THE POLICE AND ARMY: TERRORISTS IN UNIFORM
Take a look at the pictures above. Obviously, the people who you see are the police and the army molesting people right? I bet that it’s saddening to you. However, this has become a trend that has become rampant in recent times.
When the Nigerian Police and Army were formed in 1930 and 1960 respectively, their major functions were to protect lives and property and to defend the sovereignty of the country. Obviously, those who formed these agencies formed them with noble intentions both to prevent chaos in the society and to defend and protect lives and property. In order to reiterate the noble intentions of those who formed these agencies, they gave them wonderful mottos; ‘Police is your friend’ and ‘victory is from God alone’ for the police and the army respectively. However, as time has gone by, have these mottos and tenets under which these agencies were formed not been contravened? Have they not become mere mottos alone which bear no importance? These are questions that besets our minds as we go on this rather painful ride of the terrorism perpetuated by those in uniform.
Although sad, the news and reports of the brutality meted out by the police and military officials, respectively has become an epidemic that plagues the pages of our newspapers and the TV screens.
The police, has shown brutality a lot of times. Instances of this have been seen when reports have been made that trigger-happy policemen have unleashed mayhem on innocent citizens because those citizens have refused to give them their famed ‘twenty naira’ bribe. Also, there have been times when innocent citizens are raided and paraded as criminals and perpetrators of those crimes roam the streets free.
A more recent case of police brutality the tragic incident that occurred on the second day of March 2019. On that tragic day, some trigger-happy policemen shot a bus driver dead in Mosan-Ayobo area of Lagos state for refusing to part with money. As if that was not enough, a teenage girl was also killed in Ikorodu on March 25 and a motorcycle rider was shot dead in Surulere area of Lagos state for refusing to part with money. Most recently, on June 8th 2019, three police officers, an inspector and two sergeants exhibited brutality on one Mr. Ademuwagun Temitope Solomon at the Chinese Town in Ojota area of Lagos state when they accused him of being a fraudster and sprayed him with tear-gas. Mr. Ademuwagun, an asthma patient, collapsed and has an asthma fit. Sad right? Not only that; some months back, a policeman was paraded for aiding armed robbers with guns. The incessant acts of the police extend to their terms of bail in which they put up a façade that bail is free but still collect bribes before a person can be bailed. In the face of all these, the question that continues to resound in one’s mind is; is the police really our friend?
The Army officers are not left out of this ‘terrorism in uniform’. An incidence of this madness by soldiers was demonstrated on August 14 2016. On that fateful day, a civilian was being tortured severely by soldiers and Mr. Enikuemehin, an official of the Federal Road Safety Corps thought he could save him. What was the civilian being tortured for? He was being tortured for wearing a camouflage. However, Mr. Enikhuemehin’s attempt to save the civilian was a regrettable one as the soldiers turned upon him and beat him severely until his left eye became blind. Recently, some soldiers exhibited characteristics of cavemen when they killed some policemen and released a kidnapper. Isn’t that just despicable. In addition, there have been reported and unreported cases of soldiers’ brutality that have been characteristically swept under the carpet.
At this stage, one then begins to wonder; when did these men who were tasked with protecting and defending citizens become the ones ending their lives abruptly? When did the lives of Nigerians become unimportant to those who have been tasked with protecting it? Although, some of these officers have issues and indeed some are mentally imbalanced, the buck of the blame stops on the table of their superiors. Why? Most of the time, the brutal acts meted out by these ‘brutal’ law enforcement agents are influenced by their superiors. The policemen who take bribes have superiors who they give ‘returns’ to, the ones who aid and abet thieves have a superior somewhere who they give part of their loots while some of the superiors themselves sometime divert the funds disbursed to get ammunitions for these law enforcement agents.
As I go, I leave you with this pertinent question again; WHICH WAY NIGERIA?
THE POLICE AND ARMY: TERRORISTS IN UNIFORM