Which way Nigeria? Sunny Okoson once sang. Truer words have never been uttered.
Less than a week ago, news broke. Eyewitnesses confirmed that a driver delivering telecoms equipment to a site at Patigi, Kwara State, was stopped by some policemen who allegedly asked him for money. On refusing to ‘roger’, it is said the driver was shot in the arm. This, as expected, led to a couple of events; however, unexpectedly, the end of this train of events was shocking!
Eyewitnesses confirmed that residents of the locality quickly arrived the scene, questioned what had happened and without waiting for any law enforcement officer, turned on the Policemen. It is further said that the Policemen fled, leaving behind one of them. This last one of the pack, pictured above from Linda Ikeji’s blog, was beaten mercilessly, stripped half-naked and tied into what seemed like a contorted, sacrificial lamb.
Many Nigerians have expressed their hundred per cent joy over this. However, not this writer. This occurrence to me is indicative that the Nigerian society has degenerated into total lawlessness. It is only a matter of time before this lawlessness gravitates into what the world has witnessed in places like Somalia, Cote D’Ivoire, Egypt, Syria, to mention a few.
In any case, before I launch further into my kill-joy writing (as most find this a joyful occurrence), let me state on a lighter side that there were some good points from this incident. Good points in that, at last, the people of this great nation have shown signs of refusing to be deceived by uniforms or threatened by weapons; they chose right irrespective of who the Victor or Vanquished was, they accepted their unity rather than divisions over tribe, religion, ethnicity, sexuality; etc. At last, they came together against what was a societal ill right where they were – their locality.
Though the above points are worthy of loud praise, the sad points weigh my spirit down in silence. This is sad because, despite how pathetic Nigeria is and even the evil perpetuated by this Policeman and his ‘gang’, no one has the right to strip a person of his human rights and dignity. The proper thing would have been to apprehend him and in a right-thinking nation, report him to the authorities; but there again, Nigeria cannot be defined by either ‘right’ or ‘thinking’; hence this takes us back to an even worse situation.
One finds that if the mob had chosen to do what was right by taking this Policeman to a Police station, the following are possible scenarios of what would ensue: first, the Policeman would have been freed by his ilk! Secondly, those who apprehended the Policeman would have been victims of severe human rights abuse. Thirdly, some (if not all) from the mob would have been framed and thrown into cells to spend what would become some of the most horrendous days of their lives; and in the end, they would be made to bail themselves with monies they lack and their stories would fail to get a mention from the press or even rumormongers because of some silly excuses like ‘e don pass joor’ or ‘let by-gones be gy-gones’ or because they don’t lack the money to ‘inspire’ such reporting or the connections to enforce it!
In all this, those who celebrate this story fail to realize the saddest part of it all: if Nigeria is the nation we have seen it to be, then, another gang of Policemen shall visit that locality and inflict upon her the wrath of men empowered to carry weapons. They would be plundering, rape, arson and lastly, no news about all this. So, why rejoice over a thing as this?
In the end, how does a sane person cope with Nigeria? To go ahead and join the mob to assault the Policeman or to push for the ‘proper’ thing of reporting to the authorities, only to have justice not delivered? Perhaps, this situation buttresses the point – The Nigerian society in the most subtle ways denies all her citizens sanity as there is clearly no possible route for one’s conscience to be free.