Dear President Muhammadu Buhari, what a hell of a week it was! Again, undergraduates kidnapped in Kaduna were slain while the ransom was still being negotiated. More bloodbaths in Zamfara claimed over 100 lives. Over 50 villages were deserted in Niger after attacks by Boko Haram, who cheekily hoisted their dark flag in one of them. Our soldiers were killed in Borno. Nine police officers, including a DPO, were killed in Kebbi. Northerners were murdered and mutilated in Anambra. Gunmen razed a police command in Imo and killed five officers. In Akwa Ibom, police stations were attacked and officers, including a female, were killed. Et cetera et cetera and so on and so on.
Your Excellency, I wrote an article on July 19, 2009 entitled ‘Mr. President, Nigeria Is Going Down’. It was an open letter to President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, whom I accused of sleeping on duty. I recall, and repeat, the opening salvo: “Mr President, I don’t know how you would take this, but there is no nicer way of putting it – Nigeria is going down. I have watched, helplessly, in the last few months as things appear to be spinning out of control on all fronts. What are you up to? At times, I wonder if you’re deliberately quiet or you are just too overwhelmed with the circumstances in which you have found yourself. The simplest of things appear to be too difficult for your administration to handle…”
Mind you, Mr President, this was in 2009 before Boko Haram became a thing, before insurgency was ever a possibility much less a probability, before bandits left our borders with Chad and came inland, before kidnapping leapfrogged armed robbery in crime statistics, before students were being routinely kidnapped, before police stations were targeted by arsonists, before the perennial herders/farmers clashes escalated and became framed as Fulani jihad — and long before the entire country became drenched in blood. I was only complaining about Yar’Adua’s foot-dragging on amnesty for Niger Delta militants and power projects. It now sounds like a joke, doesn’t it?
I will tell you a very short story, Mr President. In 2008, I travelled to the US for a conference. In my hand was a book, ‘The Paradox of Plenty: Oil Booms and Petro-States’ by Terry Lynn Karl. The immigration official, knowing I was from Nigeria, started to chat me up on the book. He asked: “What would you consider as Nigeria’s biggest problem?” I was not in the mood for a seminar. I was jetlagged. All I wanted was for him to stamp my passport and wave me on. I gave him the global template answer on Nigeria: corruption. But he offered a different perspective: “Some countries have political problems, others economic. Nigeria has both political and economic problems.”
Mr President, you came into office in 2015 declaring that Nigeria’s biggest problem was corruption — which you argued was responsible for the insecurity. You promised to tackle both. While the jury is still out on your anti-corruption war, the consensus, even among your diehard fans, is that the insecurity is getting out of hand. It is not limited to a few parts, as the case was in 2015, but spread across the country in an uncanny semblance of federal character. More so, the economy has been on a downward spiral and our political challenges are getting more complicated. So, we are battling with insecurity, in addition to economic and political crises. We are in a fix, urgently needing a fix.
I understand, Mr President, that some of your team members are of the opinion that the current insecurity is politically orchestrated ahead of the 2023 elections. But haven’t we heard this before? Some in the Goodluck Jonathan administration believed Boko Haram terrorism was politically motivated, geared towards the 2015 elections. I will tell your government exactly what I told the Jonathan administration: whether it is politics or not, it is the job of government to secure the country. The 1999 constitution does not say that if insecurity is politically motivated, we should sit down, twiddle with our fingers, watch criminals take over, and throw up our hands in surrender.
Before I proceed, Your Excellency, I want to be clear on this: I agree that there are those who criticise and hate you mainly because of religion, ethnicity and politics, not really because of what you have done or not done right. It appears this irritates you and makes you ignore or even dare your critics. But be assured, Your Excellency, that it is not peculiar to you. There were those who hated President Goodluck Jonathan because of his religion and ethnic identity too. Other former presidents had similar experiences. It is nothing new: that is the way we are wired in Nigeria and that cannot be an excuse not to do the needful in the interest of national peace and progress.
It may also interest you, Your Excellency, that there are those who support you blindly because they share your religion and ethnic identity — and even your politics. Nothing else matters to them. To this group, you can never be wrong. You are infallible. It is an emotional thing. They may be asking you to ignore criticism and treat your critics with scorn. Maybe it would also be of comfort to state that this is not limited to you: Jonathan also had his blind supporters who did not — and can still not — see that he did anything wrong in office. They even paint the picture that Nigeria was almost becoming as advanced as Singapore under Jonathan before he was “unjustly” voted out. So it goes.
Having said that, Mr President, I now want to make my point: Nigeria is going down, and very fast. I wish I could put it in a milder form, but no amount of honey can make my words sweet. Boko Haram, said to have been technically defeated since 2016, remains deadly; bandits are shedding blood in the North every day; kidnappers are behind, beside and in front of us; police stations are being attacked and police officers killed for fun in the South-East and South-South; Nnamdi Kanu’s IPOB is revving up the campaign for Biafra by the minute; Sunday Igboho is leading the Yoruba in a war of independence; and some Niger Delta militants have announced a return to the trenches.
If you go down memory lane, Mr President, you would recall that one of your greatest campaign pitches in 2015 was to fight insecurity. Boko Haram was bombing mosques, churches, motor parks and shopping plazas with ease in the FCT, Borno, Kaduna, Niger and Kano states, while bandits were terrorising Zamfara villagers without let or hindrance. I acknowledge that within your first year in office, you made tremendous progress against Boko Haram: they were truly beaten back at some point. Unfortunately, for reasons I would really love to know or understand, the insurgents staged resurgence and many other areas of insecurity opened up. What exactly went wrong, Mr President?
Your Excellency, I know we are bedevilled by serious economic problems as a result of our usual ailments — low crude oil prices, low FX inflow and the inevitable devaluation of the naira — but I would not even put that at the same level with insecurity. We need to be alive first to spend the naira. While individuals and businesses can cope with rising inflation, unemployment, high interest rates and such like, only the state can tackle the insecurity that has taken hold of the land. This is not an Amotekun, civilian JTF or Arksego matter. We are not talking about pickpockets and armed robbers. How do we protect ourselves against kidnappers and terrorists bearing AK-47?
At this stage, Your Excellency, we want to see a president who is clearly on top of things and connects with our emotions. You appear too detached. A leader must be present with his people in good and bad times. There is a level of reassurance that comes with it. You were all over the country during the two electioneering cycles but withdrew thereafter as if talking to the people you lead is a burden or something beneath you. Even your most ardent supporters cannot defend this. I know some tasks can be delegated, and, yes, not all the things you are doing to combat the insecurity can be discussed openly, but we urgently need you, not just your aides, to communicate with us.
Speed is also of essence, Mr President. I have noticed that consistently, things are allowed to drag unattended to. When responses come, they are either too little, too late or they come with discordant tunes altogether. Not good, Mr President, not good. That is why many Nigerians have been questioning if anyone is really in charge. Nigerians have every reason to be sceptical or even cynical. Failure to act on time — with efficiency and the needed sensitivity — has put the country on a dangerous edge where insecurity collides with economic and political challenges. Even those who normally remain calm are now more than worried about how things could degenerate further.
I do not for a minute, Mr President, underestimate some of your strides. I do not support the view that you have achieved nothing in office as some of your dyed-in-the-wool critics would want us to believe. Those who are mocking your infrastructural projects and agricultural policies today would most likely eat their words in another five to 10 years when we begin to derive the benefits. I keep wondering what might have been if you met crude oil at $100/barrel. Oil made many Nigerian presidents shine in the past, so you have to bemoan your luck. But, Your Excellency, we need to be alive first to be able use the roads and eat the rice. At this rate of bloodshed, that is not guaranteed.
Mr President, Nigerians feel besieged. The condition is critical. They need the commander-in-chief to be the reassurer-in-chief. I know you have been taking some steps and holding several meetings, but whatever you are doing needs more firepower. It appears the criminals are this bold partly because they think they can get away with anything. I request that you begin to act in a way that even the criminals will say: “Baba is not playing o.” May I respectfully remind Your Excellency that you have only two years more in office, God willing. How you handle this delicate and defining period may eventually define your entire public service. Nigeria must not go down under your watch!
- Kolawole is editor-in-chief at TheCable
IGP tenure: Police affairs minister goofed, says rights group
Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA) has faulted Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi, for saying the current Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, would not be retiring midway into the general elections.
The IGP was due to retire on March 1 this year. But the minister was quoted last Wednesday after leaving the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting that President Muhammadu Buhari had extended Baba’s tenure as IGP, citing Nigeria Police Act 2020 to indicate the current IGP would serve four-year tenure.
But RIFA, in a statement signed by its president, Luqman Soliu, said it viewed the minister’s position as inconsistent with the laws of the land.
It argued that the minister’s position ran contrary to the law and that the quoted Act was being misinterpreted, adding the tenure elongation could create a problem in the police force.
The statement read in part, “Usman Alkali Baba record at Nigeria Police Force showed his date of birth as March 1, 1963 while he enlisted into Nigeria Police Force on March 15, 1988 as Assistant Superintendent of Police and is expected to bow out of active service on March 1, 2023 when he would clock 60 years. Similarly, the IGP by March 15,2023 would clock 35 years in service. As a result, his post would be vacant effective March 1, 2023.
“However, the law is explicit on the tenure of any IGP and those qualified to be IGP.
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“The minister was said to be relying on Nigeria Police Act, 2020 Section 7(3) and (6) to arrive at his position.
“Also, the minister was further quoted to have said the IGP was appointed by the President on April 6,2021 but his appointment confirmed in June 2021 by the Nigeria Police Council in line with the laws of the land and so must spend four (4) years.
“Even though the tenure of the IGP has witnessed improved compliance with the laws of Nigeria and sanctioning/discipline of some errant police officers mostly reported by the media, that cannot warrant elongating his tenure beyond the constitutionally guaranteed period.
“On the issue of the IGP, the 1999 Constitution (as amended) is very clear on the appointment and removal of IGP when it states in section 215 (1) (a) that:“An Inspector-General of Police who, subject to section 216 (2) of this Constitution shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Nigeria Police Council from among serving members of the Police Force”.
“In addition, section 216(2) provides that: “Before making any appointment to the office of the Inspector-General of Police or removing him from office the President shall consult the Nigeria Police Council”.
“Similarly, Nigeria Police Act 2020 states in Section 7(2)that ‘the person to be appointed as Inspector-General of Police shall be a senior police officer not below the rank of an Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) with the requisite academic qualifications of not less than a first degree or its equivalent in addition to professional and management experience’; Section 7(3) of same Police Act states ‘The Inspector General of Police shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Police Council from among serving members of the Police Force’. Also, Section 7(6) provides ‘The person appointed to the office of the Inspector-General of Police shall hold office for four years’. This subsection was what the minister was relying on to make his position. However, Section 18 (8) of Nigeria Police Act, 2020 is explicit on tenure of a police officer when it says, ‘Every police officer shall, on recruitment or appointment, serve in the Nigeria Police Force for a period of 35 years or until he attains the age of 60 years, whichever is earlier’. So, the law states that someone who is no longer a police officer or who is not a police officer cannot be IGP. So, if the law says by 60 years of age or by 35 years in police service, IGP Usman Alkali is no longer a police officer, how then can he be eligible to be IGP afterwards when the laws says only a serving police officer can be IGP?
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“With the above, the law is very clear on the tenure of a serving IGP and which the President or a Minister cannot override as the law is superior to occupant of any post in the land. Therefore, instead of the minister dissipating energy to seeking the extension of tenure of IGP Usman Alkali, he should focus his energy on searching for the next IGP before the end of February 2023 when Usman Alkali would cease to be a police officer.
“Similarly, the minister should occupy himself with how to convene the next Police Council meeting that would recommend a new IGP for appointment before March 1, 2023.
“Therefore, the minister and the government should stop contemplating on tenure elongation for the current IGP. Rather, the government should strive for improved policing that meets the yearnings of the populace and restore public confidence in the Force.”
Old age comes with aggression: Be patient with your parents (an appraisal of Qur’an17 : 23-24)
Dr. Sanusi Lafiagi is a lecturer in Department of Islamic Studies, Al-Hikmah University Ilorin
Towards understanding your religion: A short treatise on Sujūd as-sahw
Sujūd as-Sahw (prostration of forgetfulness) is a corrective measure legislated by Allāh to rectify certain unintended mistakes in Salāt. It is necessitated by any of the following 3 things:
1. Omission of an action of Salāt
2. Addition of an action of Salāt
3. Doubt over the performance or non-performance of an action of Salāt.
It is important to note that the action of Salāt that necessitates Sujūd as-Sahw is one that falls under any of the following categories:
The Arkān (pillars) of Salāt are:
1. Standing (for the one that is capable)
2. The opening Takbīrah
3. Recitation of Fātiha
5. Rising from it
6. Being straight after rising
8. Rising from it
9. Sitting in-between the two prostrations
10. Performing each pillar with accuracy
11. The last tashahhud (in a 3 or 4 raka’ah prayer & the only one in a two raka’ah prayer)
12. Sitting for the last tashahhud
13. The taslīm
14. Sequential order of the pillars
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The wājibāt (obligatory actions) of Salāt are as follows:
1. Any other Takbīrat apart from the opening Takbīrah
2. Saying of Sami’Allāhu liman hamidah
3. Saying of Rabbānā laka al-hamd
4. Saying of Subhāna rabī al-adhīm in bowing
5. Saying of Subhāna rabī al-A’lā in prostration
6. Saying of Rabbi ighfirlī in the sitting between sujūd
7. The first tashahhud
8. Sitting for the first tashahhud
These are the actions that necessitate the observance of Sujūd as-Sahw should one omit, add, or doubt their performance in Salāt forgetfully. It doesn’t matter if the Salāt were fard (obligatory) or nafl (supererogatory).
It’s important to note that this Sujūd applies to all persons observing Salāt (male/female, old/young, Imām/follower of an Imām/lone worshipper). It’s a compulsory action that’s needed to rectify an unintended mistake in Salāt.
A SHORT TREATISE ON SUJŪD AS-SAHW
Forms of Sujūd as-Sahw
Sujūd as-Sahw occurs at the tail end of Salāt after recitation of the final tashahhud. Depending on the incident that warrants it, it may be performed before the Taslīm (salutation of peace that ends Salāt)or after it.
If it is performed before the taslīm, it is termed ‘Qablī’, and if it is performed after taslīm, it is termed ‘Ba’dī’. The Arabic words قَبْلُ and بَعْدُ connote before & after respectively. Thus, the terms قَبْلِيٌّ & بَعْدِيٌّ are shortened forms of قبل التسليم/بعد التسليم.
Sujūd as-Sahwi is like the normal Sujūd of Salāt. It’s not special in any way. It consists of two Sajdah (prostration) with the normal adhkār of Sujūd; “Subhāna rabbiya’l-A’lā wa bihamdihī” or any other known adhkār of Sujūd (check Sifatu Salāti’n-Nabiyy by Al-Albānī)
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It is important to note that Muslim Jurists have expressed divergent views on whether Sujūd as-Sahw must be observed before the taslīm or after it, irrespective of whether the case was an omission, an addition or that of doubt. The summary of the views is as follows:
Hanafiyyah: All Sujūd as-Sahw must come after Taslīm.
Shāfi’iyyah: All Sujūd as-Sahw must come before Taslīm.
Hanābilah: All Sujūd as-Sahw must come before Taslīm save in 2 cases:
(i) If one makes Taslīm before completion of Salāt e.g. saying Taslīm after 2/3 raka’ats in dhuhr
(ii) If one doubts the exact number of raka’ah that he has prayed but decided to settle for the dominant number in his mind. In both instances, he must make the Sujūd after Taslīm.
Mālikiyyah: Sujūd as-Sahw can occur either before or after the Taslīm, depending on the case. Thus, if it’s a case of omission, it must come before Taslīm, and if it’s a case of addition, it must come after Taslīm. If, however, both omission & addition occur in the particular Salāt, then, the Sujūd must come before the Taslīm. These are the various views of the Jurists.
Sometimes, some people find themselves in a situation where they can not independently determine whether to do the Sujūd before Taslīm or after it. Before I go into specifics in the next thread, know this: Whichever if the Sujūd you do suffices, irrespective of the case.
Do not worry about whether the Sujūd was done before the Taslīm in a case of addition or that it was done after the Taslīm in a case of omission. What matters is that one does the Sujūd in order to rectify and make up for the unintended error committed in any of the acts of Salāt mentioned in the introduction to this treatise. That’s it. Your Salāt remains valid. Don’t let anyone confuse you & do not torture yourself trying to figure out what to do at when. Do I even need to go into specifics again? This is clear enough. I think.
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In conclusion, it’s important to note that after the Sujūd as-Sahw, there’s no need to repeat the tahiyyāt. One should immediately conclude the Salāt by uttering the Taslīm. If, however, one repeats the tahiyyāt either knowingly or unknowingly, his/her Salāt remains valid.
A SHORT TREATISE ON SUJŪD AS-SAHW
Categories of Worshippers With Regards to Sujūd as-Sahw
There are 3 categories of worshippers with regards to the Sujūd as-Sahw. They are:
1. The lone worshipper
2. The Imām
3. Follower of the Imām. This category is further divided into two:
a. The one that observed the prayer in full with the Imām
b. The one that missed a part of the prayer. This category is further divided into two:
a. The one that witnessed the mistake of the Imām
b. The one that joined the Salāt after the mistake has been made.
If a lone worshipper remembers after recitation of Fātiha but before observing rukū’ that he did not make the takbīrat al-Ihrām (opening Takbīrah), he must make the Takbīrah & continue his Salāt. In this situation, he’s not to make Sujūd as-Sahw. If, however, he remembers while on rukū’ or subsequent acts, he must return to the standing position, make the Takbīrat al-Ihrām, complete the Salāt and make the Sujūd as-Sahw after Taslīm.
Also, if he remembers after standing for the 2nd raka’ah, he must discard all that he has prayed immediately & start the Salāt afresh. After Taslīm, he must perform the Sujūd as-Sahw. This same rule applies to if the forgotten pillar were recitation of Fātiha. If he hasn’t reached the rukū’, he should recite Fātiha & no Sujūd as-Sahw is on him.
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If he has reached the rukū’, he must return to the standing position & recite Fātiha. After the Taslīm, he must make the Sujūd as-Sahw. If the lone worshipper recites Fātiha twice forgetfully, there’s nothing on him. If he recites loudly in a Salāt of silent recitation or vice versa, there’s no Sujūd on him. If he remembers in the middle of the recitation, he should continue from that verse without repeating all that he has recited earlier. If he unintentionally recites Fātiha twice, he’s not obliged to observe Sujūd as-Sahw according to the most authoritative view.
A SHORT TREATISE ON SUJŪD AS-SAHW
If the lone worshipper rises to an extra raka’ah (i.e. rising to a 3rd in Subh, or to a 4th in Maghrib, or to a 5th in Dhuhr, ‘Asr, or Ishā’), he must sit down immediately he realizes the error, recite the tahiyyāt, make Taslīm and prostrate twice thereafter. If he continues without sitting, his Salāt becomes invalid & he will start afresh.
If the lone worshipper forgets to make iqāmah before commencement of Salāt, his Salāt is valid & he doesn’t need to do any Sujūd. The iqāmah is neither a rukn (pillar) nor wājib(obligatory act) of Salāt.
If the lone worshipper forgets to say سمع الله لمن حمده or ربنا ولك الحمد, he must do the Sujūd before Taslīm. Once he has left the position where those statements are made, he needs not return to make it up. The Sujūd as-Sahw before Taslīm will take care of it.
If the lone worshipper forgets to say the adhkār of rukū’ or Sujūd at least once, he must do the Sujūd as-Sahw before Taslīm (in the view of the hanābilah). The majority of scholars regard those adhkār as Sunnah & as such no Sujūd is required.
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A SHORT TREATISE ON SUJŪD AS-SAHW
If the lone worshipper remembers in the last raka’ah that he unintentionally omitted a pillar of Salāt (recitation of Fātiha or Rukū’, etc) in any of the previous raka’ah, he must discard that raka’ah and start counting from the one next to it. After the Taslīm, he must perform the Sujūd as-Sahw. Also, if he remembers in the last raka’ah that he omitted Fātiha in the first & rukū’ in the second, then, he must discard both raka’ahs & start counting from the raka’ah he’s on. In all of these, he must performs the Sujūd as-Sahw after Taslīm.
If the lone worshipper forgets to sit for the first Tashahhud but instead rose to the third raka’ah, here, there are three situations:
a. If he intends rising but is yet to rise. In this instance, he sits & recites the tashahhud & is not obliged to do Sujūd as-Sahw.
b. If he were on the rise but was yet to rise fully. In this instance, he must return back to the sitting position & recite the tahiyyāt.
c. If he had fully risen. Here, he must not return back to sitting. If he does, his Salāt becomes invalid (according to a view, another view is, he may return so long as he was yet to commence recitation of Fātiha. I favour the former view that he should not return once he’s fully risen). In both cases, he performs the Sujūd as-Sahw before Taslīm.
If the lone worshipper forgets to recite sūrah after Fātiha, his Salāt is valid & he doesn’t have to make any Sujūd as-Sahw. Recitation of sūrah after is not compulsory. If, however, he does the Sujūd as-Sahw before Taslīm, his Salāt remains valid.
Dr. Sanusi Lafiagi is a lecturer in Department of Islamic Studies, Al-Hikmah University Ilorin
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