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Deep rot

By Kate Henshaw
It is often said that evil acts continue to thrive not because bad people refuse to turn a new leaf but when good people stand by and do nothing. Classic example in our society was the ALUU 4 killing and burning of young boys cut short in their prime last year.

Where there are no good people who could have put a stop to the brutal carnage we all were privy to? Was there no voice of reason and sanity that could have shouted, enough? Of course, there was.

Most importantly, mothers, aunties and sisters; who knew what it took to not only conceive but to bring forth a child into the world without complications and incident, who could have put themselves in the shoes of the mothers of those poor boys, stood by and watched silently as the hopes and dreams of the boys’ mothers were ended with a deadly finality.

The guilty were not only those who committed the acts but also those who folded their arms and did nothing. Nothing more has been heard so far. All the condemnations have been made. Moving right along, no?

Like many atrocities that take place in Nigeria that are not dealt with properly or brought to a logical conclusion, the dilapidation of most of our infrastructure and government institutions have experienced so much rot and damage that it evokes a cry right from deep within one’s belly. The latest on the burner is the Police College.

Monday,14th January, 2013 was the day Channels Television (one of the very few truthful stations we have) revealed the unimaginable rot in the Police College, Ikeja. The appalling state of the facilities or total lack thereof raises concerns as to the quality of individuals who pass through the college and are then handed weapons to safeguard the security of the citizens.

Tattered training outfits, rotten and germ-filled toilets, rusty bunk beds that are best thrown on the scrap heap and food worse than that fed to dogs are just a part of the daily existence of the trainees there along with their struggle for the N150 daily feeding allowance.

Is it therefore surprising that some of our policemen and women have little or no regard for the society they live in? Is it surprising that having come through that rot, they become demoralised, frustrated and bitter? They shoot first and then ask questions later. Someone has to pay for the grime and filth they emerged from.

That however is the training college. How about the places where they live with their families? Are the amenities any better? Do they get paid on time? Is their well being of paramount importance?

I hear the President was angry at the time of the visit to the college. I wonder if he still is.

I pray he sustains his anger long enough and way past the front of the cameras. I pray he uses this as an opportunity to finally do something worthwhile and give us hope.

I am surprised that he saw it as a personal affront to his government and wondered why cameras had access to film the rot. Should it have continued to be the best kept secret? If the Police College, Ikeja is not the only training institution that has been left to rot to this extent, where are the good ones located?

The rot shown in the college is a mirror of the Nigeria we all live in. The rot in the police college is child’s play compared to those which lie in several other sectors of our nation. It runs deep, way past the physicality of a building but in a system that has thrived on falsehood, corruption and selfish interests.

The former Federal Capital Territory Minister, Nasir el-Rufai put the total budget for the police sector this year at N309.65 billion according to his analysis.

Needless to say that almost 80 percent of that money will find its way into the pockets of some very unscrupulous individuals within the sector while the remaining 20 percent will be allocated sparingly to those who need it the most.

Like the people in the community of ALUU that played host to the evil acts meted out to those four young boys, all past administrators, be it military or civilian; all past ministers and the police service commission should be held accountable for this evil. No one can claim or feign ignorance.

The stench has finally sailed through to our nostrils like a bad smell. No nation can thrive on falsehood forever, sooner or later, the truth will out.

The National Assembly and our lawmakers should stop thinking of their bellies and fighting with chairs. They should take this as a call to represent the interests of every police officer out there on the streets and even those who protect them.

These policemen see them in their big cars, help them carry their “Ghana must go “bags, protect their families but are not looked after themselves. It stands to reason then that they have every reason to watch their backs.

Surely it did not have to take the President’s visit to show the enormity of the situation else he should get ready to make many more trips around the nation. Nigerians are really not in the dark about goings on in the nation. The deep rot exists in the very fabric of our nation.

 


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