Who Shall I Tell?

You see, while I was president in school, a printer swindled us. Without warning, we travelled to Ibadan to catch him, and luckily, we did. Then, we dragged him to a police station. Months later, when we still hadn’t got results, I found out that the guy was already taking the officers out on weekends to eat peppersoup. Angrily, I wrote a petition to the Commissioner of Police and I was invited and referred to a squad, which was tasked with retrieving the money. We couldn’t work together eventually though, and the printer went away with our money forever, sadly because we couldn’t find the 50k that the squad asked us to pay before they could listen to anything.

Four years earlier, someone I knew was shot by a local assassin. Holding his tummy, he ran to the nearby police station and was taken to the hospital by the police themselves. At the hospital, while he wrote a statement with the pen the officer in charge provided, I was the one fanning him with a hand fan. Fast-forwarded to the courtroom where the assassin he named in his statement was being tried, the court doubted someone shot could’ve written a statement with such a beautiful handwriting. Okay, where was the officer that took the statement? My friends, we couldn’t find him o.

So, early last year when my generator was stolen and people said I should report at the station, I just shook my head. Last year again, someone ran with my 20k, I couldn’t report because I didn’t have much money at the time; reporting issues to the police is expensive, man. If you stress them and later say you don’t have money, they could lock you up.

Now, this is where I’m going. You see, since this coronavirus lockdown has begun, I’ve been seeing videos of military officers flogging and torturing people in the streets. It weakens my spirits to see such inhumanity. I complained to a friend and to my surprise, she said it’s good they’re doing it, that it’s for our safety. That indeed, she enjoys watching the videos and she has a lot of the beating clips on her phone.

For our safety? Is that the only way one could enforce compliance?

Years back when I was an INEC Officer, I don’t remember which presidential election it was. We were at the INEC office to collect our kits. This lorry of military officers came and one of them began to drill a man of around fifties because, according to him, he did not stand where the rest of us were standing. They beat this man ehn, his eyes swelled alongside a runny nose. He was trying to find food for his family, but he found agony instead. Last year too, we sent our school secretary to go and buy petrol to power the school generator. She returned with stink, bruises and wounds. What happened? She said soldiers beat and threw her in a gutter. What did you do? She was on a bike and they were stuck in a traffic jam. A military truck wanted to pass. So, they started flogging everybody. Men and women, old and young. Obasanjo Area in Ota scattered and people ended up in hospitals because soldiers wanted to pass. If you guys see nothing wrong in this, I’m definitely missing something. Soldiers should love civilians, not consider us enemies they must molest any chance they get. Well, I don’t know sha. I don’t understand it at all.

I saw a video clip once, of a man whose car got faulty on the road. Men of the American military passed, and then reversed. They gathered round the man’s car, opened the bonnet and got their hands dirty to help him fix his car. They also siphoned fuel from their vehicle to his because they thought his fuel couldn’t take him where he said he was going. Months later, a similar event happened in Bodija, Ibadan when a man’s taxi developed fault on the road, a Hausa military officer beat the hell out of that man, as if he was the one who told his own car (his source of income) to develop fault.

You know what, maybe I’m the one who doesn’t understand the tradition, I’d appreciate it if anyone can show me a video clip of military officers of any developed country beating their civilians in the streets, for any reason. If there’s such a video, then, I’ll keep my mouth shut.

I can’t tell my problems to the police, it’s expensive. I can’t tell my problems to the military, they’ll beat me. I can’t tell my problems to the politicians, they’ll give me bread and post it on Facebook as campaign. Who then shall I tell my problems to? Is it a sin to be born in an underdeveloped country? Who shall I tell my problems to?

– Lord eBay (and his random ruminations, 2020)

#eStreetWriters

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