigeria Union of Journalists and others on actions taken so far in respect of Journalist Segun Olatunji but said the idea of giving government ultimatum will not work.

"The Media bodies should push the National Assembly to set up an inquiry as a way of investigating the issues and invite relevant people and make their report public", he suggested.

He said further: "Since the military has not come out to deny anything that Segun Olatunji has said in respect of the dehumanizing incarceration, how they chained him in an underground cell for 14 days, that means that they accept that was exactly what happened which is very unfortunate under a democracy."

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