Tuesday, July 13, 2010

When it comes to security, Nigeria is two countries!

There is the enviable,artificial,calm, "eye of the hurricane" country lived in by the rich,and political office holders; and there is the one the rest of us navigate, a no-man's land, like an abandoned minefield without markers!

This morning,there was a report that the Chairman of the Lagos State Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists,had been kidnapped with some colleagues in Abia state.

The sophistication of criminal elements in some parts of Nigeria today, has made trips to those areas,particularly by the wealthy, tantamount to a visit outside the Green Zone in Baghdad by an American with blond hair. 

The risks outweigh the returns.

The core, wellspring of kidnappings today,is the South East,and the South South of Nigeria. But the evil is starting to spread across the nation.

Our policemen, bereft of ideas, ill motivated,and ill trained, seem to be struggling with a slippery live-catfish in a pool of ogbono soup.

They have no clue on how to confront the problem.
While criminal elements improved,and perfected their skills, our policemen seem to be stuck in the last century!

And who suffers? 

My beloved,helpless Nigerian! 

The one who, already has a bad deal from life, has to add to this burden of poverty, the suffering of every known, and unimaginable criminal horror.

The political office holder,who is meant to be a public servant, is ensconced in absolute security; he has a retinue of all manner of security operatives at his disposal.

There is this anachronistic belief, that the public servant,or the politician,is more important than the people he/she serves.

It would be infantile on my part, to advocate that they should not have any security, my contention is that, the security,for which the poor is taxed,is not jeopardized,or sacrificed.

But that is exactly the reality today.

I could shock you with tales of robbers coming into homes, disappointed at not getting any money,they took off with the infant of the family!

Or is it the case of disgruntled robbers, burning their victims to death in their homes.Their crime?They did not have enough money to satisfy the thieves. 

Need we talk about the millions of machete cuts to the heads of our people,or the raping of innocent,helpless,defenseless people in their homes?

The list goes on, and on, and on.

The only constants are,that more money is voted every year for security, the rich are better protected,and the poor suffer more!

I have seen policemen,in my numerous journeys across Nigeria, holding nothing more than tear gas launchers at checkpoints. While the lay people may not know the difference between this and a real gun, the criminals can tell the difference.

I do not hate the average Nigerian policeman, he is a man under pressure,operating under the most demotivating conditions. He knows money has been voted for him to work better, as a result of the money voted,his quota of work is increased, but tragically, the tools never reach him.

And so he is angry.

And the poor suffer.

As usual.

But our leaders are wrong!

They are wrong to assume that once they are secure, every other person can go to hell, or live there!

As the poor currently do!

They forget that they have parents in their various vulnerable villages !They have uncles, they have brothers! 
These soft targets, have become vicarious,and some would declare with glee and gusto,legitimate targets, for criminals.

The truth is that, if all of us are not safe,none of is truly safe!

Crime is like a virus.It's presence in any part of the body,no matter how insignificant, is inimical to the overall well being of that person, on the long run.

So when they buy their bullet proof vehicles,for hundreds of millions,under the deluded illusion that they are safe;and hide behind layers upon layers of security devices,and people:their Achilles heel, is the insecurity of the poor. 

Security is like a chain,it is only as strong,as it's weakest link!

Right now,the weakest link in our security,is the  nonchalant attitude to how the poor are protected.

As our society, through massive mismanagement, and theft, of our commonwealth, degrades economically,and socially, we will find that there are people who would feel no moral inhibitions,in resorting to crime to survive.

As they execute their devious devilish desires, they too could, in a twisted way, be classified as victims of sorts: like the rest of us,they have been let down.

So as our 'leaders' ride like conquering conquistadors, with siren blaring outriders, and horsewhip totting security men;they should remember one thing:the the poor are the key to their security.

The eradication of unfair iniquitous poverty,is the first step to total security, the second,is the protection of the vulnerable poor.

As we do that as a society, and truly become one country,security-wise,


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