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Irony of a nation: officers in same agencies that protect Buhari’s family kill citizens at will
Distinguished readers, there is no doubt that Nigeria is a complex entity, its leaders and citizens are propellers of its complexity. Thousands of people who once believed that the country will be better with time have allowed the sad narratives of the country to devour their hopes. They have watched hopelessly how greedy men of no conscience exploit her resources and how the future owners of these resources defend the atrocities of these greedy men.
The battle between the elite and the masses may never end and sufferings of the ordinary Nigerians increase on daily basis. The battle was formerly against bad governance, poverty, greediness and arbitrary use of power but now that bars of evil and wickedness have increased, the battle is now for survival.
According to statistics, the Nigeria Police Force is the principal law enforcement agency in Nigeria with a staff strength of approximately 370,000. The estimated population of the country as at 2019 is 200 million. After the removal of police officers attached to politicians, public officers, banks, wealthy and affluent persons, it can be simply put that “one policeman is responsible for the protection of 1000 citizens”. Yet, the force is dominated by the bribe-taking, alcohol-taking, medically and mentally unfit police officers in a nation battling with terrorism, armed robbery, kidnapping, cultism and other social vices. For every 1000 citizens of Nigeria, there’s one bribe-taking, drunk and mentally unfit police officer responsible for their safety.
Some weeks ago, a video titled “the rich also cry” emerged from ASO-ROCK; the seat of power and the wife of the President of Nigeria now first lady, Aisha Buhari is seen lamenting about the presence of heavy security operatives in the presidential villa. She told Nigerians that there are more than 200 soldiers, police officers, officials of the department of state security and other security agencies in the presidential villa protecting the first family. Literally saying that security officers are surplus and doubles the population of both the nuclear and extended relatives of the president, vice-president and top aides.
Security is vital and the seat of power should be the most secured place in the country. This is exclusively for the protection of the nation’s dignity from defiants and enemies of the state. As many as security officers are, they do not misfire inspite of allegations of numerous access to bribes and feasts held severally. Have you ever read stories of “Trigger-happy police officers accidentally shot sons and daughters of top public officers or aides? While the first lady of the nation laments about the presence of heavy security in their domain, millions of Nigerians laments over insecurity and incessant kidnapping and armed robbery. While the first lady of the nation laments over restricted movements, citizens mourn their loved ones killed by trigger-happy policemen.
Few days ago, my editor-in-chief sent a video file to me and I was ashamed of being a Nigerian after watching the said video. A yet-to-be identified woman was profusely weeping and lamenting the death of her elder brother who was allegedly killed by an official of NDLEA in Lagos. The deceased was the son of a widow who lost her husband 17 years ago. As painful as the death of her brother was, the silence of the government and how injustice prevailed made her sober. The video was a complete tragic one. If the video was not sent to us, we would not have seen and watched it, there are hundreds of similar incidents that happened and not heard of.
The story of the woman is very similar to the stories of many disadvantaged Nigerians whose relatives were murdered in cold blood by the same people responsible for their safety. There are several incidents where police officers looked at citizens, pulled their guns and shot them at close range. The most recent of this ugly incident happened on June 4, 2019 where one Christian Onuoha was shot in the chest at close range by a drunk police officer. Another incident occured in Lagos state where one Kolade Johnson was fatally shot by two police officers because of his dreadlocks. Another video emerged on August 21, 2019 where anti-robbery operatives shot dead unarmed suspected thieves in Lagos. An Okada rider was shot dead on the streets of Surulere in Lagos by trigger-happy policeman on March 25th, 2019. These are tens out of hundreds of extrajudicial killings and abuse of police powers in the country which unfortunately have not been addressed.
Apart from the unjust killings of citizens perpetuated by security agents in the country, perpetrators of these wicked and evil acts walk freely in the same locality of the said incident except the officer who murdered Kolade Johnson in cold blood who has been dismissed and currently remanded in Ikoyi prison while family members, friends and loved ones of the victims are thrown into unending agony. There was a country, a mere geographical expression and modernised abbatoir called Nigeria.