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Opinion: Enemy of The State is Within the State

Prof. R. A. Ipinyomi

By Prof. R. A. Ipinyomi, University of Ilorin, Nigeria

The enemy of the State is defined by each nation differently but most states will agree that the enemies of the state include spies, trickery; agents sent to kill or sent to cover the murder, or those who directly or indirectly take arms against the state. The enemy of a state in Africa may also include those who use the state to obtain loans, foreign aids, credits for self in the name of the state, government service men and women providing confidential information to foreign agents, public rumour peddlers or violence agents to destabilize government and public order or to cause general commotion making the society less governable.

Over the ages governments have been engaging a number of its departments to counter the serial effects of the growing number of the enemies of the state. We should differentiate between ordinary lawbreakers such as armed robbers, kidnappers, money launderers, all common law breakers who do so simply to make ends meet for self and those that engage themselves as agents against government discretely, openly, or subtly using all level of intrigues. Of course every lawbreaker, including the ordinary citizens, employed government officials, is an enemy of the state if they betray the trust placed on them. New laws and legislation that would dramatically expand the surveillance powers of government intelligence agencies to handle them have continued to be introduced and enforced.

We also have the enemy of the people which we will define as government (and others) agents falsely implicating innocent citizens intentionally or because the government agents lack the capacity to know or accept the truth. Of particular interest would be the cases where government agents, working for a superior boss, would set up the opponent of their boss by falsely accusing the said opponent to please their boss at the expense of the nation. The trickery they cause may destroy the life of their opponent perpetually, dismissing him from his job, may get his bank accounts frozen, or even destroy his family and getting his wife and children thrown out of the house, or cause him to be jailed. The life of the opponent may be trailed by the national security agents for a long time. The act becomes “an enemy of the state” because government image, money, personnel, powers and resources have been used wrongly. It is a disservice to the fabric of a nation and a great source of discouragement for truth and honesty. It is divisionary as it is evil. Instead of pursuing the genuine nation building enormous resources and attention are put into pursuing shadows and hiding the weakness of government. When the real national problems arrive only very few would believe the government that always make a mountain out of an ant.

Enemies of the state are often people living dangerously, they are blackmailers using voice mails or videotaping, and carriers of falsehoods, imagined or real information to please their paymasters. They could be government employed working at National Security Agency Department but who fail to know the limits of their powers and those of the citizens. They could bug any system to please their paymasters at a price. They can also destroy evidences and documents to prevent an investigation. They use all foal means to achieve their objectives including bribes, force, intrigues and deception. There is nothing out of use and no morality in their conducts. Many of them live larger than lives by staying in high class hotels, riding both high class limousines, horsebacks or motor bikes just to get their evil job done. Many of them are double agents so that they can hide better. For instance an enemy of the state of Nigeria may be supported to an elective office or aided to gain an appointment as a minister or a special adviser to government so that the needed information can always be obtained. In some cases the enemy may not know that he is an enemy although he knows that some information is getting out from him to someone else at a good price. Ignorance, poverty and greed may fuel the system, especially in the developing economy.

Over the years many across the globe have developed the art of making blackmailing, kidnapping, stealing information and valuable governmental decisions their sources of income by choice. They make videos and collect other information and later tell their customers that they have the video or the hard copy of a murder case, crime case and whatever. They arrange meetings to negotiate prices and mode of payments. A high class world Mafia operates that way. When government sponsored individual agents are known their home government may publicly disown them by quickly distancing them from authorities.

We are frightened by the rise of enemies of the state coming more from officers within the state system posing as officialdoms. In the smaller and weaker democracies these enemies are going to not only ruin our economies and our common value systems but also destroy the embryonic democracy and create one party-state cum anarchism. Nigeria officials should in particular be patient with citizens and show extreme restrained in a situation where the society is over stressed on all sides. For example, the police must do its job whether or not he has been paid or that the salary is adequate and not pass the stress on the public. Similarly while PDP must be allowed to rule the opposition party APC should not be seen as an enemy of the state. We should be able to separate rice grains from sand stones, and recognizing that activists are not necessarily enemies of the state whereas many in government pay roll are the actual state enemies.

Therefore, though the activities of striking lecturers ASUU, medical doctors NMA and all others may seem to have negative impacts on both the economy and governance these are not state enemies. The causes of the strikes, the management of them and the perceived poor governance could generate to the level of being the enemy of state. Journalists are trained to source and hunt for information for disseminations in order to educate, inform and entertain. Journalists on their normal duties do not constitute state enemies and therefore those in police custody in Egypt, possibly Nigeria and elsewhere ought to be released without any delay. It is improper to detain a military general simply because during a war he was commanding opposing soldiers lost their lives. Similarly journalists anywhere in the world should be given unhindered access to information and publication. The said journalist may suffer court orders for his or her individual actions but not arrest and detention without trial, presuming guilt. In today’s world a number of our rulers are the real enemies of the state for wanting to steal or suppress information. Many of them are also state enemies because they lack the needed administrative, economic, or intellectual capacities to rule in the modern politics that could accelerate the development of their respective nations but they refuse to step aside. We must collectively see an enemy of the state as any individual or concept that will infringe upon or obstruct in any way on the territorial integrity of the nation and her progress either in the collection, presentation or use of information.

Prof. R. A. Ipinyomi

ipinyomira@yahoo.co.uk or/and raipinyomi@unilorin.edu.ng


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