Nigeria is fast becoming one of those countries where freedom of expression is non-existent. First, it was the arrest of a political blogger Mr. Abubakar Sidiq who was detained over alleged cyber stalking by DSS and next it is the arrest of a man who named his dog Buhari. His story in brief is below:
Joe Fortemose Chinakwe, a 41years old trader in Ogun state was arrested for naming his dog Buhari. Chinakwe is a lover of dogs and he named them after things that tickle him. At least that is what Vanguard news reported. There are also reports that he named his dog buhari due to his love for President Muhammadu Buhari. It was said that he bought this dog a year ago and named it Buhari. Unfortunately, some Northerners, who dominated the vicinity where he resided misconstrued his intention and connived to take him up. The complainant then claimed it was derogatory because his father is called Alhaji Buhari. Chinakwe was eventually released from detention. But was re- arrested again on Friday 19 August.
The police are alleging that his actions can incite breach of peace and ethnic or religious crisis. It was said that he inscribed Buhari on both sides of the dog’s body. There are also reports that Chinakwe asked his friends to slaughter the dog and eat it to erase the evidence. Presently, the dog has not been seen but the Police is positive that the dog will emerge as the dog can only follow the owner.
Nigeria is becoming more interesting by the day and while on the one hand it can be argued that Chinakwe’s actions was disrespectful to his neighbour who goes by the name Alhaji Buhari. For he cannot deny the fact that he did not know his neighbour went by the name Alhaji Buhari.
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However, does it amount to an offence to name your dog or pet whatever name you so choose? What has happened to our freedom of expression? And the Nigerian Police? They are the biggest embarrassment of all time. Does naming of a dog amount to an offence. They were quick to call it inciting breach of peace and ethnic or religious crisis. Only time will tell. But it brings me to another angle of this issue. Former First Lady of Nigeria Dame Patience Jonathan suffered a lot of abuses and jokes in the hands of Nigerians and no one and I repeat no one was prosecuted. That was when democracy was real and practical but as it is today it appears some elements of democracy is missing. The Nigerian Police Force are behaving like military men without regard for the rights of citizens. Meanwhile, this matter is not a criminal matter but one of misunderstanding between neighbors which at best can and should be resolved in a civil manner. And if you are not cut out for the Nigerian movie home video drama then at best never name your dog, pet or a storm Buhari for the following reasons:
- The northerners living within your vicinity will have you prosecuted or reign violence and terror down on you. (And when they are done, they would claim incitement and go scout free.)
- The Police will assist in prosecuting you even if it is not a crime, they would always find an offence to charge you with.
- Finally, the last and most important of them all: It is the President’s name, thus anything can happen. You might end up spending a long time behind bars and being an ex-convict when you are out with no gain whatsoever to your name.
If you think the above reasons are ridiculous then do name your dog Buhari and argue while in police custody that in civilized and developed countries people name their dogs after celebrities and other famous people and don’t get arrested for it. For instance Kendall and Kylie Jenner named their dogs after the popular designers Dolce and Gabbana.