Nigeria, Secure And Calmly Under Siege By Prince Charles Dickson N

In the last one week, most Nigerians
have been more American than
Obama and Mitt Romney, with Barack
Obama claiming the prize, I watched
as Nigerians go viral with
congratulatory messages and
reflections. Both those with valid
passports and those that hardly knew
how Obama won.
Our government was in overdrive,
opposition asked government to
facilitate free and fair elections,
government asked opposition to learn
from Mitt Romney.
We all want to be associated with
success stories, our presidential
system on paper is fashioned with the
US as case study, but really that’s
where it stops.
I have read various commentaries on
lessons from the US elections, sadly
my take is, nothing will change, at
least in these parts anytime soon, for
Nigerians, there are no lessons, only
realities.
While we witnessed the US elections, I
smiled as news reports had it that
Obama was spending time with family
and playing basketball. People were
moving freely, going about their
legitimate businesses…
Bringing me to my admonition this
week and one of our sad realities, only
weeks ago Ondo state decided, in an
atmosphere calmly secured
undersiege.
People literally slept on both sides
exiting and entering Ondo state
because movement was stopped. The
Inspector General gave instruction for
a shot at ‘perceived’ misbehaviour
order. Soldiers, Policemen and women
with other security personnel turned
the state into a military camp.
How many of us have been to Abuja,
visit a place like Maitama, or Asokoro,
and a random pick, the house of
Sanusi Lamido, from outside and see
the armed artillery guarding the
residence.
Check the number of security
personnel and multiply that by the
number of ‘big boys’ and off course
‘girls’, that reside on that block. And I
asked myself a question, how many
armed personnel do we have that we
spare or waste this much to protect a
single person?
Driving through a police facility today
in most parts of the country, half of
the road is barricaded, and some
average of ten security men are idling
away in some charade checking
booths of rickety looking cars and
waving at those in the posh cars.
A state commissioner is at least
entitled to a civil defence personnel
as security aide, in every state of the
federation an average of ten serving
or past politician get not less than two
policemen or soldiers to provide
security and carry their purse for
them.
And here we are talking about not
having enough men to tackle boko
haram…or armed robberies, kidnaps
etc.
Ever counted the number of security
personnel detailed to a commissioner
of police, a service chief or subsidy
thief?
And yet the Obama we congratulate
and celebrate carries his bag, and yes
under watchful eyes but not an
embarrassing array of security
uniforms and hungry looking
policemen ready to man-handle
citizenry at the slightest altercation.
Securely undersiege, is the only
reason why police men and soldiers
are sun tanned because the
president is going to pass the road to
or from the airport.
I am aware of a particular state in
which almost every past head of state
and veepee has a house, each of
these houses has three soldiers
guarding, these are houses they have
never lived in, no one lives in them
and yet there is need to secure them
in siege.
Today, we simply practice garrison
democracy, a military personnel friend
of mine, sadly said “my brother, we
are no different, except the gun and
uniform, I spend more time with
civilians than in the barracks, after
few years, exams are written by us,
some of us even cheat, and pass out
empty in the head, full in the stomach
with pot bellies and loose in finding
workable solutions to real security
challenges”.
A soldier spends five years guarding a
retired general and stays on a rank,
no prospects, no training, no
motivation…only polishing his shoe
and sunning same in front of oga’s
gate.
These days in places like Abuja, you
are not sure which street will be
closed and at what time? For what
reasons, as security personnel litter
the streets because some ‘big men
and women’ are in the ‘hood.
Gone are the days when the officers’
mess was a resident of intellectual
discourse, where men of different
arms met to jaw-jaw and rub minds on
national issues. Soldiers are
everywhere, regular uniforms,
combatant uniforms, mobile and STF
and JTF uniforms.
Recently David Mark’s daughter was
getting married, several SSS
personnel, how many road safety
corps members, mobile and ordinary
police men and women, bomb
detectors, deployed on duty for that
course.
How do we explain the security
deployment because a governor’s
daughter was having a graduation
party?
On a daily basis, I don’t think there
are less than five highly sophisticated
and high class vehicles that escort the
Comptroller General of Customs,
Immigration or Prisons. And all those
cars are heavily manned and armed.
A nation undersieged and moving
calmly towards self-destruct. Even
district heads now arrange their own
local vigilante too
Weeks back at Wuse Market, an oga’s
wife was doing her ‘buying’, while a
sergeant was holding her purse. She
too is a ‘first woman’ to some first and
needs to be calmly secured.
How much do we spend in this siege
mentality, we need security for
church and mosque worship, soldiers
for to provide wedding security,
policemen and civil defence personnel
at birthday parties for one year olds
because na oga dey involved.
We are living a siege, there’s
absolutely nothing that bares
semblance to sanity. If one lives in a
‘face me I face you’ apartment, you
queue to use hygiene utilities.
We spend hours on fuel queues, then
hours in traffic, we queue either at
the bank, or ATM and queue at the
eatery or mama put, in all these
queues, everyone is a suspect. We
are regimented in fear, secured in a
siege and fact is little is being done to
bring succor as Nigerians grind on in
pain.
The fact remains that we need a firm
leader that can put a stop to all these
self inflicted local terrorism called
security and worry about the citizens
not self.
We need leaders that are people
oriented, not the current siren
blasting crop, leaders that are ready
to walk and work the talk, that share
with us, and care. Until then
congratulating Obama, for all we like,
the lessons won’t be learned…for how
long we will continue in our siege
mentality only time will tell.

To promote freedom of expression and the right disseminate information, the views of guest writers do not necessarily reflect the views of the Blog Author

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