Accidental discharge cannot have a target of assassination. This is contradictory in terms. If it is accidental, it is not intentional.
Assasination attempt is a deliberate, premeditated intention to murder. Accidental discharge, which makes the defence of mistake and automation available to a criminal suspect or defendant, implies that a shooting was not intended. It could be careless, negligent, unprofessional; but it was not a deliberate act to shoot at all, or to shoot to kill.
It has become commonplace in Nigeria for politicians and business elites to hire policemen, especially of the MOPOL Units, as escorts to provide them security. When things go awry, we are then told that the policemen who follow these “VIPs” about are on an illegal duty. Only recently, the IGP threatened that he would withdraw thousands of policemen who are deployed on escort or guard duties, from such duties. The threat remains lame.
After denials that the Police Force generates hefty revenues from such deployment, upon Senator Misau making the allegations, Mike Okiro, the immediate past Chair of the Police Service Commission, volunteered a clarification, saying that the Police Act and Force orders and regulations made pursuant thereto, allow the Police to receive payments and generate revenue for such guard duties. He even alluded to a “revenue sharing formula” from which the policemen posted out for such guard duties benefit, personally.
The shooting incident at the APC rally in Ekiti underscores many things that are wrong with us. Not only with our politics, our society, our economy (including the unemployment rate) but also our security system. A politician was coming to town. A mammoth, almost uncontrollable crowd gathered. There was pulling and pushing. In the crowd were hundreds of policemen and State Security Services personnel providing security services, who, in the midst of the pandemonium, must have redied their rifles to shoot in case there was a security breach. In such circumstances, firearms, if not carefully and professionally handled, could discharge accidentally.
From what the Police spokesman has said , this is an “accidental discharge ” from a policeman who was on an “illegal duty”, who was deployed to somewhere else in Lagos, but who was procured by a politician, who “conspired with him” to come to Ekiti. Partisans, however, are still shouting that it must be an assasination plot. A lone assassin ( a serving policeman) in the midst of hundreds of other arms bearing policemen and security personnel? What was his escape strategy? Or, was he a suicide assasin? An assasin, who, after the accidental discharge, was caught so cheaply and beaten up so mercilessly, who is now receiving medical attention in protective custody?
Why do partisans engage in deliberate falsehood in the face of emerging factual clarifications? Who do we believe now? Our journalists in the print and electronic media or the veritable “newscasters” on Facebook and in other social media?
Jiti Ogunye is a Critic & Civil Rights Attorney