In February 2013, soldiers were deployed to supress a protest by students of the Nasarawa State University. Not surprisingly, there were provocations and reactions. At the end of the ensuing fracas, four students were murdered by the soldiers. Later on, the state government and the army brass would deny deploying the soldiers. At the end of it all, four Nigerian students died and nobody could determine who gave orders to the soldiers.
A similarly mysterious scenario had occurred the previous year. At the dusk of the Occupy Nigeria protest, soldiers had appeared overnight on the streets of Lagos ready to deal with any anti-subsidy removal bravado. The state government denied inviting the military, and the military denied acting unilaterally.
This involvement of the military in post-1999 democratic Nigeria is not unusual. In 2005, as a student in the University of Lagos, I had witnessed a restive period which resulted in a…
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