By Malachy Uzendu
I paid a visit to senior retiree who left public office about a decade ago. He was director in what is today referred to as “money spinning”, grade ‘A’ parastatal, with headquarters in Lagos. He lives in a modest duplex he said took him 15 years to complete. He has only two vehicles: one for him and his spouse, the other for the rest of the family.
Even though he resides in one of the sprawling suburbs of Abuja, he has no Police or Civil Defense personnel, not even a private security personnel or “Onye akpu obi” (broad-chested person) cascading about like castrated he-goat in his premises. He opens and closes his gate and told me doing so helps him keep fit. He does not look behind him when he steps out, either on private or issues that bother outsiders or members of the public. In the neighborhood, nobody notices him. He lives a modest lifestyle.
But the contrary is the story of our self-styled bourgeoisie or elite. Those who command the political, public service or business heights must be noticed. They must live in eye-popping mansions. They must have similar or even larger mansions designated as guest houses. They must have an armada of security personnel roaming around them, with each wearing thick dark goggles; that is their signature tune.
Those uniformed personnel who are drawn from the few serving the public, must be at their beck and call; they must reside in their gate houses, and are usually large in number. They must fire gun-shots into the air everyday to prove that a man bigger than the rest lives around. Only them seserve to be protected by the uniformed personnel, other members of the society (the hoi-polloi, the hocus-pocus, those that count as mere population figure) should be satisfied with the few ill-equipped security personnel. After all, “a na enwe obodo enwe” (some people own the land).
These evidently big head must blare siren every time, anywhere they are. The must not obey the traffic rules, after all, laws are made for the lesser person. Was it not George Orwell, the author of Animal Farm, that posited that “all animal are equal, but some animal are more equal that the others”? Their neighbors and society must notice they are around; everyone they come across must notice that an “odogwu” (big man), lives here or is around. After all, as Chief Zeburudaya Okoroigwe Nwogbo Alias 4:30 would say, “when they are blow their nose, iroko tree are fall on the ground, igidigbam”.
Such are the warped ego trip of the Nigerian so-called elite. They embroil themselves in unbridled stealing that some of them don’t even know the number of private vehicles in their premises. Their children move about town in over-bloated okada bikes, which has acquired the sobriquet, ‘Power bike’, cascading about town as one obeying the instruction of some money-making deity. Some of their ill-bread children lock out customers from supermarkets until they finished their shopping. They drive in town with such reckless mannerism that if they knock you off the road, you should be lucky to stay alive as you have no justice on your side and would be lucky if the toga of “attempted murder” is not slammed against you, even when those almost killed you. Such misdeeds are their life styles; the law is blind to their acts of misdemeanor.
And so, when the news of the extra-judicial murder of Tewase Akwaza, aka Gana, the notorious Benue-born bandit became public, on one hand, I was happy that a terror machine has been sorted out. But when I juxtapose the manner of his killing with statements by the Director of Defence Information, Maj-Gen. John Enenche that it is against international and military convention to kill surrendered enemies, I got confused, especially as the Nigerian Army and the Benue State government gave different account of how “Gana” died.
Also, the discordant tunes on the death of dreaded armed robber, Honest Digbara, alias Bobisky, leaves another gaping hole. Journalists had reported that “Bobisky” was arrested, some had emphasized the news report that he was “arrested alive”, but later in the day, the story changed. The guy had died, perhaps, murdered extra-judicially. Even IPOB boys or persons suspected to be of the IPOB, whether they are praying or engaged in extra-curricular activity are mowed down. Government designated them as terrorists, but the toga or terrorism slammed on them have remained contentious, especially in the South-East geo-political zone, where IPOB operates. The fact remains that the nation’s security hardly remembers military or international conventions when they are involved; it’s a different stroke.
The fate of the “Gana and Bobisky, were not different from that of Mohammed Yusuf, founder of the Islamist Boko Haram. Yusuf was apprehended by the military and handed over to the police and moments later, he was killed. Since then, as Shakespare would write in Macbeth, “we murdered sleep”. Yusuf’s terrorist Boko Haram has kept us on our toes. Nigeria has been facing one problem or another, one terrible episode after another since he was sent to the grate beyond.
But, we have far more dangerous persons in the country. These are unscrupulous who use N100 biro and steal billions of Naira. These persons are being mentioned at the National Assembly; the agencies and ministries where the mind-boggling sleaze took place came up not quite long ago, but Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has said: “please, off your mic”, and the ‘mic’ were actually put off; end of story; billions gone with the wind. Dr. Kairo Ojuogbuo has told Nigerians that should he expose the level of stealing of public fund at NDDC, Nigeria will break up.
There was this other public officer whose activity left thousands of Nigerian pensioners in total misery. He was to be arrested along with his son in a hotel, but his son pulled a gun against operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS), who narrowly missed being killed. That senior citizen is enjoying bail from our courts, the other felon, who lives in the bush were murdered few minutes after they were apprehended or after turning self to the security.
I can go on and on, but, the real issue is: between the two category of looters, who deserves to die? Those who used their biro to send several of their colleagues and fellow professions to their early graves and families still in perpetual penury of want and deprivation, or the other set of felons who hibernate like animals in the bush, cocooned by their ignorant self-value and warped orientation, and who by their styled emulation of the putrid public officials, deny people they do not even know of their income and sometimes life?
In as much as I can not lend credence to any form of extra-legal action, I am of the strong opinion that those pen robbers are deadlier; their actions send more people to their graves; they are sons and daughters of devil; they do not deserve to live a day longer than they have been uncovered. They deserve to die. Those are the ones the security should use as practice object; they are bull eye; they ought to be hit.