Friday, February 7, 2020
South Sudan

oliticians’ best friends are a set of overzealous, frenzied, and hyperactive armed people in glittering uniform blushingly obeying their orders. You may think that this is a flattering statement, but it is hinged on facts. The latest addition to these outlaws is the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), who were recently empowered to carry guns. To outshine the police and announce their arrival, NSCDC has embarked on killing spree. Recently, one senatorial candidate of the Action Alliance in Imo North was killed by NSCDC officer assigned to protect him. The shot which killed the student was said to have been fired accidentally by the officer who was guarding a local politician on a campaign trail. Another NSCDC officer also killed a 100-level student of Petrochemical engineering from Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State.

It is now normative for rich people to die in an arrangement they conceived. One DJ Khalid was killed by his bike while a certain Yusuf Buhari almost died on his power bike. Kobe Byrant died in his helicopter while this Nigerian politician died in the hands of security operative he contracted. The reason for starting this article with these two sordid incidents is because politicians have turned security operatives to private militias.

Every death in itself is painful let alone the one dies from avoidable death primarily hinged on utter negligence. Why was this trigger-happy official shooting into the air if not to oppress and harass? All over the world, virus by its nature mutate but our own virus would not mutate even for good. Virus by their nature feeds and preys on the host and will never kill host but the Nigerian virus eats off the host. The security operatives paid to protect us are maiming and killing the innocent. A man armed with a killer instrument such as a rifle ought to be avoided at all cost. This is the aftermath of slow learning and what genre of politician is that who feels comfortable when loose vermin around him are shooting and firing dangerously away like binge rats. How does one weave his head around this insanity?

Across the land, human life has no value and death has become a kobo. On daily basis, someone must perish at the hands of security agents. Lives being wasted in the afternoon of their sojourn through the barrel of the guns acquired with tax payer’s money; guns pointed at those it is supposed to protect. But denial is a coping mechanism, and our leaders are comfy with this. Instructively, every leader inscribes his own history. There exists a foundational problem where some advantaged people feel that the security forces should only protect them, their loot and their minions; at least practically wrenching the security pedals from the state and converted it to their own use is one example.

How often do these trigger-happy security goons go for rifle-shooting test or refresher course let alone psychological test? This can only happen in a country where live bullets are used like confetti in a wedding ceremony. It is like learning China language in Russia because they will not understand. What business do guns have in a political rally? Any politician with high self-worth would detest the presence of trigger-happy security agents around him in a gathering like this but they are conflicted and undignified. Is this not viewed as existential threat by the politician? Is the Nigerian security apparatchik not woven to serve all the Nigerians equally? How can the powerless public quarantine from the ravenous intentions of the powerful?

Amidst a rash of insecurity, government is intent of misusing the security forces and precisely the police by allowing exclusive usage of this resource by the affluent. A country with an estimated population of 180 million is beleaguered with a police force staff strength of about 370,000 and this negates the UN’s recommendation of police to people ratio of 1:450. I will not be branded a wailer if I say that the police monolith is grossly over-stretched and overwhelmed. This microscopic number of police force is shared by several competing banks in Nigeria with branches and sub branches in all state capitals and every local government headquarters; Diplomatic Missions and foreign embassies; giant blue-chip telecommunication companies such as Glo, MTN, Airtel, Mobile 9 etc whose communications masts are guarded.

There are 774 LGA Chairmen in Nigeria and each has police escort; Senators and Members of House of Reps with their retinue of aides and special assistants, 36 state governors and their deputies with their wives, children and sidekicks, Chairmen of Federal government parastatals, Chairman of State parastatals; State commissioners, Judges/Magistrates, Party chairmen and party paladins; political godfathers, sports and Nollywood celebrities; Pastors and Imams, modern day money-bags; successful businessmen and expatriates working in oil companies. This is aside of traditional rulers, Vice Chancellors and their deputies of Government and private universities, polytechnics and a host of other institutions of higher learning.

The FG owns 43 Federal universities, while the states own 52. There are 79 Private universities as well and this leave a total of 174 universities in Nigeria. Add this number to big public buildings like shoprite, night clubs and hotels, Electronic and print media houses, Churches and Mosques, police deployed on armed escort duties, police sent abroad for UN foreign missions; Insurance companies and other SMEs dealing with raw cash, Yahoo boys who have just arrived and other dubious individuals that suddenly made fortunes. Do a rough Math and imagine how many police officers are actually out there in the streets protecting you and I.

There is a reason why slave owners won’t allow their slaves to partake from the general good. Politicians won’t bat an eyelid for the common man. The ruling class is conflicted. Depraved, degraded and debased and that is why most of them surround themselves with body guards. Peace, self-esteem and security form man’s most valued needs. But this cannot be true when the Commander-in-chief fails in his duty and becomes consoler-in-chief.

The cycle continues - Today’s survivors are tomorrow’s victims.