• Falana must walk the talk as a Human Rights Defender – Amb Coomassie
‘Seun Ibukun-Oni, Abuja
DAILY COURIER – The International Peace Commission in Nigeria (IPC), has condemned in strong terms the attack on a Police officer by the Afro-music singer, Seun Anikulapo Kuti, saying the musician’s action contravene the global fundamental human rights of law enforcement officers and the rights to a safe working environment for policing; he calls on concern authority in Nigeria for immediate commencement of investigations and ensures justice is served.
In a statement signed by the Media Officer, Shola Akingboye on Tuesday, the Head of Mission, IPC-Nigeria, Amb Haruna Husseini Coomassie, made the call on Monday, while addressing the circumstances surrounding the attack on the security operative by the son of the late Afro-beat legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, at the weekend.
It would be recalled the trending video on how the ace singer, Seun Kuti, was caught on camera attacking a police officer on duty, along the 3rd-Mainland bridge, in Lagos, which led to his subsequent arrest and detention by the Nigerian Police.
The Head of Mission, IPC-Nigeria, Dr Coomassie described the act of violence against the law enforcement officer in Lagos as brutal and uncalled for, and says such action must not go unchallenged to serve as a deterrent to others in the interest of justice and peace. He noted that justice for one is justice for all.
He said: “We are for peace at the IPC-Nigeria, but peaceful coexistence in any society starts with respect for human dignity and the protection of the rights of others.
“As a global body with a statutory duty to promote peace and in defence of all forms of human rights violation across the world, we are using this opportunity to express our displeasure and condemned with all alacrity, the physical assault launched at men of the Nigerian police force, by the Afro-beat musician, Seun Anikulapo Kuti.
“We want to state categorically that such an attack on the uniformed police officer is condemnable and should not be allowed to be swept under the carpet in order to serve as a deterrent to others.
“It would be interesting to recall that, the late legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, who was the father of the musician, Seun, had no record of any assault against the law enforcement agents while alive, and not even in the face of gross human rights violations suffered by the late Fela Kuti, would the legend took the law into his hands. He never harassed, molested or embarrassed men of security agencies in his lifetime.
“Also, Femi Kuti, the renowned Afro-beat crooner, and the elder brother have been a good example to reckon with right from his youthful days. As an international musician, never were negative reports or such utterances from Femi, save for engaging in public brawls with anyone or a police officer.
“Fela’s children are well groomed, no doubt, but Seun shouldn’t soil the good name of that great family.
“It is also unfortunate that the younger musician went as far as bragging over the incident, saying this is not the first time he had attacked police officers. It shows he has been doing this and going scot-free. Bad enough, everyone kept silenced over it.
“We, therefore, call on concerned authority to institute a deeper investigation into this matter, and Seun must be brought to book if found guilty of the unholy conduct. This will prevent similar occurrences by anyone in future,’ he stressed.
Also, comments made by Barrister Femi Falana, SAN, over the matter did not go well with the peace mission. Coomassie frowned as he described the position of the legal luminary on the matter as an unfortunate and double standard: Irrespective of the position of Mr Femi Falana SAN, as the lawyer to Seun on this matter; as a human rights lawyer, one would expect the lawyer to join in calling the musician to order.
“As a human rights lawyer and promoter of justice and fairness in the country, who speaks his mind and says things the way he sees them over the years; but says Falana SAN, shouldn’t be found supporting anarchy, over Seun’s attitude towards the police officer on duty.
“He shouldn’t be seen striking any balance between inhuman treatment and injustice against an innocent police officer on duty irrespective of the level of provocations, especially an officer who neither raised his hands to retaliate despite the harassment, physical attack and molestation openly launched on the officer of the law by Seun.
It is not enough for the renowned lawyer to play ostrich over the violation of the rights perpetrated by one against the other.
“This is an open rig on the rights of that police officer on duty, for crying out loud, that all must condemn.
“Justification of the action of Seun Kuti on the matter on the pretext of being the lawyer to Seun is absurd, uncalled for and cannot stand. That does not promote the peace all Nigerian yearns.
“Roof-tops definitely would have been brought down, and torrents of condemnations against the police institution and the government would be up by now, even by Mr Falana, if such an attack were to be the other way round, irrespective of who is guilty or not.
“Nigeria is not a banana republic. It is on this note that we are calling for justice for the police officer openly assaulted by the singer.
“It is high time the federal government put an end to such an abnormality.
“We all love the Kuti family, given their pedigree to stand by the truth and struggle for justice and human rights. We would also not watch and see Seun drag the good name of Kuti’s dynasty and that of Nigeria to disrepute before the international community.
But Police officers are also human; they have families who care for them as everyone. No one will see his father, husband, and the breadwinner of their family openly molested on the road, for discharging his constitutional duty.
We at the IPC, are calling on the FG and the police hierarchy not to treat this matter with kid gloves, injustice against the police officer must be addressed and the perpetrator must be brought to book. Nobody is above the law and nobody should.
There can be no meaningful peace in the land without injustice, and justice for one is justice for all.
“I am also calling on members of the public, including civil society organisations, not to keep quiet on this disgraceful act perpetrated against the law officer, or watch this matter swept under the carpet” He said.