Good day folks! It would always be a good day in Nigeria until the Federal Republic of Nigeria is rechristened; maybe- the Federal Republic of Corruption as one won’t be left to think otherwise and hope for a better day since the rate at which the menace is taking shape and breaking new grounds is endemic. The proselytizing effect of the menace is even more worrisome than the menace itself as Nigerians can’t live a day without breathing the air of Corruption. It is as conspicuous as an albino in a Ghanaian market. Like MTN, it is everywhere you go even in the most sacred place. The acts of corruption I saw during my incarceration in prison would be an account during another musing period.
I was at the Medium Security Prisons, Kirikiri on April 19, 2017, to secure the release of some inmates I met in Prison during my illegal detention and incarceration orchestrated by a collaboration of the State’s repressive apparatus on the April fool day till the April 6th when the fool became wise. I met a warder who has been helpful with the whole process and I could not fight back tears when we started discussing how dehumanizing the Nigeria prisons are, as I was also a victim of the dehumanization. Not only did we discuss the dehumanization, I also raised, with all furiousness the issue of extortion of the Ambode–led Lagos State Government and how the Special Offenses Mobile Court is a scam and an avenue for increasing the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in Lagos.
One would be so surprised at the ridiculous charges leveled against people and how they were found guilty of such ‘money-making’ charges. Let me tell you some I discovered for free.
Some inmates were found guilty of breach of peace (just because they walked on the streets at night to get something to eat), street hawking, conduct likely to cause breach of peace and to crack your ribs totally, I got to know of some very poor persons who were charged with ‘no means of livelihood’ and were found guilty of such ridiculous charge.
Most of them were not defended in court. A lot of them are in the prison wallowing in excruciating pain of imprisonment just because the tables are yet to turn. Some inmates have not appeared before a judge for 4 good years.
So many cases have not been decided upon for more than 5 years.
Lagos residents! the next time someone gets missing in your area, check Kirikiri. There are a lot of persons in prison who have been either declared missing, kidnapped or dead by their relatives. How more wicked can a government be to inflict pains on her citizens after failing to provide them with the basic needs of life?
She arrests them, sends them to prison and later extorts them by giving them outrageous fine or bail conditions to pay for her basic and gross failures such as the aforementioned cases. As if that’s not enough, you arrest a hustler during your evil raid, charge him to court, remand him in prison, tell him to pay as much as sixty thousand naira (N60,000), One hundred and fifty thousand naira (N150,000) or serve 6 months/ 1 year in jail. If he is lucky enough to have family members who could painfully raise the money, he gets out and continues hustling after he has paid a fine that is enough as a capital to start a business.
It might look illegal but how do you seize the wares of a common man on the street, arrest him, charge him to court, send him to prison or he pays a fine option of thirty thousand naira (N30,000) when all he lives on (wares) do not amount to three thousand naira (N3,000). The common man is made to go beyond his comfort threshold to fund the capitalist purse of the state. Is this how to run a government? ,
Why must a Governor seek to make people suffer because he wants to run a debt-free state? Is there a theory in Accounting that teaches such? Instead of diversifying and concentrating on Aquaculture as the CITY OF AQUATIC SPLENDOUR, the state should stop culturing ‘humans’ in prisons. Who would then live in this MEGA CITY when everyone is in prison already for silly and baseless offenses?
The Otodo-Gbame fishing community killing and land grabbing, even when there is a widely known court order preventing the Lagos Government from ‘hijacking’ and displacing the inhabitants is another ‘plan to create the mega city’. One wonders what happened to our sense of decency, responsibility, sensitivity, compassion and empathy for those that are suffering. Belonging to the oppressive ruling class in Nigeria gives an extenuating effect to serious anti-social issues when the class members are involved. Immediately you join, you are immunized against the rule of law. You are one of the ‘untouchables’. I suggest that there should be a remodeling of the statue of law- the Lady Justice (Justitia).
Let it be changed to a male and the blindfold removed so it can see the poor man suffering in Prison and the elite, after stealing, smiling to court with 20 Senior Advocates. The Law, especially in Nigeria is too weak to catch the strong but too strong to catch the weak.