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The Honourable assault and the rest of us

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Nigerian Police

Nigerian Police

Sir: Let us revisit the alleged assault on a female member of the House of Representatives, Mrs. Onyemaechi Mrakpor. While totally condemning the alleged act, I am moved to question, why the anger, interest, total condemnation and summon of the Minister of Interior and Nigerian Prison boss? Are these lawmakers even in Nigeria? Are they aware of the treatment the rest of us are subjected to on daily basis?

I momentarily took myself on a mental excursion to previous events I have either witnessed, experienced and, or read/heard about; the encounter of the lawmaker does not even sufficiently define the magnitude of terrible treatments other Nigerians face every time from security officers. Be it Army or Air Force officers, Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Police Force, Civil Defence, Immigration Officers, Prison Service, Federal Road Safety, Nigeria Customs officers, Vigilante groups or even Man O War, the story is the same and in Fela’s words – they leave sorrow, tears and blood as their regular trademark.

There seems to be a spirit that comes upon security officers the moment they put on their uniforms. That same spirit instantly makes them serial oppressors; they suddenly become super-humans and from then on their relationship with civilians is a prey/predator situation.

Take our highways as a case, if you are pulled over by the Police, military officers or any security agent, you have to in your best interest act as a mannequin; one cannot as much as argue his own date of birth, complexion or even what you had for breakfast if you are avoiding battery.

In Benin City, it is almost an abomination to drive a flashy car when you are or look below age 35. The police will pull you over and charge you with driving while young (IDWY). This I have not only witnessed but experienced. In their wisdom and in my view, their lack of it, young people driving flashy cars must have engaged in dishonest ventures to afford such cars.

There are two kinds of evil people: those who do evil things; and those who are aware of evil things being done, have the power to stop it, but don’t even try to. The brutality of security officers in Nigeria has been on for decades unchecked and aided by the silence of our lawmakers until now that it has got to one of their own.

Doing nothing has consequences too. It is the seemingly harmless traces we leave behind that can later be used to destroy us. Our national leaders should know that what goes around may take a long time. In the end, it would come around.

Emmanuel Onofua,
Abuja, FCT


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