When evil tends to become a culture in a society like it seems in Nigeria over the years, or is seen to be glorified and worshiped by people youths look up to as idols or moral builders, futuristically speaking, the soul of that society is dangerously destroyed. The hearts of the generation of such a society are shattered because their future has been mortgaged into the hands of the devil incubating a full blown city of Sodom and Gomorrah. A city where anything goes, where immorality will be exhibited, pains, deaths and wailing will be justified.
However, for peace and security to be achieved in Nigeria, the government cannot single-handedly do everything. Every individual and groups of people have got responsibilities especially parents. As a matter of fact, the alarming and the shameful moral decay in Nigeria today cannot squarely be blamed on the government only. There was a time in our life as a nation that parents rejected money they suspected to be ritual money from their sons. By then chieftaincy titles were recommended and given only by the villagers with a name reflecting truly what that person had done for the people. While today chieftaincy titles are bought and given to criminals and ritual murderers against established traditional institutions, corrupt looters of public funds in the government and fraudsters aka “yahoo yahoo boys” or '419' are celebrated and crowned kings against the customs of our forefathers because they doled out their ill gotten money to the traditional king makers. We cannot have peace and security in Nigeria when we celebrate thieves and criminals.
Despite the above wake up call for people and parents to live up to their societal responsibilities and impact a respectable level of moral standard to our future generations for the benefits of all, it still does not take anything away from the fact that the woeful failures of the Nigerian various governments since 1960 have contributed and are still contributing hugely to our state of shambles. Because there is no action without reaction, therefore, most of the heinous crimes some Nigerians commit are fundamentally engineered based on a situation where an individual whose source of income is not clear has built mansions and has different kinds of exotic cars unchallenged by the government, his community or his parents. It is very important to note that not all criminals will be caught at the scene where they committed their heinous crimes, but could be caught through their flamboyant life style of living above their expected income. But this can only be achievable in Nigeria if Nigerian security agents will decide to be professionals and patriotic in their dealings in scrutinizing such people with questionable characters like it is in civilized societies. In Austria where I live for instance, the security agents will invite such a person for an explanation to his/her source of income, and if that person fails to prove his/her source beyond reasonable doubt, the law takes its place. But in Nigeria, these types of people are celebrated and honoured with the government giving them police security. This act has caused serious injury in the way Nigerian youths see money and life. Because of this failure, many Nigerian youths of today do not care much about morality or good name, thus, criminality and violence have become the order of the day just to make fast money, take chieftaincy titles and drive exotic cars so that they may be recognized in the society since sincerity, patriotism and dignity have been relegated and rejected.
Sincerity And Patriotism
The citizens cannot be sincere and patriotic enough when the leaders are not. Even though we still have quite a lot of principled and honest people, but so many Nigerians have a long time ago deleted sincerity and patriotism in their dictionaries since the people they know as criminals under their watchful eyes not only have been recognized and given chieftaincy titles and the first roll seats in churches and mosques, but have been equally promoted and bestowed with high ranking honours by Nigeria governments at various times.
The people may never be obedient to the law or patriotic to the Nigerian course when they feel betrayed and neglected by their leaders. Just last week, a bill that would have made it possible for Nigerian undergraduates to receive social money was killed by the assembly members but bills to increase their own salaries and allowances have been many times sponsored and passed into law including billions to renovate their offices and private homes.
For us to have peace in Nigeria , Nigerians should not be given the impression by the ruling class that it does not care about what happens to them and that it has got the monopoly of knowledge.
Government Policies How Fare Have They Been To The Governed?
The government should adjust its policies and give them human faces particularly at state levels because most of their policies in recent years have contributed to more than 70% increment in crime and social mayhem. For instance, according to one of the executives of the “Okada Association” in Lagos State who would not like his name in print, there are over two million motorcycle commercial users in Nigeria which I did not personally confirm. Now, why must one forcefully stop these over two million people from their legitimate source of living when one knows that one does not have alternative jobs for them? How much effort did the government make to fish out those bad eggs in their midst before the ban?
I have said this before and I will say it again that WHO acknowledges that cigarette smoking is very dangerous to the health but yet it has not banned outright use of cigarettes because it has considered the social implication to be more severe if banned as when in circulation, thus every producing company is only compelled to inscribe on their packets that “cigarette smoking is very dangerous to your health.” WHO is trying to tell us that it is not reasonable to solve two known problems and create twelve unknown and complicated ones. The business of 'okada' in Nigeria was a result of a failed system, thus it is addressing a problem and one cannot ban it when the system that gave birth to it is even worse now than it had been before its birth.
I am an agent of positive changes, thus, I recognize that there must be a price for proper changes to take effect effectively but they should be planned and executed cautiously and reasonably.
Nigerian leaders especially the governors behave like Nigerian fraudsters aka “419" or "Yahoo Yahoo Boys". When a Nigerian fraudster writes a letter especially if he succeeds in defrauding his victim, the content of that same letter and its style will be what all the other fraudsters will use for a long period of time sending out the same content to the same people with the same mail addresses in different names.
One governor has made a mistake of banning 'okada', therefore, all the other governors must ban 'okada' with the same flimsy excuses of accidents and bag snatchings. The ban of 'okada' in Nigeria is as bad as the banning of mini-commercial buses in Abuja without any alternative provided by the government. The implications of all these policies in Nigeria are severe as the reasons adduced for the banning.
In a state where the government starts destroying people's houses and properties without enough information or notice devoid of adequate compensation just to build government secretariats, or destroying markets and people's goods because the government has planned to relocate such markets, meanwhile the planned new markets are not ready for use or are still even on the drawing boards, honestly, I find such rascality and abuse of power egregious and unacceptable. We cannot have peace if government policies are seen by the people to be cruel to them. The governments are destroying the goods and properties of the people in the name of building secretariats that one could execute without causing the masses such untold hardship. But the governments refused to provide essential amenities like water, good roads and health care etc. that have got direct positive effects on them or provide opportunities that could bring food on their tables.
It beats my imagination most times to understand how some Nigerians tend to believe more the lies of the governments or those in authority than the naked truth before them. How would one convince me to believe that a notice to demolish a particular house at a particular time for instance was properly served or brought to the notice of landlords/ladies or tenants and yet at that same very particular time the demolition will take place the same occupants will be busy eating, drinking or receiving visitors in their sitting rooms. Something most be wrong here, it is either the government actually did not give them any pre-information or that they did but their agents lied to the people and collected money from them as bribe and told them that the house/s would not be demolished again. And because the governments never cared whether their information got to their governed or not, their caterpillars must raze down any structure at site on the appointed day with military men flogging senior citizens and children they have rendered homeless. Which ever way one sincerely looks at this situation, it still shows the exposure of the failure of the government leaders and their agents that they do not care what happens to us the masses.
Please, it is egotistically wicked, uncivilised and an absolute abuse of power for any government to demolish a house of somebody simply because a tenant used such a house for evil doings like kidnapping or ritual killing when no evidence linked the landlord/lady with such atrocity or iniquity. Landlords/ladies are not soothsayers to know what somebody is doing in his/her flats or houses. If any government must practice this kind of un-thoughtful and backward law, at least, please let such government first enact a law empowering landlords/ladies to compulsorily search the houses/flats of their tenants at a specific number of times in a month, and still if any evil is found to have been committed in such houses/flats, let it be thoroughly investigated before the execution of this obnoxious law. We have witnessed situations were government agents acted on merely hearsay and such houses were demolished two days after the crime without any or proper investigation. It is wicked and uncivilised to see uncompleted buildings of people razed down within minutes just because one criminal has used that building in his/her nefarious kidnapping business as a camp. In a situation where the owner of such uncompleted building is probably living and struggling in a place like Sokoto or Lagos, and the house he/she is struggling to build is situated at Akwa Ibom or Onitsha and perhaps he/she comes home once in a while especially when little has been saved to add one thing or the other in the building. How would this person know within this period what people were doing in this building? How would one justify this high level of cruelty and injustice?
The responsibilities of the security agents and their failures have now been shifted to innocent Nigerian house owners. But the various Nigerian governments forgot that it was because of the romance of their security agents with criminals and their collaboration with saboteurs to unprofessionally and unpatriotically betray honest and patriotic Nigerian citizens that have shared vital information with them to help curbing crime that many Nigerians keep mute even when they know that atrocities are being committed at their backyards on daily basis.
Objectively speaking even when landlords/ladies are part of the evil, the demolition of any of such houses is a huge loss to the society and not the solution to the problem. Those who are committing these crimes are not the owners of these houses and as such do not care what happens. What makes the government think that the destruction of such houses is the remedy to stop such heinous crimes? It will not work just as it does not work in Malaysia for instance where people have not stopped carrying hard drugs into the country. Despite the warnings and announcements at the airport that the penalty for illegal trading on hard drugs is death, people still pick their briefcases with their death right inside and queue up praying that God will blind the eyes of the microscope not to see their concealment.
I feel sad about this because I thought Nigeria was growing, but no wonder Nigeria is still called a third world country.
This kind of law makes the people antagonistic towards the government and its policies. Instead of building bridges between the government and the governed, it widens gaps and it is not good for the growth of any society. We cannot have peace and security until the government shows enough commitment to the feelings and welfare of the people. We need a change. The Nigerian governments at various levels are too arrogant and reckless with their policies. They make soft laws against corruption by allowing someone to steal billions and if caught the person faces a maximum imprisonment of two years or an option to pay a few thousands of naira as penalty. But they enacted harsh laws they know that are for poor people. For crimes like stealing a goat, pickpocketing in crowded bus stops or stealing something worth of 10-20 thousand naira, the offender faces a minimum of two years imprisonment with hard labour or the hands of the person or legs are chopped off in the name of Sharia law. They make this kind of laws knowing that no National Assembly member, governor or president etc. will ever steal money at Oshodi bus stop.
We need a change because one can only achieve peace when one's neighbour has peace.
To be continued
A concerned patriotic citizen writes from Vienna , Austria
Mail: [email protected]