As Nigeria has continued to unravel with the speed of light, there appears to be no shortage of incidents to make the blood run cold. Wherever one turns, or whatever device one turns on, there is always the guarantee of an endless barrage of bad news. Sometimes, it appears there is a deliberate design to constantly traumatize the citizens of the Giant of Africa.
Whether it is attacks by terrorists, sleaze in the highest places, soaring inflation, surging debts or staggering acts of impunity in the corridors of power, it appears that Nigerians are firmly in the season when they are to be spared nothing by those who manufacture bad news.
Even for a people who have extraordinary fortitude as part of their DNA, there sure is a point when too much becomes too much.
A tragic travesty
A video recently went viral of a police officer being brutalized by her principal and some thugs somewhere in Abuja .
As the police swiftly moved to arrest the culprits, shocking facts have emerged about the parties involved. The police officer has been identified as Teju Moses and her principal as Zainab Dike who is said to be a professor, lawyer and rights activist. According to reports, the police officer posted to the house somewhere in Abuja was beaten up because she refused to do house chores.
Nothing could be more scandalous. On the back of recent disturbing incidents involving civilians including some so-called celebrities assaulting police officers, this development is as bad as it can get.
In a country that has made a lightning descent into a jungle, there is no doubt that some animals can never fathom that they are as equal as others. To these people, they are necessarily more equal than others and to enforce superiority, those beneath their station must suffer all manner of ill-treatment. Or how else can anyone justify the fact that in a country scourged by insecurity, where citizens are criminally underpoliced, a police officer whose deployment to a private citizen bore classic signs of nepotism was in addition to providing security also expected to pound pepper and dice onions at the behest of a principal who quickly became abusive?
Who would have thought that in a country where many states are far removed from meeting the UN-recommended ratio of 1 policeman to 450 civilians there would be enough police officers to distribute to private citizens who would give them a bloody nose if they refuse to pick beans or parboil rice?
The whole saga provides a telling opportunity to send out a clear message by the prosecution and incarceration of the suspects: that no matter how highly placed you think you are in Nigeria, you must treat others with dignity. No one must be allowed to humiliate others because Nigeria and nepotism have placed them at their mercy.
The Nigerian Police Force is not exactly overflowing with the best of men. However, for all their shortcomings, the men still do an invaluable job. Without them Nigeria and Nigerians can expect to be overrun by the teenage criminals who seem to be everywhere these days, and appear to have given up being useful to themselves.
The authorities of the Nigerian Police Force should quickly check the conditions of its officers who are supposed to be securing vulnerable Nigerians but are instead deployed to serve some of the big men responsible for Nigeria`s multifaceted problems.
Some of those officers may be going through hell at the hands of their principals, but would rather remain silent so as not to lose the peanuts they pick up from their places of assignment which more than supplements the meager salaries they get paid as police officers.
It is rather unfortunate that impunity in Nigeria usually comes with an edge of wickedness and a hint of tragic stupidity. It also appears that the malaise has spared no one. If people who have supposedly attained the highest standards possible in the academia in Nigeria cannot treat others with basic humanity and dignity, then Nigeria may have run out of options to salvage what is left of a country that once promised so much.