Editorial: Police Affairs Minister As A Pugilist By ThisDay Live

Jelili Adesiyan’s behaviour is unacceptable. He should be called to order.

At a period when more and more Nigerians shun the instrumentality of the law in the settlement of disputes and several innocent citizens are getting maimed and killed, the Minister in charge of Police Affairs, Mr Jelili Adesiyan, is not only recommending a recourse to jungle justice, he has promised to take the law into his own hands whenever he leaves office. Notwithstanding the fact that assault and battery are serious offences in our law books, they are being glorified by the minister who admitted witnessing an act of violence being perpetrated against a former governor of his state, Mr Isiaka Adeleke, just because of a political disagreement. But then, Adesiyan could admit to such irresponsibility because he is well aware that under the current dispensation, anything goes.

However, to put the issue in proper perspective, let us quote what Adesiyan said in response to the allegation by Adeleke that he was beaten up by the minister at a recent political gathering: “My regret is that I did not beat him (Adeleke) up as he claimed. If I had not been a minister, I would have flogged him like a baby… It was Sogo Agboola that gave Adeleke a dirty slap when he tried to caution him from being violent and he gave Sogo an elbow jerk, which Sogo quickly returned with a resounding slap. I thought he was tough but he ran away immediately. He is lying if he says Omisore and I beat him. I will one day leave office as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and anytime I leave office, I will fight Adeleke.”

There is no known justification in Nigerian law for the despicable acts of violence being promised by a public official of the rank of a minister, and one in charge of police affairs for that matter. Indeed, there are clear and definite constitutional provisions for any aggrieved person to seek redress in a court of law. But it is rather ironic that a man who superintends the most critical law enforcement arm of the state is threatening physical fight and violence against another citizen. It is indecent and smacks of sheer rascality which should have no place in any country that seeks to progress as an orderly and democratic society. It is even more unfortunate that the presidency has done nothing to indicate that what the minister said is unacceptable.

We consider it important that Adesiyan be called to order and very quickly too, not only because of the danger inherent in such impulse towards violence but also because the object of his desperation is the coming Osun State gubernatorial election where his principal, Senator Iyiola Omisore is contesting as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate. Adesiyan who has control of the Police is therefore a man to watch if Osun State is not to descend into violence. Even at that, the issue goes beyond the comportment of one minister to what has become the state of affairs in our nation today.

The greatest burden of Nigerian politics in its present format is that we are saddled with a political system with an inherent defective leadership selection process. Consequently, persons with questionable moral and psychological credentials ascend to the highest public offices and end up disgracing and embarrassing the nation. While we therefore condemn in the strongest term the barbarism to which a former governor of Osun State was subjected by Adesiyan and his gang of miscreants, we consider it a big shame that such a violent man is not only a member of the Federal Executive Council but the Minister in charge of Police Affairs.

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