The first time the Commander-In Chief of the Armed Forces said there were no bad soldiers but bad officers, some of us did a double flip because it came from no less a man than a general that became the head of state in a democratic setting. We all know that was OBJ talking as the head of the Army and leader of “elected” government. He also alerted us to the fact that Nigerian Police were recruiting creeps that became armed robbers. Praise or knock the man, we got that much out of him. God is not coming down to save Nigerians, only Nigerians can save Nigerians. When soldiers kill police and officers kill officers in a coup we know they are coming after us to get their hands into our pocket or drain the living souls out of us. They will not limit it to themselves, once indiscipline creeps up, it knows no bound. If these brute can kill members of the Armed Forces, what defense does unarmed civilians have?
Just to avoid responsibility, some so called unknown soldiers were responsible for the senseless killing of policemen and some unknown policemen might also have been responsible for the brutal killing of civilians. How many of these officers have been publicly humiliated for riots, civilian abuse or taking bribes? But if they staged a coup and their superiors got a wind of it, they are executed. So it is more honorable for soldiers to kill police; for soldiers, ratings and police to kill bloody civilians than to stage a coup. It goes to show that if we are determined to solve a problem, we know what to do but will not do it. When we tolerate indiscipline in such places as the Army, Navy or Police where law and order is paramount to the command structure, we should not be surprised that it flows into the polity and reaches our future generation, which are our precious children. They watch us, want to be like us and emulate our ways. The message they are getting from politicians and top brass of the Armed Forces is that violence pays, as our society full of civilized people.
A few years ago, some junior police officers went to the House of Representative in Abuja explaining the reasons they had to take bribe to service their vehicles, bribe their way into juicy posting at road blocks and make returns to the officers. Nothing has happened since these junior police risked it all to testify and the Commander-In-Chief so noted in separate circumstances. We know what the problem is in our Country and we also know the solution. We have to shout and write about so many times hoping some newly elected president would listen. We are trying to transfer to a civilized form of Government with minimum use of force in the polity, prove to the world that cabinet system of government started in Oyo Empire before others came about it. However, as we take three steps forward, some evil forces want to pull us back one or more steps than achieved. Africa was not born yesterday so we are not young democracy but people full of intellect and culture behaving as if we are in civil training asking others to help us save us from ourselves. Our violence to one another is repulsive.
Can anyone hear us? We yell, complain and write to death hoping some powerful man will finally pick it up as Sanusi, Governor of Central Bank did on jumbo pay. The same goes for all political appointments not only for House and Senate. Our Armed Forces and our politicians abuse, milk and dimed from us for every little blood in our veins, every little kobo in our pocket and drive our precious children out through the desert looking for greener pastures where there is none. Ebele, do you see us, hear us or you do not know what you are elected to clean up? We voted for you massively irrespective of our political or ethnic leaning. Please do not betray us. Many of us want to see Nigeria at its best right now, not tomorrow, not in ten years, not in fifty years. We want it while alive not in our graves by the time it is too late. Pensioners waited forever and died in their grave receiving nada! Nigeria is the only country where politicians from Abuja and different state capitals brag about how much they collect in taxes, take cocoa bags to collect salaries but nothing to show for it. So soldiers and police make theirs by road blocks.
We can raise consciousness against violence by public announcements (PSA). Some of the states use it when they pay public relation officers and advertisers more money to trumpet paying salaries to their workers, constructing roads, providing buses, schools to children, building hospitals and elephant projects. What are politicians suppose to be in government for in the first place? Violence prevention have to be introduced to children at an early age in school at home to gain ground on the street but more importantly by example of those in responsible positions. Even business men use advertisement with warped logic to sell at outrageous prices the same commodity they sell for less outside the Country and raise the cost of everything beyond reach.
The way to reduce violence is to stop making money by violence like shooting someone to death for refusing to give 100 naira at road blocks. Taking a life to satisfy greed cannot be the way to enjoy life. If those with guns are so brave, why don’t they shoot their superiors that hoard their allocations instead of coming to the street to shoot poor civilians?
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