In continuation of the first episode, permit me to focus more on intimidation, extortion, brutality, anti people’s law to that effect, and how they affect the inhabitants of Aba, Abia State, as well as government insensitivity to the menace.
It is assumed that Aba, the Enyimba city has for many years, been rated among the top cities in Nigeria that have more thugs roaming the streets and constituting all manner of a nuisance.
This assumption could be traced back to the days of “Jango, Aragas, and Sinbad” who although were said to have committed such illegalities, were known to have exhibited high respect for humanity and the government. However, the late Col. Ike Nwosu’s administration (December 1993 -September 1994) in its determination to rid the society of such illegalities, clamped down on the thugs and meted out severe punishment on the defaulters of the law.
What a regime with a realistic agenda for the reduction of crime and illegal activities? May his principled soul continue to rest in peace. Amen!
Unfortunately, modern-day governments seem not to have such strong will. As things are in this present time, it appears that this administration is abetting thuggery. Is it not shameful that a government could chose to be using thugs for revenue drives, a task that is statutorily meant for the Board of Internal Revenue (BIR)?
I got victimized in the recent past when some thugs accosted me at my residence in the early hours of the morning with armed security operatives, made up of the state Vigilante and Civil defense personnel. They arrested and forcefully pushed me into their vehicle where I met other victims and drove us to one of the notorious revenue courts popularly known by many as “Emejiaka court” or officially designated as “Magistrate court 3”, sited beside the Aba south local government chairman’s office.
The reason was that the building where I reside failed to pay its “Infrastructure levy”, thereby warranted for my arrest, arraignment in a revenue court, and prosecution, without summons or prior notice. Those I was brought to court with from different buildings were individually asked to mount the duck; charged for a crime that was never pronounced and levied to pay immediately the sum of Ten Thousand Naira (N10,000.00) fine each or be remanded in prison custody till an unmentioned date.
How could such a quasi-judgment and legal rascality be perpetrated by an assumed “legal luminary” to be and a custodian of the law? The inhabitants of Aba are indeed living in a pitiable condition, somewhat deteriorating to a state defined by Thomas Hobbes where life is “…poor, nasty, brutish and short”.
Nonetheless, the worse part of the above ugly event was the compliance of some lawyers who visited the same court to bail those who were with me in that travail by facilitating the payment of the mentioned sum without any protest which could make one believe the alleged complicity of Aba lawyers /Aba branch of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) as a reality.
One may ask, Does it mean that such a noble institution of the Aba branch could be coerced to abet such an atrocious crime (abuse of power) being perpetrated openly with impunity? If not, what then could be the reason for their silence all this while? or are we to believe the notion that every resident of Aba is an “Omata”, who is assumed to be ignorant of his/her rights? God forbid!
Despite the aforesaid, simple truth remains that Aba has many persons of sound mind in all spheres of life and also blessed with legal practitioners of high repute who are doing great to curb all manners of government-sponsored illegalities not minding how they have been subjugated in this battle by the government and her agents. Although the good people of Aba are yet to collectively put their best in this fight because they have all it takes to legally liberate themselves from such oppression and practically entrench a better society devoid of government judicious provision of basic amenities.
They can start by initiating a joint legal suit against the government concerning the use of thugs for revenue drives, oppose some enacted anti people’s law set to legalize quasi-revenue courts and multi-taxations, including other anomalies/illegalities too numerous to mention. Although these suggestions might be acceptable due to heavy manipulations of the state actors causing division among the populace with majority being sentimental and biased towards the whole issue.
With this effort concertedly in place, Aba the best British planned town in the southeast, and the renowned ancient Enyimba city will wear a healthy look with its dying economic activities reactivated to thrive in tandem with the dogged spirit and innovative ideas the inhabitants demonstrate. Perhaps, will in turn make her leaders sensitive to their responsibilities and also attract thereto the influx of investors, both local and foreign.
After all, power belongs to the people which can be confirmed in Abraham Lincoln’s definition of democracy, stated as follows: “Democracy is the government of the people by the people and for the people”. I still believe that our country, Nigeria is a democratic state, although goes contrary to its tenets. Oftentimes, people like myself do imagine we are practicing a different type of democracy which could be codenamed “Militicracy”, a type of government worse than military regime (authoritarian). Unfortunately, it is in this age of advancement that our nation Nigeria is being dragged back to the pre-evolution era indirectly by our irresponsible political leaders, whose stock in trades is to abuse the position of power given to them.
Regrettably, the populace is no longer allowed by the state actors to democratically decide their faith both at their communities, town unions, local and national associations, even the professional bodies are not left out. What a crass violation of democratic tenets? This is the era to ask “Which way Nigeria?” just like the legendary Sunny Okosun of blessed memory did in the 80s and the question to date remains unanswered.
It is worrisome to see our nascent democracy being dragged to the murky waters and raped with impunity by our elected political leaders, whose reckless use of power for selfish reasons has transformed into crass violators of all our ratified treaties and generally known for disrespecting the rule of law. This can be ascertained by their repulsive attitude in going against the will of the masses to impose Ezes and President Generals (PGs) on them and their puppets as leaders in various local/national associations, including some professional bodies, thus have somewhat institutionalized illegalities, conflicts, and division in our society. This crazy abuse of power was never experienced during the military era. I thereby ask, ‘Shall we continue living this way?’.
With the incessant truncation of democratic processes today in our society by the state actors, the coordinated efforts expected of the aforesaid no-state actor’s organized institutions could no longer be engendered because the leaders imposed on them are stooges of the state actors, hence paralyzes them from engaging the government which is the major reason Nigeria is deteriorating swiftly. Therefore, there is an urgent need for members of these organized institutions to rise up and legally revolt against such reckless wade of power by the government actors and quickly save our beloved nation from becoming a complete failed state.
Finally, let me remind us that the legendary Fela Anikolapo Kuti did lament much of this menace in most of his musical albums and advised that “…we Africans must do something about this nonsense…”. This can be heard of him while listening to his Egypt 80 album, precisely the “Authority Stealing” track. Hereunder are a few lyrics of the track in question which will take our minds back to the military era when this crime has not been institutionalized. I pray the spirit of this music can help to awaken us from slumber:
Na different way be them way Na civilize style be them style
Yes, yes, yes, yes!
“Oh yes, of course, contract, have some money back in hand, ha ha”
Hear the words them dey take deceive the people:
Make I remember another one wey them dey use
Authority stealing pass armed robbery
We Africans we must do something about this nonsense
We say we must do something about this nonsense
I repeat, we Africans we must do something about this nonsense
Because now authority stealing pass armed robbery
Authority man him go dey steal
Public contribute plenty money…