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Desperate times…desperate measures

THINGS  seem to be happening in our country at such pace as makes it difficult to keep track of them all. The best one can do is to select from a wide range of issues and hope that what one doesn’t see others would see.

But a few issues wouldn’t just keep and so I decided to take a quick trip, metaphorically, around Nigeria in an attempt to look at some of the things making these times some of the most harrowing for our country people.

My journey takes me first to the flood-ravaged parts of the homeland. From up North where all we were used to hearing are cases of drought and the encroaching desert, people, literally hundreds of thousands, are being sacked from their homes by floods.

Not just the Niger and Benue rivers are flooding their banks; smaller rivers are doing their bit to bring bitter tears into many homes. From Taraba to Benue, Kogi to Kwara states people are wringing their hands in agony.

As if that was not enough in a region already held prostrate by terrorist onslaughts of different kinds, the floods have simultaneously found their way to different parts of the South. Worst hit are the South-South states in the Niger-Delta and other parts of the South East/South West.

Farmlands are washed away and homes are devastated in the manner of the despoliation caused by the mindless prospecting for oil that has made this part of Nigeria the environmental nightmare that caused some to heed the call to arms. Suddenly we see vast wilderness of waters in places where people once had their homes.

Reptiles and other creatures of the wilds now share space with human beings. Surely, this is timely warning for the authorities to prepare for worse seasons ahead.

The fact of global weather change and its adverse effects might be coming home to us tragically and no matter how overwhelming the situation might be for us now, things could be much worse next time.

Let those used to stealing what should be used in the development of the country know that times are getting more desperate and it’s a matter of enlightened self interest for those who lead to lead right. Or there would be no peace for them in their assumed havens.

And while Nigerians might be living down the euphoria of the last Eid celebrations after the long holidays, they couldn’t have forgotten and must not forget the case of one of the alleged terrorist kings that was arrested in the home of a top shot- one of those who make laws that their family members make no effort to respect.

Shuaibu Bama, one of the cowards running amok in different parts of the North, killing hundreds of innocent people under the aegis of the foolish terrorist group that claims to hate Western education, was picked up in the home of Khalifa Ahmad Zanna, a senator of the Nigerian state.

Zanna admits Bama is a nephew of his, a drug-crazed fiend who, according to him, used to live with him during which time he turned his children into punching bags and threatened everybody in the house, including the senator. But there is no record anywhere to suggest that Senator Zanna made any report concerning his observation of his wayward and, perhaps, murderous nephew.

This fellow was let loose to prowl unobserved while the land groans under the heavy hand of his terror group. Mr. Zanna claims the house in which Bama, who probably knew his was a life not worth living anyway and so sought to destroy others-  was not caught in his house but in the house of former governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff who he goes on to say is working with the Joint Task Force personnel that arrested Bama to frame him.

Well, frame up or not, what this arrest confirms is the long held suspicion that the seeming invincibility of the terrorist group Bama belongs in resides in the support it gets from influential members of the Northern ruling class.

Those who have criticised these leaders for their silence in the face of this group’s activities surely know what they are saying. The same people protecting the likes of Bama were the ones who provided the leg room for Kabiru Sokoto to escape from custody before he was re-arrested.

What should be our concern now is what Abuja intends to do about Bama and others arrested before him; the top shots trading accusation and indeed the larger group to which Bama belonged. All should be made accountable…

One wouldn’t know if there has been any confirmation of that report that former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, has confiscated a couple of BRT buses in retaliation for the seizure of an SUV vehicle belonging to his farm.

According to this report, the former head of state took this unprecedented step after his effort to get his own vehicle released yielded no result. There’s no doubt that some of those uniform-wearing officials one finds all over Lagos- from KAI to LAWMA and LASTMA- have morals hardly better than those of common miscreants.

Many times a few of them behave like uniformed thugs, former jail inmates that are yet to be fully rehabilitated into society. But then, a former president would hardly be doing his former office or his present status in society any good when he resorts to self-help in the manner reported.

While such action might be accommodated in a common agitator or activist out to make a point, it is a stain on the person of a ruler- past or present…

We may not know who is learning from whom but like the Obasanjo case, Okada riders also went on rampage in Lagos as they barricaded roads and set BRT buses alight in protest against the new Lagos State traffic law banning them from some roads or parts of the State.

It’s been really tough times for the Okada riders whose means of survival is no longer guaranteed as they now have to watch their backs against arrest as they traverse sections of the city from which they have been banned.

The law banning the Okada operators from the roads seems in order when viewed from the point of safety. But in terms of convenience for certain categories of road users, it looks like a bad law, especially when the whole thing is presented like a revenue-making strategy for the State.

Perhaps, it’s the way state officials have gone about the laws that gives this impression. But in its drive to make Lagos a liveable place, the state authorities must be careful not to give the impression that only the rich and economically buoyant deserve to live/work in Lagos.



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