] ] Idang Alibi Remove Nyanya military checkpoint now! (1)
After members of my household finished mourning the tragedy that befell the nation on Monday April 14 with the Boko Haram bomb blast at the Nyanya Mass Transit Park, I turned to my wife and made one prophecy. I told her that my greatest worry after that sad incident is that many more Nigerians, especially residents of Abuja and especially those living in the NyanyaMararaba-Masaka and Keffi axis, are going to face more excruciating pains in the coming days and that some of those persons might even consider those who died in the blast luckier. She asked me ‘’how?’’.
I told her that from my experience of the ways of our security agents, they will soon impose a very harsh punishment on innocent people by mounting a military checkpoint manned by stern looking soldiers close to or in the neighbourhood of the site of the blast, a checkpoint that will not at the end of the day succeed in achieving any single useful thing. My prophecy came to pass exactly four days later. On Friday, April 17, residents of Abuja living in the axis aforementioned who wished to commute to the Abuja city centre woke up and encountered a terrible hold –up that they have not experienced in a long while. The military have mounted a checkpoint that at some point narrowed traffic to only one lane.
I have become very familiar with the ways of our security thinkers and operatives because they seem to have a stock response to security crisis. Once a breach takes place, as happened on Monday April 14, you can be sure that a checkpoint or series of it will spring up and sometimes remain permanent and over time become a toll collection point where the ‘boys’ will begin to harass and extort money from harassed, intimidated and depressed citizens.
Given my limited intelligence I have often asked what useful purposes checkpoints that are erected at the site or in the vicinity of a security crime scene such as the one under discussion, really serve? And the answer I get is usually, ‘’what do you expect the security forces to do?’’. And my answer in return has always been, “let them do something that is intelligent and reasonable and not the kind of thing they usually do to “please the situation’’ as we used to say in my secondary school days. In our experience, checkpoints are mounted to show the people that the authorities are doing something in response to the fear and panic that envelope the people when a dastardly strike such as the one of April 14 takes place.
My own humble opinion is that a government should not be in haste to do just anything to please the situation. When it does so, it does not give some of us the confidence that we are being led well or being led by an agency of people who are thinking.
To me, it will be understandable if after a strike such as the Nyanya one, the authorities take immediate action calculated at dissuading the operational zone, people coming into Abuja from the Abuja-ZubaKaduna route were subjected to the unkind of untold hardship that the people of Nyanya are subjected to now in the name of security check. Very few Nigerians have the kind of small courage that we are showing here by questioning the rationale for some of the unhelpful but extremely punitive checks that are being done in some of the entrances to Abuja and some of our major cities. We are blackmailed and intimidated not to question lest you are seen as not appreciating the efforts of our security men who want to guarantee our safety and security. Let no one accuse me of being ungrateful or being insensitive.
By all means our men in uniform deserve to perform their duties to us. All I am saying is that they should show us competence, good thinking and a concern for the convenience of the people. See the anguish many suffer in the terrible hold-ups that ensure when a portion of the road is blocked in the name of eagle-eyed searches that yield hardly anything because by their very nature they cannot yield anything. If anything they only succeed in scaring criminals to take other routes or device cleverer strategies.
I keep wondering