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Ethnic Profiling in an Imperiled Republic | The Harmattan News

Professor Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha

Nigeria is currently plagued by a myriad of debilitating problems – insecurity, hunger and poverty, rights of minorities, economic mismanagement and exploitation, corruption, myopic leadership, and a weak governance structure. Some of these directly threaten the corporate existence of Nigeria. There are too many unsettled issues regarding the conditions for the mutual coexistence of the different ethnic groups in the country. There is a perception that the basis for national unity has not been negotiated and accepted. A master-servant relationship between a parasitic majority and the minorities is troubling the new generation of Nigerians.
So, the nation is in flux. And some people love to have it so. This may be the reason parts of the federation suffer insurgent attacks. Religious supremacy has also been dangerously thrown into the mix. The fear is that a further attack on basic national values will lead to a collapse of the nation. The states do not have confidence in the federal government. Federal institutions have been hijacked by a cabal which claims to represent Northern interests. But as we know, they represent their ilk and are indeed interested in the depth of their pockets! We have pushed our luck too far as a nation, especially through acts of brazen injustice. We may not be lucky if another civil war breaks out!
Ethnic profiling and its consequences threaten the existence of our republic. It is a game of deafness, the deliberate deafness of one to the concerns and anxieties of the other. The difference has become a survival problem. The narrative says that one person is unwelcome because their ethnic origins are different. It doesn’t matter that some of these persons are multiethnic. Once profiling takes place, reason takes flight. Often the mob, that group so despised by Shakespeare, drives the infantile madness. They have nothing to cling to. They are poor. Despised. Neglected by the centre. They are not empowered. They misdirect their venom on other persons in their class. Often, they are the direct casualties when violence erupts. Their lives are lost in the sea of statistics. Yet, they carry the physical weapons of physical destruction.
The irony is that ignorance is at the core of our current experience of ethnic profiling. Persons who had hitherto lived in harmony suddenly became enemies and their very existence was threatened. The economic denominator which unites all such persons in poverty is ignored. It is true that political gladiators help to promote difference when it pays off. They stand in the background. The enlightened ones often pretend and mouth politically correct statements in public. A few misguided extremists supposedly in the rulership class let out tirades that goad their supporters into extreme reactions and behaviour. In any state where the rule of law takes preeminence, such unruly behaviour ought to be punished. What we have experienced however is that some of these vermin are above the law. How else must we understand the arrogant message which an ethnic group has published on the latest killings in Benue State?

ALSO READ: Rigged Elections and the Moral Burden of Illegitimacy – Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha

Ethnic profiling in Lagos is dangerous. In 2015, a traditional ruler made pejorative and inflammatory remarks about Igbo in Lagos. In the last elections, non-Yoruba citizens were physically prevented from voting in some parts of Lagos. I have not read any statements from prominent or leading politicians in the southwest condemning the brigandage that took place during the governorship elections. The subtext is that they gave tacit approval to voter suppression in the State. Which is unfortunate. I expect political leaders to work with groups in the state that have huge voting capacities. Not to threaten them. The incendiary write ups on social media are a threat to national unity. There must be a voice of caution from credible opinion leaders.
Ethnicism like racism is superficial. Yet historically it has led to wars and mass hysterical destruction. It does not matter that the ethnic groups sometimes have a common ancestry, traced back to less than a generation. It doesn’t matter that they sometimes share contiguous geographical space. Once that emotion of difference seizes their minds, the madness of foolishness takes over. The hysteria over Igbo voting in Lagos is a tragedy. In other jurisdictions, groups like the Igbo and Hausa in Lagos would be courted. They would be seen as representing special interests and ensuring that their votes are won. The intimidation tactics of APC thugs in Lagos have further fractured the supposed interethnic harmony in the country.
If the nation succumbs to an interethnic conflagration, the rulers and their associates are likely to seek refuge in the big cities of the world, far away from the mess which they have created. We must not allow things to get to that stage. The President-elect lacks legitimacy on account of the acts of brigandage that took place in the name of elections. He does not seem to care about the opinions of those he is supposed to lead. He has been incommunicado since after the elections. In the tradition started and established by the incumbent president, BAT has simply left the country. It is only in Africa that such impudence can be displayed and tolerated.

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There is a need for atonement in Lagos State. There is a need for healing. The governorship election was like a war and because Lagos is the proverbial city on a hill, activities cannot be hidden. Crimes committed atop a hill cannot escape the eyes of the world. The government’s reaction to ENDSARS and the Lekki toll gate incident is highly instructive. CNN broadcast the footage of the fatal encounter between innocent protesters and the nation’s security forces and the government had to eat its dirty words. The federal government must stop the carnage in Benue State. At some point, self-help will become the order of the day. Once this starts, there will be no end to it. Ethnic profiling destroys the essence of competence and personal drive. Those at the benefiting end of ethnicism are privileged. So, they are comfortable. But the overall effect on the nation is retrogressive.
There should be deliberate steps to downplay ethnicism. The first national anthem, which captured the beauty of diversity points the way. ‘Though tribe and tongue may differ/In brotherhood we stand’, and ‘Help us to build a nation where no man is oppressed’ were deliberate exhortations on national unity. Where did we get it wrong?


Nigerian Man Defrauds 34 victims in 13 countries of $592,000

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Thursday, secured the conviction and sentencing of Eze Harrisson Arinze before Justice J.K Omotosho of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja for defrauding 34 victims in 13 countries of $592,000(Five Hundred and Ninety Two Thousand United States Dollars).

Arinze was re-arraigned on one count charge bordering on impersonation and obtaining under false pretence.

The amended count charge reads:

That you, EZE HARRISON ARINZE alias Charlotte Brain, sometime between April, 2021 and December, 2022 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, did fraudulently impersonate one Charlotte Brain a purported owner of digitrades.netxxxxxxxxxxxxxx investment platforms on telegram and in that assumed character obtained cryptocurrency worth $592,000.00 (Five Hundred and Ninety Two US Dollars) from Coinbase exchange users, through your bitcoin address -333AgHuT8wAhowRBQZ2ASxxxxxxxx domiciled with Coinbase, a Virtual Asset Service Provider and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22(3)(b) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention) Act, 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (4) of the same Act.

The defendant pleaded guilty to the charge when it was read to him.

In view of the plea, prosecution counsel, Christopher Mshelia, urged the court to convict and sentence the defendant as charged.

Earlier, Ogunjobi Olalekan, a prosecuting witness and a detective of EFCC, while concluding his testimony-in-chief, told the court that the evidence gotten in the course of investigation was based on the printout from the defendant`s email, other digital currency platforms, his telegram page code named `Digi-trade, including response from banks which was in a cumulative sum of $592,000 worth of cryptocurrency as at December 4, 2023.
He added that the defendant was afterwards invited to make statements under words of caution.

Justice Omotosho convicted and sentenced Arinze to three years imprisonment, with an option of N3,000,000.00( Three Million Naira only) fine. He added that 11.07 Bitcoins valued at $461,280.70 as at December 4, 2023 be restituted to the 34 victims from 13 countries as identified.

Furthermore, the judge ordered that a total sum of N37,977,108 domiciled in his bank accounts be forfeited to the Federal Government, including a plot of land located at plot No. 34 Anioma Layout, Umuchigbo Iji-nike in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State measuring approximately 1380.609 Squares meters.

Arinze’s journey to the Correctional Centre started when he impersonated one Charlotte Brain, and created a fictitious investment platform, digitrades.netxxxxxxxxxxxxxx on telegram and in that assumed character, obtained cryptocurrency worth $592,000.00 (Five Hundred and Ninety Two US Dollars) from Coinbase exchange users, through his bitcoin address.
His victims are from Burundi, Cameroun, Costa Rica, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, India, Rwanda, Singapore, South Africa, Uganda, United States of America and Zimbabwe.

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Abdulfatai Adeyemi, son of late Alaafin, dies few hours to his 47th birthday

Prince Abdulfatai Adebayo Adeyemi, one of the sons of the immediate past Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Atanda Olayiwola Adeyemi, is dead.

The Prince, popularly known as D-Gov, died in the early hours of Friday at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan after battling diabetes.

His father died in April, 2022.
The Oyo prince, who was the immediate past Chairman of Oyo State Local Government Pension Board, died a few hours to his 47th birthday.

Abdulfatai was the House of Representatives candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 elections.

The election was won by his younger brother, Prince Akeem Adeyemi (Skimeh), who contested on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

A family member in Oyo said on Friday: “Yes. He is dead. People are there now. They are preparing the grave”.

The Public Relations Officer of UCH, Mrs Funmilayo Adetuyibi, confirmed the death of the late Alaafin’s son, saying that he died at the hospital on Friday morning.

Adetuyibi said that AbdulFatai was brought to the hospital around 12.05 a.m. on Friday and died at exactly 3:50 a.m.

She, however, declined when asked about the disease that the late Oyo prince was suffering from which eventually resulted in his death.

“I can’t disclose his diagnosis or what killed him because it is against our professional ethics,” the UCH spokesperson said.
Another source from UCH also spoke about the death of the late Alaafin’s son.

“Fatai Bayo Adeyemi, one-time Secretary of Atiba Local Government, died this morning (Friday). He was married with children. He was reported very ill sometime last year but survived,” the source said.

AbdulFatai’s death, it was gathered, has thrown the family of the late Oba Adeyemi and the ancient town of Oyo into mourning.

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NEMA donates relief materials to victims of Tudun Biri bombings

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has donated relief materials to the victims of Tudun Biri bombings in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

Alhaji Abbani Garki, North-West Zonal Coordinator of the agency, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Kaduna.

According to him, the donation is not compensation for the loss of lives, but a token to bring relief to the victims.

He condoled with the Kaduna State Government over the loss of lives as a result of the accident.

They include surgical and disposable gloves, drip sets, cutting bandages, plasters, cotton wool, hand sanitizers, methylated spirits, Syringe and needles, among others.

The food items were; 500 bags of rice, 500 bags of maize, 500 bags of beans, 500 cartons of spaghetti, 50 kegs of vegetable oil, 50 bags of salt and 50 cartons of tin tomatoes.

The non food items were; 500 pieces each of blankets, plastic buckets,plastic cups, men’s wear, women’s wear and children’s wear.

He said that the medicament have been delivered to  44 Army Reference Hospital and Barau Dikko Specialist Teaching Hospital, all in Kaduna.

Speaking on other emergency needs of the community based on the agency’s assessment, he said the area urgently required access roads, security, schools, water, electricity and health facilities.(NAN)

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