Adebayo’s Savagery Incitements; Our Gullible Youths; and Police Disproportionality in Conflict Management
July 22, 2020
By Mohamed Sesay (Lucky)
Chiefly, the Courier will start by registering his condolences to the bereaved families for the loss of their loved ones as a result of the recent civil unrest in Makeni which led to the loss of at least five lives. May their departed souls rest in perpetual peace. It is an indisputable claim that sporadic youth violence across the country has gained currency. It is also lucid that most of these riotous conducts mainly perpetuated by our gullible youth, has a direct link to an inciteful comments by one unscrupulous, unpatriotic Sierra Leone, called Adebayo. The unfathomable gullibility of youth acting on the orders of inciteful, hateful and motherly invectives audio messages from this never-meant-well Adebayo guy, reminds me of the fact that Sierra Leonean youth really need Civic Education in order to gain consciousness. Sometimes it pains me a lot especially during this 21st Century era, thinking that civility, consciousness and awareness must have taken center stage on the minds of us the youths but rather unfortunately, a good number of us are still celebrating mediocrity. We are still far away from gaining consciousness.
It is time for the youths to be wised-up and stop being misused and misled by someone with a preconceived political sentiment. It is equally the right time to say no to the deceitful, incitful and ill-disposed comments from not only that unpatriotic Sierra Leonean called Adebayo, but also politicians. However, as the krio adages says ‘’ wae u tok to d dog, u tok to d bone’’. (When you criticize the dog, you equally have to criticize the bone). Therefore, the heavy-handedness and premeditated disproportionate military-alike-operation by the police and the military in many of the civil unrests, is under my condemnation. Over the years, the police in a joint operation of the military have been using an escalating and high-level military-alike-operation which claimed valuable lives of our compatriots. The Courier will surely provide details of police disproportionality in this edition below.
ADEBAYO’S INCITFUL AND ANTI-COUNTRY MESSAGES
For far too long the Courier has been following misleading, misguided, baseless and unfounded messages, coupled with motherly invectives from just a single person called himself Adebayo. Pathetically, most of his malicious messages have on many occasions worked on the gullibility of youths in certain part of the city and country to take to the street in violence demonstration, which ended claiming valuable lives of our countrymen. The Courier could still recalled some of his atavistic and nefarious audio messages which include, but not limited to the April 29th attempted prison break that left at least thirty-one (31) inmates brutally killed, many injured, and monumental edifices within the prison facility worth over nineteen billion Leones (Le 19,000,000,000), were completely burnt down. His rancorous inciteful messages also caused Tombo youths to go on the rampage which also resulted to at least a person dead and a hospital completely burnt down. Now as recent as last week Saturday, his ill-thought-out audio messages incited youths in Makeni against EDSA staff over government- owned 1.65 MW Caterpillar Engine, which also left at least four (4) people dead, and many with gunshot injuries.
The Courier’s question now is why youths are always victims of this untaught Adebayo’s never-meant-well messages? Is it because of the low educational background of many of us to decipher things on our own other than being spoon-fed by someone? Adebayo and all his “Mumu” (unwise) followers must have realized that the 1.65 MW generators is not a privately owned generator but rather government’s owned generator. Also, being that Makeni enjoys sustainable power supply due to its multiple standby generators, the government through the ministry of energy thought it fit to relocate one of its 1.65 MW generators to the sister district of Port loko, which housed the country’s only International AirPort (Lungi Airport). The Courier could not still comprehend whether the action of EDSA in relocating that generator really has any justifiable reason for questioning, not alone taking to the street by some spoon-fed youths despite consultative meetings held by authorities in Makeni for the temporary relocation of the generator.
POLICE DISPROPORTIONALITY IN CONFLICT MANAGEMENT
Inasmuch as youth’s violence mainly orchestrated by some unprincipled and unnationalistic individuals has become rampant across the country, the disproportionate and heavy-handedness by the police and military in a joint military-alike- operation in response to civil unrest, has equally gained currency over the years. With my minute background of International Humanitarian Law (IHLs), coupled with what Dr. Bernadette Cole taught me in her International Humanitarian Law class during my stay at the Mass Communications Department, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, said that one of the principles of International Humanitarian Law is proportionality. Thus, if the Courier could break down the meaning of ‘’ Principle of Proportionality’’ for his reader, the working definition of Principle of Proportionality for this work, in tandem with International Humanitarian Law states that, the Principle of Proportionality limits and protects potential harm to civilians by demanding that the least amount of harm is caused to civilians, and when harm to civilians must occur, it needs to be proportionate to the existing situation.
For instance, if one is in conflict with another, both parties according to International Humanitarian Law MUST use forces and weapon proportionately to the given situation at hand. International Humanitarian Law frowns at using far much sophisticated weapons against another party with less powerful weapon. For example, if your enemy has A.K 47, International Humanitarian Law says, you should not use R.P.G or War Tanker against an enemy with A.K 47 gun. Therefore, our police in particular needs to be properly schooled with regards to the use of proportionate force in terms of their response to civil unrest or demonstration. It has been a perennial problem within our security forces using disproportionate forces in civil unrest that normally leads to the death of civilians. It is a shared exhibition of unprofessionalism at its highest magnitude for our so-called ‘force for good’ to be in consistent use of live bullets on unarmed civilians.
Pragmatic examples of most of their disproportionate response to conflict management using live bullets on unarmed civilians are; the Bumbuna riot, the Mile 91 unrest, the April 29th attempted prison break, the Tombo riot and the just conducted heavy military-alike-operation in Makeni . The autopsy report according to the Director-General of the Sierra Leone Correctional service, Joseph Lamboi, affirmed that at least sixteen (16) inmates died as a result of gun shut wounds during the April 29th attempted prison break. Similar thing happened in Tombo wherein at least one person died of gun shut wound and the disproportionate military-alike-operation in Makeni which led to the death of at least four (4) people.
The police have always comfortably basing their premises on section (16) subsection (2) of paragraph (C), of the 1991 constitution, to justify their premediated disproportionate military-alike-operation in handling civil unrest. The aforesaid section says: without prejudice to any liability for the contravention of any other law with respect to the use of force in such cases as are hereinafter regarded as having been deprived of his life in contravention of this section if he dies as a result of the use of force to such extent as is reasonably justifiable in the circumstances of the case, that is to say’’:
(c) ‘’for the purpose of suppressing a riot, insurrection or mutiny’’. Says the constitution.
However, the police MUST also look at Chapter two (II), section five (5), subsection two (II), paragraph (B) of the same 1991 constitution which states ‘’ the security, peace and welfare of the people of Sierra Leone SHALL be the primary responsibility of the government, and to this end it SHALL be the duty of the Armed Forces, the Police, Public Officers and all security agents to protect and safeguard the people of Sierra Leone.’’ The police have been in systemic contravention of the above-mentioned provision.
In conclusion, Inasmuch as section (16), subsection two (II), paragraph (C) of our superannuated 1991 constitution justifies the nefarious disproportionate act of the police hard-handedness, the police should not also lose sight of section (5), subsection (II), paragraph (C) of the constitution to safeguard and protect the people of Sierra Leone. We don’t want to see a-supposed-to-be ‘’Force for Good’’ being metamorphosed into a ‘’Force for Evil.’’ The police needs to also work align with the principles of proportionality and humanity as indicated in the International Humanitarian Law. Let our “force for good” maintain professionalism in conflict control and management mechanism.
3. That the police MUST stop justifying their shoot and kill action under the provision of the 1991 constitution. We want our police force to be force for good and not force for evil.
4. That the leadership of the police should conduct periodic institutional trainings for police officers with regards to professionalism.
5. In order to curtail the shoot and kill culture within our police forces, let the government start instituting instantaneous investigation and impose punitive measures against any police officer who shoot and kill unarmed civilian.
6. That government should launch an instantaneous investigation into the Makeni violence attack, and take punitive actions against planners, financiers and engineers of that violence attack on peace Citizens.
7. That military involvement should not be visible in any civil demonstration. The people are not at war thus, there should be no need for a joint police-military operation in civil demonstration.