I am naturally, an incurable optimist. Therefore, I see quantity of liquid in the glass cup as half-full rather than half-empty, as per the perspective of the folks on the other side of the divide.
So much, too much, that ought to be right, is wrong with my beloved country Nigeria. I grieve so much for the seemingly permanently parlous state-of-affairs of the Giant in the Sun, Giant of Africa, and the populous black nation in the world. It is indeed a saddening spectre that Nigeria bears.
I passionately believe in Nigeria. Indeed, I am most proud of Nigeria. I have a spiritual connection with Nigeria that is neither the doing of the National Anthem nor the National Pledge. And because I love Nigeria so, it breaks my heart so that she is a victim of serial rapists, who callously debase in her values.
But while I am deeply concerned about my Fatherland (Motherland?), I am equally deeply concerned about the potentially-debilitating effects on my health. I am most discretionary about giving rein to excessive grieve (and even excessive joy), that could encourage hypertension, heart attack, stroke and death. I am useless to Nigeria in ill-health or death, therefore, I apply a heavy dose of my rich stock of optimism to enable me cope with the endless cycle of suffering Nigeria endures.
But in spite of all, one’s blood boils too often that is healthy at the aberrations that abound in the land armed Police teams that brazenly extort money from commercial motorists/tricyclists/motorcyclists and casually issue them numbers as receipts. Military anti-crime motorised patrol teams in Lagos, Op Mesa, that have made driving against traffic, siren blaring, and regular visits to the offices of the National Unions of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) to pick up settlement, like their Police counterparts, a part of their routine. Personnel of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), who gladly trade in precious lives and limbs by routinely demanding and accepting varying sums of money from motorists to turn a blind eye to various offences along the Badagry Expressway, before Badagry Roundabout for vehicles arriving from Seme Border Post and from the neigbouring countries; and at Ogere along the Lagos Ibadan Expressway for vehicles exiting the commercial city of Lagos.
And what about what has become near-seasonal violent confrontations, between members of the military and paramilitary, particulars between the Nigerian Army (NA) and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF). Clashes that leave death and destruction in their wakes, and followed by official inquiries, which woefully fail to prosecute particular institution(s) or person(s) as a deterrent to future occurrences. The destruction of NPF Lagos State Command Area ‘C’ Headquarters along Western Avenue, Surulere, by soldiers from the nearby NA Abalti Barracks, along the same Western Avenue, allegedly aided by hoodlums, the ubiquitous area boys, readily come to mind. And more recently, the murder of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), and Divisional Crime Officer (DCO) and another officer, all of the Badagry Police Station, at the Ibereko Army Barracks, in retaliation over the alleged fatal shooting of a soldier on smuggling runs by Policemen along a section of Badagry Expressway.
The clash of the uniforms in Nigeria plays out like a typical schoolyard playground, where bullies reign, and the average pupil’s access to the facilities are determined by providence, sheer luck, capabilities and affiliations. At the bottom of the ladder are the mass of the civil populace, consigned there by the many years of military rule, and by the various uniformed services sanctioned either by the Federal Government, or the various states or local governments.
For me, I see a quirky sense of justice (and I derive immense personal pleasure, I must confess) when Nigeria’s uniformed class turn their violent ways on themselves, rather their usual victims the hapless throng of civilians. I see the victims this time around as getting their comeuppance, a case of getting a dose of their own medicine. I shed no tears when well-armed Policemen invaded the facilities of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Taraba State, leaving sorrows, tears and blood in their wake.
Yes, as a normal human being, I felt the death of the Badagry Police Division officers.
(Cont’d next week)
By Obiajulu Agu
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