You see this corruption baa? It will kill Nigeria.
Notice that I did not add what the President added “.. if we don’t kill corruption”. Yes it is deliberate. Because I’m beginning to seriously doubt if we really have either the capacity, intention or willingness to kill corruption.
Just this morning, right in front of me I sat inside a tinted SUV right behind a commercial bus, watching as a policeman took his time bringing out N20, N50, N100 etc from his side pocket until he finished giving change to the driver of the bus that he was extorting. He even had the time to leisurely pick up some N20 notes that fell off his pocket unto the ground.
He was in no hurry, inspite of the many vehicles queuing up behind mine, neither did he give any thought to or care who might be in the SUV I was driving. When he finished, he still had the guts to come over, ask me to wind down only to ask me “Oga anything for us”? As if nothing had happened. I could only shake my head and drove off.
Further down the same road, another policeman was engaged in a serious fisticuff right on the centre of the road with the driver of a Lexus 330 SUV with his police issued rifle dangling by his side. Your guess is as good as mine what the bone of contention could have being.
Between Fire Service Junction Owerri to Ahiara junction in Mbaise for those who know the route (about the same distance from Abuja City gate to Airport junction, for those who don’t know the road), I counted and was stopped at 10 different check points this morning. At each point the scene was the same – ‘toll’ collection. At least two of them at different points asked me for face masks, on seeing a pack on my back seat which I willingly gave to them.
I wondered in disbelief to myself if today was police ‘rag day’. But then that’s obviously the tradition on that route from what I have witnessed in the last 2 weeks of playing the road daily.
Then I wonder, what gives these policemen the audacity to so blatantly commit such broad daylight extortion without scruples, let or hindrance? I can only hazard a guess that it is because they know that ‘nothing de happen’. No one will apprehend them and even if they do, nothing will still happen.
If the Imo state Commissioner of Police or the DIG in charge of that zone were to dispatch a team in disguise tomorrow morning to that route, they won’t need any evidence. They will see plenty of evidence in plain view.
But will they?
Why won’t they do so?
The answer to those questions is blowing in the wind.
What pains me most is the fact that these acts are perpetrated right in front of the often hapless and helpless public. Often times in the full glare of children and young Nigerians.
When kids and so called leaders of tomorrow believe that to be in the Nigeria Police force means shamelessly and fearlessly extorting money from innocent citizens on the streets and elsewhere, what hope do we really have for the future?
We are presently being regaled with sordid, sorry and disgusting tales of corruption in high places but the corruption going on on our streets and every other place is even more scary and shameful.
Well I will keep holding on to faith and the belief that we can pull through but truth be told, I do not have much expectation. The rot is monumental.
Have we already gone beyond the precipice?
Is it too late to pull back?
Is there still hope?
Are we able and capable?
May God help us.
@Dr Uche Diala