Last week Friday, the 4th of July, 2014, Lagos, The Centre of Excellence, and one of the foremost cosmopolitan cities in the world, was thrown into pandemonium by some soldiers of the Nigerian Army. Few hours later, the official statement, as is typical of reports of an official carnage like this, came from the Defence Headquarters vide the lips of the Minister of State for Defence , that the ‘situation’ was taken advantage of by some urchins (take note of my inverted commas). I said to myself “that complied with the advancement of state complicity in lawlessness, as is typical of the situation that birthed ‘Unknown Soldiers’ in the 70s”.
I wish Thomas Hobbes had lived till date and beheld the present day Lagos, I am sure he would not have thought that anyone, regardless of the level of his/her crudeness, would yield to brutishness in dealing with issues of civil infraction. Let me put it rightly, not even a goat would love to deface this modern city that all Nigerians are proud of (how much more a rational being in relation to state properties?). But Hobbes would have been more disappointed (I am as disappointed) that the set of people he had thought would safeguard the Commonwealth as he had propounded in LEVIATHAN (Man in The State Of Nature), are the same set of people that descended to savagery in dealing with the people that have given their sovereignty and invested same in the state, which they believe should protect them.
In the wake of the soldiers’ cannibalization of Lagos, The United States of America celebrated her 238th Independence anniversary. In the light of this, I exchanged some notes with two of my American friends, Jeff Underwood and Kate Taylor (the duo are established writers, my guides in the literary and publishing world, who discovered my writing talent long before I even knew I could be fulfilled being a writer). I have sought their permission to share these notes in a public domain as this (though with some clipped parts).
My note below:
My sister and brother (Lady and gentleman),
It is my greatest wish that you both will experience liberty in all ramifications and in all spheres of your lives.
Today, there is an ongoing rampage on one of the major roads in Lagos as soldiers took to the street, beating civilians, burning commuter buses bought with taxpayers money, all in protest that one of them was ran over while driving on BRT lane. It is so pathetic. It is worse when you think these guys should be at the forefront of a rescue mission at Sambisa forest warring to bringbackourgirls that have been taken away for over 80 days now. It is so painful this calumny is taking place in my homeland.
Anyway, I must celebrate with you on this historical day of yours as a nation. Happy Independence my dear friends.
Pray for Nigeria. I love this country.
Few minutes later, Kate responded to my mail, I will share a part of her mail below:
I am sorry that you …….. as well as all your ‘family’ in Nigeria are living in turmoil. I have said it before and I will say it again, I worry much about your safety!
She sought my permission to share my earlier note on her Facebook page:
The world is in so much strife presently. Nigeria is one of the hot points in this strife. Honestly, I just pray. I feel powerless to overcome it all in any individual way… That would lessen the levels of testosterone that permeate the world and maybe a bit of cooperation and peace would finally prevail.
Back to my earlier inverted commas, kindly let the DHQ tell us what was that ‘situation’ that was taken advantage of by the hoodlums? Who was/is the army personnel that was ran over and what was he doing on BRT lane when even a dog knows, statutorily, that he cannot stand on BRT lane? Who were those soldiers that started the ‘situation’ before it was allegedly ‘taken advantage of’ by the hoodlums? If the soldiers were so angered because their colleague was ran over by a BRT bus, why can’t they be angered with the frequent massacre of their colleagues by Boko Haram and take the fight to Sambisa forest?
To those that could provide answers to these questions but would not move a finger to ensure that justice is done, I am sure someday you would be consumed by what you have ignored. Someday, very soon, I foresee the Minister of State for Defence being beaten blue-black by some military personnel; poetic justice, and we all will jointly say they are UNKNOWN SOLDIERS. Painfully, our hard earned democracy will be taken away by the guns and then shall we know that the identity of the president starts with a military appellation.
I sorry sorry o…
That Shekarau who was tagged Boko Haram apologist few months ago now becomes Minister of Education under the same government that called him out, is a clear indication that this government has a question to answer in all of these carnages.