Published May 2nd, 2012
As long as Nigeria is still a
democracy the rule of law must guide the words of officials like the Nigerian
Inspector General of Police, Mr. Muhammed Dikko Abubakar.
As we know the criminal justice process is
multifaceted and subject to many rules and that is what the
IGP did in his objective response to an interactive session
with some journalists while recently visiting the Rivers
State Police Command.
There now appears to be an interpretation
from some in the media that the IGP’s responses to the
recent Abuja-Kaduna bombing were probably marked with
loopholes, dodging and escaping the specific questions.
The IGP reportedly answered that the bombing
incidents could be “the handiwork of criminals and hoodlums”
and he further stated that “arrests have been made on the
bomb blasts” and investigation on the case is going on.
Some in the media raised the idea that the
IGP was “taking care not to mention any name or group” as in
Boko Haram even when he was informed by the journalists
that the Boko Haram sect had claimed responsibility for the
Like a true professional, Mr. Abubakar stood
his grounds of not wanting to pass verdict on any group
including Boko Haram, simply because in a democracy the
essential requirements of due process of law must be allowed
to take place through police investigation, prosecution and
As one who looks at stuff from the point of
psychology it is fully proper to state that whatever reason
was behind the IGP’s responses, like an able criminal
justice professional he sees the need for our nation to
observe the reality of democracy and to understand that not
until a suspect(s) is proven guilty by a court of law, even
when he or she admits to a crime in the media he or she is
still innocent of the crime.
Nigerian journalist should join the IGP in
realistically practicing the due process of the law instead
of attempting to read the IGP’s mind and question his
impartiality as a citizen and above all, as a law
In a democracy the IGP’s words or responses
could at any time of the court process on this bombing
matter represent aspects of contaminating the entire case
and as such possibly sabotage the case.
Psychologically the very foundation of the
rule of law, include commitment to fairness, and following
the scales of justice as well as continuously developing our
constitution, and these steps ought to become every ones
move including the journalists especially.
As an emerging society no matter how heinous
a crime is or no matter how suspicious we are of each other,
let us attempt to walk together on the grounds of the rule
This is essential if we are to ever shape
Nigeria into an established society which we all hope will
become the rock upon which a democratic government will rest
on for the good of all Nigerian irrespective of their
ethnic, tribal, religious and class differences.
John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D., is an
Abuja-based Forensic/Clinical Psychologist. Jos5930458@aol.com