On Nigeria Police and other security agencies
By Samuel Noah Oluwafemi
Thursday, January 26, 2012

Late Ojukwu

There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.- Albert Einstein. Albert Einstein; an all-time inscrutable scholar, in the context of my thought summarized this article in the fore-going witty axiom. Nigeria, like so many other countries within the Africa region seems to be fulfilling a part of this truism while other rational countries are on the other divide.

In advanced climes where everything works without agitation or demand from the populace, citizens have been relieved of the burden of having to call on God to solve all their problems including those He has already delegated. For example, citizens do not have to trust God for basic amenities that should define the existence of humans in the first place.

The opposite, however, holds true for Nigeria. We have to pray and ask God just about anything ranging from putting roof over our heads, to putting food on our tables, and providing clothes for us to put on. We also trust Him to be our security personnel – I only wonder how much we will be willing to pay Him for all these services at the end of the month, if He were to charge us or remove subsidy from them. Amusingly, we now even pray for him to turn water into petrol after he has given us the resource in large quantity!

While the developed climes have used their ingenuity to better the living condition of the larger percentage of the populace, ours have been the opposite. While citizens in economies that have applied the principles of love, integrity and trust are enjoying the eventual benefits, Nigerians often will have to seek God’s face for miracles in order to ave such benefits. Therefore, as the great scientist puts it, there are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle – just in the case of access to basic amenities by most people in developed world. The other is as though everything is a miracle – obviously this resonates with our condition in Nigeria.

One of such conditions we obviously live in today is in the area of safety. Safety in this context is not restricted to the recent threat from Boko Haram but most importantly, this has to do with those who are paid to defend and ensure we are secured. An average Nigerian now trusts a vigilante over men of the Nigerian Police Force. The reason, however, is not far-fetched as police and some other security agencies have proven anti-people in critical moments when Nigerians are in dire need of their services.

Each time I read in the dailies of how Nigerians are killed over discomfited arguments with our national security operatives, I get disturbed. Within October 2011 to January 2012 alone, over five Nigerians have been buried from the killings of trigger-happy Nigerian policemen. On Sunday 16th October 2011 for example, Victor Emmanuel, 20years, was guned down while coming from Church on the account of challenging a police request of some sort in Bayelsa State. Most gruesome of the story is the killing of this 20-year-old right before Mrs. Victor Grace, the mother; a woman who has for 20 good years nurtured the young man.

As it is our culture to respond to issues while the memory is still fresh, House of Representative adopting a motion sponsored by Honorable Warman Ogoriba (PDP, Bayelsa), mandated its committees on Police, Human Rights and Justice to investigate the matter and report back in two weeks. That was in October 2011. We hope a report has been submitted and not just submitted, but the appropriate action taken against the culprit. I am sure most Nigerians will want to know what the current development about the case is.

Between that incident in October last year and January 2012, many other inhumane acts have been committed by the men of the Nigeria Police. Report has it that from January 1 to January 14 alone, not less than 4 people have been confirmed dead through the bullets of our supposed security custodians. Ademola Aderinto, 25, on the 9th of January 2012, though not part of the protest for the fuel subsidy removal, but playing football with friends in the Agege area of Lagos, was reported to have been shot and consequently died in his own pool of blood!

What is the worth of a Nigerian life to a Nigerian police? It was confirmed that another of those shot at the same venue as Ademola later died in the hospital that same day and others sustained several degrees of injuries. The police officials at the nearest station which happens to be the division in which the concerned culprit is attached even refused giving out a police report in order for hospital to treat the others who were also wounded until a reporter intervened.

While we wait on the House of Reps on their enquiry into the killing of Victor Emmanuel, we also hope Lagos State commissioner of Police will ensure that justice is done to the killer of Ademola and others who have been fell by the bullets of our security personnel. Above all, we hope the Inspector General of Police and other security chiefs will find lasting solution to this.
I sincerely hope that one day; Nigerians will not need a miracle in order to enjoy the benefits of the Nigeria police and other security agencies.

Oluwafemi writes from Lagos

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