On Buhari, the celebrity dog and the Nigerian Police- Niran Adedokun

On Buhari, the celebrity dog and the Nigerian Police- Niran Adedokun

Stories like the unfolding drama in Ogun State, where a man got arrested and is, according to newspaper reports, on his way to appearing in court on Monday, give you a sense of the very deep trouble that we are in as a nation.

The only thing more frightening is that most of us are so sunken into the wells of ethnic, religious and political biases that we have dug for ourselves; we do not even see the trouble.

So a man, Joachim Chinakwe, from Delta State, who lives somewhere in Ogun States names his dog Buhari, which accidentally happens to be the name of the Nigeria’s president and the father of one of Chinakwe’s neighbour.

The neighbour, whose name is given as Kalilu reports the dog owner to the police alleging that the motive was to taunt him by not just naming the dog after his father, writing the name on both sides of the dog but also walking the dog in the midst of the Hausa community of the area where they both live.

The police picked up Chinakwe onSaturday and dumped him in a cell for initial three days. He got released, spent a day or two with his family but got arrested again on Thursday to spend the weekend in police custody. He will be arraigned in court on Monday for what police said was enough to cause a disturbance to public peace by setting the Igbo and Hausa populations against each other.

Although he will be appearing in court on Monday, the police claimed that the dog owner is currently being held as a protective measure from the Hausa community even after he had explained that he named his dog after Nigeria’s president in recognition of the fortitude which is common with the president and his dog.


This latest arrest and the likely arraignment which was confirmed by the Acting spokesperson for the Ogun State police Command, Abimbola Oyeyemi indicate that the police found the story of Chinakwe’s accusers more persuasive.

But here are the issues? Does the father of Kalilu, (who is said to be from Niger Republic) live in the same neighbhourhood, such that Chinakwe’ knows him? Has there been any form of altercation or even disaffection between the dramatis personae to sustain the accusation of intent to taunt? If not, is Kalilu’s father the only person with the name Buhari such that adopting same for the dog must be out of a plan to slight him and his father?

And about raising ethnic tension, what gives the northern people in the area the right to get angry over the name Buhari, which is an Arabic name to which people of any ethnicity can answer. I, at least know a few Yoruba people who go by the name, so what is the appropriation about? Finally, while, given our cultural values, we could accuse the dog owner of maybe disrespect, we clearly cannot say he has done anything illegal by naming his dog after anyone.

Which brings me to the involvement of the police?  As is usual, the police is already turning this case on its head by accusing Chinakwe  of perpetrating an action capable of disrupting public peace. This, I guess, should make us clap for the police, since they seem to be preemptively nipping  an ethnic crisis in the bud, but there is a contradiction. If you are really protecting this man from harm, why lock him in a cell over the weekend, why take him to court on Monday?

And what is this court business about actually? Unless that there is some information not in the public domain on this matter, it is clear that the dog owner had no intention of causing any strive. If we agree, as it seems to appear that we live in a country where people do not have the rights to personal decisions, then the police should just have settled this matter for the parties rather than instituting a court case, especially now that the man claim that is dog has been killed. Who says that this court case will not escalate ethnic sentiments that were not there hitherto now that the police is charging an Igbo man to court over a matter that they have absolute authority to resolve. Why further bog down an already congested court system over trifles like this? Why is the same police force, which could not resolve the abduction of a teenage girl until it became a global mess almost one year later so quickly drag a man to court over an issue that village heads can resolve.

My take is that the police force does still not understand its own purpose. The police are a public institution that serves all the people of a state or country and not the government or a select group of people. The police should get this right and not instigate a crisis, where they shouldn’t be any.

Follow me on twitter @niranadedokun

About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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