by Akin Fadeyi
After engaging with security chiefs last week on return from his aborted trip to Namibia, not a few discerning minds prepared this time for the President’s clampdown on the three states: Adamawa, Borno and Yobe that were handed down emergency rule.
It remains incomprehensible that a community in Nigeria ambushed and wiped away an assemblage of security personnel under vicious circumstances best described as gory. Nothing more captures our sorry state as a nation than to admit that we were sliding to anarchy at an accelerated pace. Therefore, while President Jonathan might not tinker with the Odi-masacre-formula, the Alakyo village killings in Nasarawa state had become a rather embarrassing imperative compelling him to demonstrate to a doubting nation that he was still in charge. Nasarawa thus seem to be the climaxing catalyzing factor in the three northern states’ crackdown.
While some have applauded the President’s decision, some have criticized it and some others as usual described the preservation of “democracy” within this emergency as another tepid step leading us nowhere. It’s noteworthy that some of the reactions have as usual been polarized along party lines and interest predilections. Lai Mohammed of ACN called it “lack of original thinking’; Afenifere welcomed it, Arewa did not like it, some Niger Deltans naturally applauded it, etc etc. I look forward to the day we will hail a decision for the sole reason of altruism and collective good of all. Some of those condemning the emergency imposition now have equally lampooned government’s purported weakness and amnesty offer describing it as an alluring recipe for replicated ferocity from other society renegades. But for whatever its worth, at this critical juncture in our nation’s battered history, the buck stops at the President’s table to take a decision and this he has done!
Now that it is so convenient for everyone to blame and curse Boko Haram, how many of us have had introspections on the fact that some amongst us in this country are deadlier in thoughts, sneakier in schemes and ruthless with precision in the execution of malevolence.
Some ten years back on my way to Benin with a professional colleague, we stopped to ease ourselves in a bush some kilometres before Ore. An old man who was returning from the farm came near and with visible discomfiture urged us to hurry up. We thanked but politely asked him why? He said not far from that same spot, a couple got involved in a fatal accident and a particular towing vehicle driver rushed to the scene where the car had obviously skidded into a nearby bush. He found the wife already dead while the husband was still gasping having sustained severe injuries. The towing vehicle driver rushed there and sighted a briefcase containing some appreciable sum of naira notes. He was shocked and got enwrapped in a momentary pull of greed. He looked left and right and with no one in sight, allegedly reached for a vulcanizing jack from the victim’s vehicle. He slammed this jack on the head of the surviving husband and the man gave up whatever was left of his agonizing struggle to survive! He thereafter took the briefcase and some other valuables and drove away leaving the couples’ corpses under the flea of flies. The old man added, “Towing vehicle drivers can even lock down this your car with fetish means and you won’t leave this spot today except you pay them to tow you!” While I wouldn’t know if that was real or surreal, we heeded his advice as it was better to err on the side of caution. This towing driver who allegedly committed this vicious murder and jumped into thin air may also condemn terror on a bottle of beer in a local joint; but he is worse than a terrorist.
Our nation’s ivory towers are replete with tales of randy lecturers who insist on dating female students before awarding deserved marks. While some lecturers are commendably decent, some others have ensured principled female students who rebuffed the bait of sex for grades do not graduate. And when they “carry the course” and make endless travels back to school, some have died in crashes from our deplorable roads. Stories of victims of sexual harassments from lecturers have dominated weekend papers and some shamefully gone viral on online media. How do we describe such lecturer who caused the death of an innocent girl sent to school by her parents all because of a brazen act of sexual terrorism!
Has anyone being to the antenatal section of Orile Agege General Hospital before? Between June and September 2012, I went there twice on a covert fact-finding mission to observe their antenatal clinics based on reports bordering on bad-mannered Nurses who humiliate pregnant women with impunity. I was bewildered at how unprintable words were being hurled at the numerous pregnant women who came on antenatal. It was as if pregnancy had suddenly become delinquent and the women were “offenders” who must be dealt derogatory blows of expletives! I gathered how pregnant women anticipate their next antenatal appointments with trepidation. It’s like appointment with Golgotha. One day, I observed a weary looking expectant mother burst into tears because she had just been repeatedly lampooned by a terror-Nurse with such crude and morally un-dignifying remark I possibly cannot print here! When the patient could not take it anymore, she yelled back at the Nurse and actually asked an interesting question thus:” why are you terrorizing me!” The Nurse considered this an affront and could not believe her ears. Like a cobra whose tail has been stepped upon she shrieked at the lady: “I’ll ensure you don’t see the Doctor here today”! Of course the patient called her bluff and walked away. She did not see the Doctor! The Nurse had become an authority unto herself in a government hospital where she gets paid monthly to care for fragile souls. The Nurse was a terrorist!
The challenge of drug counterfeiting has assumed a very grave dimension in our country and has resulted in the untimely death of both the young and old in Nigeria.
In The Punch news report published March 4, 2012, it was reported that the “fake drug industry is a multi-billion naira business in Nigeria. NAFDAC’s Director of Enforcement, Mr. Garba Macdonald was quoted as saying that, in 2010 alone, the agency destroyed fake drugs worth N1.6bn; while in 2011, the total amount of substandard drugs that were confiscated and subsequently destroyed was N627m. 2011 figures reduced not because drug counterfeiting had mellowed down but because according to him, the Agency “did not carry out major destruction exercise as it did in 2010.” And it was alarming to learn from the Director General of NAFDAC, Dr. Paul Orhii that “his agency recently seized one air shipment of counterfeit drugs worth $3m, thus underscoring the dangers posed by fake drug merchants to the economy and to the consuming public”.
To be candid, nothing ordinarily would have goaded the scourge of fake drugs production other than the corruption of greed. A sane mind would naturally wonder why another insane mind will choose to terminate the life others by producing what he knows will kill him. How else can one describe the perpetrators of this crime if not Terrorists! The Punch report agrees with me as the reporter, SOLAADE AYO ADERELE alluded to” bombing” in the titling of his write-up as follows: “Fake drugs: A time bomb from which no one is safe”. Fake Drug Merchants and their collaborators are terrorists in our midst!
Not many of us will forget in a hurry the heroic demonstration of bravery from the government and citizens of America recently. When the Tsarnaev brothers dared to hit a hitherto bomb-rested United States in the tragic Boston misadventure, the government unleashed an overwhelming security machinery to restate its irrevocable zero-tolerance for terrorism. From Dogs to Robots to Cameras to a whole city lock-down, the whole world watched an unwavering nation in the act of spontaneous response to the plight of her citizens. In Nigeria, we have become prostrate even in the hands of robbers, kidnappers and adult-grabbers! We vote security funds in yearly state budgets round the tiers of governance but who dares ask what it gets spent on? Especially since only few (if any) of our leaders could boast of Thomas Jefferson’s classic integrity as he savored the “pleasure of having added nothing to his private fortune during his public service, and of retiring with hands clean as they are empty”! The nation is reading with customary derision our social script of tragi-comedy between the federal and Lagos state government over a crucial live-saving security concern as the supply and installation of CCTV Cameras purportedly valued at 40m dollars! The bemusing controversy rages on while defenseless citizens fall prey.
If our leaders were patriotic and upright and have secured every nook and cranny of the nation under security monitoring, we probably would not be in this embarrassing security comatose to the alarming extent that even armed law-enforcement officers became casualties and Prisoners of War in the Alakyo operational absurdity! If there were as much as CCTV cameras and functional streetlights everywhere, who would dare kidnap anyone? The Americans are no super-humans; but the dissimilarities between our values remain mind-boggling. While they fight the monster of crime relentlessly, we pat ours on the back with a tragic bear hug. And what do you call a government that knows what to do to secure the lives of citizens and actually has vast resources to do so but curiously fails to do so? The answer rests in a tempting alignment with the topic of this write-up; but out of reverence for those in authority, I rest my case!
Read this piece in Thisday