] ] Idang Al­ibi Re­move Nyanya mil­i­tary check­point now! (1)

Daily Trust - - VIEWS -

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

how

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