Hoodlums! That’s what we call them now.
In all of this crisis, this is a word we seem to have discovered to use to level young men who have exhibited various degrees of violence.
But where did these hoodlums come from? Did they fall from the skies? Or were they smuggled into the country? No. These hoodlums are ours. Made in Nigeria. Made by all of us. Every family. Every city. Every region. These rising hoodlums are ours. Made by us for us. They are us.
Slowly, but steadily, we have bred them for years within our smaller communities. Labelling them different names as we chose and circumstances permit us. Sometimes we claim they are our territorial warriors when we feel threatened by other regions. Our goto guys when we need to brag with a local warlord.
They are political thugs. Weaponised for different atrocities during election periods. When they are loyal to the ruling powers, they are party members. The moment they are on the other side, they become hoodlums.
They have this days become big enough to to acquire coveted chieftancy titles. They are allies with the kings, high political office holders, celebrities and some of the seemingly important people in the land.
We refused to encourage them to get good education, because education is considered less important now. Yet their godfather send their own children to some of the choice schools within and outside of Nigeria. Some of our leaders promoted thuggery to the extent that it has become a sustainable career.
Now they have tasted blood. And like mad dogs, they have gone our of control for even their masters. So we choose to call them hoodlums.
Are they truly hoodlums? Or a reflection of us as a people. An extension of us.