Posted by By Victor Ngwoke on
I humbly congratulate the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the war against corruption currently embarked upon by his government.
I humbly congratulate the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the war against corruption currently embarked upon by his government. I also wish to say “kudos” to the IG of this great nation for his will to revitalize the Nigeria Police Force. The successful changing of the motto of the police from a terrifying war brigade slogan; “Operation Fire for Fire” to a more decent and friendly: “To Serve with Integrity,” is a welcome development.
I feel very proud to say that whoever invented the police had good intention and probably meant well for the society. However, I have a crying spell whenever I read from the pages of the newspaper an inscription, “Police; Friend or Foe?” I remember a friend telling me sometime ago that it is better to embrace an armed robber than to seek police assistance in emergency situations.
Whether this is true is left for history. We all know their antics; “Oga Wey Your Particulars?” A N20 note gives you access even when you are with the worst contraband goods. Who knows, tomorrow they may even ask us to present walking or life licence!
It is disheartening to observe the high handedness of the Police in Nsukka. The impunity, pride and arrogance with which they discharge their duty is nothing to write home about. Believe me, if there is no divine or human intervention to the ill situation, Nsukka might be in a state of anarchy in no distant time. The worst story is that the youths who are the cream of every society, the agents of change and the leaders of tomorrow, (even though in Nigeria, tomorrow never comes) are the worst hit. The police is about to succeed in frustrating the “Okada Riders and commercial vehicle drivers” in Nsukka through 'Roger Me' (a local parlance for extortion) and intimidation.
On February 22, 2005, the executive members of Federated Association of Nsukka Students (FANS) engaged the former acting Area Commander, Nsukka Police Command, Rev. Dr. Louis Ezegbuo in a discussion. We made him aware of the implications and consequences of what his men do on the road. He officially debunked the activities of his men and promised to work with the association to put the mess to an end. Since then, the situation has changed from bad to worst. Few weeks after our discussion with him, a law-abiding and bonafide student of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka was shot by a mobile policeman who was extorting N20 from an Okada rider. Though, the boy did not lose his life but his eye was affected and his skull fractured.
Medical experts have recommended that he be flown abroad for surgery. I ask the police, can N20 fly him abroad?
Again, on May 10, 2005, the representative of FANS and Dr. Osita Ogbu also met with the new Area Commander, Nsukka Police Command, Mr. Egbuaba, to congratulate him on his new appointment and to intimate him on the ill activities of the police in Nsukka. He emphatically mentioned that he is not in support of what most of his boys do on the road and promised to effect positive changes in no distant time. More so, he revealed to us the outcome of the meeting of the Area Commanders and the Commissioner of Police in Enugu State. He said that the IG has ordered the police not to check or demand for the particulars of drivers and motorcycle operators; the reason being that it is the duty of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) to check if the particulars of road users are up-to-date. What a welcome development if this is to be realised? However, we are yet to observe any positive change as a result of the implementation of the IG’s decision or the Area Commander’s promise.
Furthermore, have we forgotten the gruesome murder of two of our sons by Mr. Gambo Sariki, a former Divisional Police Officer of Nsukka Urban? Are there not men in Nsukka zone? Where are our representatives in the federal, state and local governments? Where is the Nigeria Bar Association, Nsukka Chapter? Where are the religious leaders, traditional rulers, academics and so on?
For how long shall we live with such intimidation and suppression? For how long shall we fall prey to trigger-happy policemen? Have we accepted to be aliens in our own land? Oh! You are afraid of death. Beware, what matters in one’s life is not the number of years lived, but the amount of impact created to affect people's lives. Moreover, Martin Luther King (Jr) said: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands at the time of comfort but where he stands at time of challenges and controversy”. Freedom is never given but taken.
All things being equal, I am calling on the Inspector-General of Police to send his spies to ascertain the relationship of the Police with the bonafide citizens of this nation in Nsukka. Please, Mr. I-G, come to our aid before what happened in Makurdi few months ago happens in Nsukka. Mr. I-G sir, undergraduates who hail from Nsukka need your urgent and serious attention to put to an end the awful actions of the Police (mobile and general ) in Nsukka. We cannot afford any bloodshed before the plight of Nsukka people are considered. The police is meant to protect the citizens and not to exploit them. It is unfair for the Police to take to corruption with the gun given to them to combat crime.
Above all, law and order cannot be maintained where there is gross violation of human rights. A stitch in time saves nine.
Mr. Ngwoke, President of Federated Association of Nsukka Students, writes from Nsukka.
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