Opinion: Bullying – The Nigerian epidemic

by Adewoyin Joseph

school pupils

…If bullying is rightly defined as an intimidation of a weaker person, then I believe that a move towards being a stronger person is a good start.

Silently walking through the field, beneath the huge mango trees, dripping and sending cold shivers through, I advanced towards my abode. The breeze was extremely soporific. A sleep is definitely in view.

From afar, I could faintly hear some voices; one sounding more like a distress call. With each step I take the voices get clearer until I finally arrived the scene.

Picture this; a tall moderately built boy, shabbily dressed, cornering another boy – a very short and frail one – to the wall. The cornered was struggling and pleading for mercy. Another watched as the drama unfolds, aiding the tall, abetting the act, blocking the short whenever he attempts to bolt. All in uniforms.

The culprits made efforts to pretend it was just a play at the sight of the fourth party by trying to turn into talented movie producers…. or what do you call someone who tries to turn an horror movie into a comedy-romance movie with just one scene? It unequivocally proved futile; too late now. Even if they had tried harder, the mien of the victim says it all.


I’ve seen scenes like this during my high school days. I know exactly what it’s like. I just don’t know the terrible nonsense is still in much practice.

After much thought, it occurred to me that those scenes from the past are simply long things. We see and come in contact with bullies and the act of bullying everyday. It has proved ubiquitous and epidemic – calling it an endemic is bias and insincere, another long thing.

Bullying is the use of force or coercion to abuse or intimidate others. If bullying is rightly defined as an intimidation of a weaker person, then I believe it is not just limited to schools…. or silly students in uniforms. Permit me to be a little dramatic in the few paragraphs that follow.

The home is a good start. I’ll call it scene one. I’ve seen parents who chase their kids away from the comfortable three-seater chair in the living room just because they want to relax comfortably (at the expense of their very own child). “Junior, move on to the other chair, Daddy wants to rest.” That’s where it starts! You’re probably thinking, “Aww! That’s not nice.”

Bullies are not nice. That’s a fact.

Scene two presents the child above in his school with a ruthless macho-boy in his class who demands his food every break time (some even complain the food is small or not so delicious)… else Mr Macho hits someone repeatedly, probably break something. You’ll see advanced version of this in most tough boarding schools, just ask the victims.

Bullies are simply cruel…and that’s another fact.

You will agree with me that we are not all privileged to have (rich) parents who drive their child(ren) home from school everyday in cars (posh or punished). To all whose childhood and secondary school days ever involved “lapping” in commercial buses (two to three students per transport fare…on one seat spot), this is for you…sorry, us. We all know how inconvenient it used to be. Another scene is present therein…

A little hindsight I beg of you. On one of such ‘glorious days’ you’re fully loaded in the bus (the usual packed-like-sardine) and on a queue in a filling station. You’re sweating already, anticipating movement because the weights on your laps are crushing and fresh air won’t circulate (except the odoriferous version). The sound from a siren got your attention and in no time three police vehicles claimed your spot (abi you wan’ tok?), fuelled, then zoomed off.

If you see no bullying in that, I agree with you. They are government workers…Yes.. They need to discharge their duties speedily…Yes. The nature of their job requires that…Yes. Bla-bla-bla, I know that…please hold on.

Your bus finally refuelled (the regular 5litres…or less) and moved a short distance, allowing you to adjust briefly before it stopped. Three familiar police vehicles on a check point caught your attention, causing further traffic congestion. The men in uniforms were really discharging their duties; pocketing twenty naira notes is not an easy job (I think they’ve upgraded to fifty naira now).

Yes, bullies are inconsiderate. They can be are thieves!

The instances are so vast as it pervades practically all major parts and institutions of the society. So many political bullies; countless executive bullies (execu-thieves); even religious bullies. Putting them all down in scenes can be likened to writing a season film in a blog; a pretty long thing!

The combination of several scenes like these begets that drama/film I detest – BULLYING. That doesn’t bother me so much. What bothers more is that it is gradually becoming a best selling film. You need the stats? It’s not far-fetched. Painstakingly observe your environment for one week. Hopefully, you won’t feature in a scene or two yourself.

Really, the statistics and figures are not as important as the way forward. Again, if bullying is rightly defined as an intimidation of a weaker person, then I believe that a move towards being a stronger person is a good start. Stronger in this context means uptight standing, awareness of individual rights, disposition to appropriate bodies…among others. An addition to that is proper and commensurate sanctioning of bullies irrespective of their station (e.g. not giving an option of N250,000 fine to someone who embezzled N32.5billion pension fund).

I almost forgot to tell you, I punished the two good-for-nothing-fool-at-fifteen-maybe-sixteen miscreants. Six strokes of the cane each (not doled out by me, I only arranged it as a good project manager *EvilGrin*) and three days of interesting exercise on the school field (the kind of exercise done with a cutlass).


Adewoyin Joseph blogs at [email protected] and tweets from @Jossef69


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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