Tuesday, March 2, 2021
Harrisburg, PA, USA
Vlogging, Police and Extortionism

he latest pastime and even vocation of young men and women in Nigeria and Africa, is Vlogging. This is where they use video or phone cameras to record scenes or certain events and then post them on YouTube, Instagram or other outlets for public consumption.

I lately became interested in the contents they create and post. Some will show you the vlog of a trip they took, say from Abuja to Onitsha, or a vlog of a marriage ceremony in Nnewi, or vlog of a presentation event somewhere. But my favorite is the vlogs of various building estates in Africa in places like Kano, Abuja, Lagos, etc. They even show vlogs of budding businesses and young people giving their best to succeed in life.

Since I started watching the vlogs, my impression of Africa has changed. I used to think that I had no desire to travel around African nations because, having seen Nigeria, I have seen it all. These vlogs have changed my mind set and I have since started thinking of visiting places like South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and the likes. It dawned on me that while Africa may be one continent, there are staggering differences in the way folks live, work, perceive existence, etc. Moreover, the pace of development varies in various parts of Africa.

But trust Nigeria, a young Kenyan vlogger called Miss Trudy, who I have followed her contents for while, learning about Kenya and Ghana, recently visited Nigeria. For the record, she has visited other African nations and shown beautiful videos of the countries. On a visit to Nigeria, she was in Lagos, in Ikoyi, I think on Ikoyi bridge filming with her young friends. Suddenly, some members of the Nigerian police force swooped on her. Took her vlogging camera. Why you ask? According to her, they said the bridge was a private bridge. How silly.

Be aware that prior to the incident, she was already reporting how great and beautiful Nigeria is, the buildings, the water bodies and the people. In the most ebullient way, she was praising Nigeria to high heavens when they swooped and took away her camera on the pretext that she was filming on a private property. According to her, it took begging, cajoling, trying to assure the police that she was showing Nigeria in positive light for them to finally release her camera two hours later. You could see the dejection on her face and voice. The once ebullient disposition she was displaying before, was wiped away.

Now, we all know what they want. If she had parted with a wad of naira, they would have let her go for sure. So while they occupied themselves with a harmless vlogger, meanwhile, somewhere in Lagos, criminals are marauding, kidnapping, stealing and shooting.

Now, the young lady will go back to Kenya with a bad tale of Nigeria and her police and we wonder why Nigeria continues to stack up back name and reputation in international circles. The vlogging videos I have seen help highlight positive things in every nation. Of course, that does not mean they will look away from something bad going on, they will talk about it too.

By this commentary, I am hoping that the inspector of police there will find time to fish out the police men that engaged in this andinvestigate. To make Nigeria better, there should be zero tolerance of this type of behavior. I recall that in 2016, when I travelled to Nigeria with my wife, when we were about to check out of Murtala Muhammed airport, the lady that checked her bag pointed out some food stuff in her bag and started speaking in a lingo that, in my mind, meant “grease our palm”. I was upset. While they were talking, I retreated and whipped out my phone camera. I convinced myself that if they must force her to give them anything, I would capture it and make a commentary every one would see. I did not hide the fact that I was filming. I could tell that it made the lady relent. That is the type of corruption we see everywhere in Nigeria and it should be rejected intoto.

Meanwhile, vlogging has become a veritable employment source for many young Nigerians and Africans. They monetize their content on YouTube, if it is original, and for each vlog series they post, and depending on the number of subscribers they have, they get paid. So, some hitherto jobless Africans now have income stream via vlogging. What is the harm there? Why would the police start harassing them when the government will not create jobs for them? This should stop!

Members of the police force should find better things to do, fight crime and if they don’t see crime, then go help the army in the northeast


Author of the books- 1. Nigeria: Contemporary Commentaries and Essays

2. Surviving in Biafra: The Story of the Nigerian Civil War