You are probably wondering the reason for this title or perhaps what I mean by a country being against itself. In explaining this, I would have to explain a medical condition. There is a medical phenomenon where cells in the body begin to attack itself (organs and tissues) causing the body to fall sick. This is how an autoimmune disease operates in the body. The immune system begins to lose its ability for it to detect a foreign virus or bacteria, making the body defenseless against strangers. Normally, the immune system should be able to ” tell ” the when there is a strange or foreign body and should, therefore, send an army of antibodies to protect the body from invaders. This is indeed the situation of Nigeria at this moment. The cells attacking each other describe the increased spike in robberies. That is to say, the virus or bacteria represents the present Covid-19 infection while the immune system should ordinarily be the police officers who swore an oath to protect lives and properties. It is the constant conflict of cells in the body that has now resulted in the body’s inability to fight the virus or bacteria.
The Armed Robbers And Their Mode Of Operation.
The modus operandi of the armed robbers has been to attack in groups of 50’s, 100’s, and in some cases, as many as 200. They rob at any time of the day completely choosing to damn whatever consequence from the security agencies. They vary in age, with some being as young as 12 and others in their late 30’s. Their strength is in their crippling numbers making it difficult for them to be apprehended. At first, they identified themselves as the Awawa boys. The Awawa boys are a type of cult known for their domination of the Agege community in Lagos state. With the increase in police activities in the area, many of the Awawa boys migrated to Ogun state. This is perhaps the reason why the robbery incident began in Ogun state. Another group has followed in their footsteps and is known as “One million boys“. Their major autonomy is in the Ajegunle and Ikorodu parts of Lagos state. This has consequently resulted in a significant increase in their numbers as well as effectiveness in their operations.
In the past week, we got to see an increase in robbery cases in places like Ifo, Sango, Abule-Egba, Ayobo, Egbeda, Agege, Ogba, Alimosho and environs as well as several other places. In some areas like Ifo, because of the regularity of the robbery, people withdraw cash and make it available for the robbers because there is usually the utmost certainty that the robbers will come. Those unwilling to suffer the wrath of the robbers get money available for them while those that are unable to do so are left with the choice of being punished,beaten,raped or /and even killed. They carry POS machines with them and so when you are not able to give cash, you are able to pay with your A.T.M cards. In some areas in Agege, the robbers go as far as writing letters to residents informing them of their intended plans to come and rob as well as the importance of their cooperation. The people in Agege market and its environs have had their daily dose of being robbed. Immediately the robbers arrive, you instantly begin to hear shouts and scream,Won ti n bo!!!won ti n bo!!! (the are coming!they are coming!) pandemonium ensues everywhere . The ones that are able to close their shops on time or quick enough to lock themselves up are usually the lucky ones.
A lot of people have been left with the sad reality of fending for themselves. There are several instances where the police were called upon during an armed operation but the police never showed up. Infact , this has been the order of the day with the exception of a few cases where the police intervened and captured some of the robbers. Getting frustrated with the incessant robbery, people are left with no other option than to form vigilantes in order to protect themselves. In some places, they take turns; a selected few would keep watch,the next day another selected few would continue. In other places, the residents of the street organize some sort of bonfire night just so no one gets tired and sleeps off. Imagine having to make do with whatever weapon you have access to in order to ward off extremely dangerous criminals . This has been the sad reality for the past few days. Corona virus is waging war upon us, hunger and starvation are waging war upon us,armed robbers are waging war upon us and it does not seem like its coming to an end soon.
The irony of the whole situation is the fact that people who were asked to stay at home for their own protection are in fact not safe in their own homes.
The social distancing is somewhat barely existent in these communities as they have had to come together to find a solution for themselves. Sleepless nights, worry, anxiety, hunger has been the order of the day in most parts of Lagos as those that haven’t been hit by the robbers are also scared for their lives. The truth is, it’s only when you have a life you can practice social distancing.
It is only when there is life one can begin to look out for people sneezing close to them or whether anyone is coughing. Why have these boys picked such a volatile time to rob people? Surely, these sets of people would make claims that they do not have a choice and that they need to meet up with their needs. The question is, Why not take up your grievances with the government that promised to take care of you during this period? What happens when others decide the same thing? Why take it out on innocent residents who are going through the same as you are?
On the 13th of April, the Nigerian President gave a press briefing announcing that he had added two more weeks to the lockdown. He also used the opportunity to mention the implementations the federal government made in the health sector among other things. In the words of Reno Omokri,
“it was a national waste of 20 minutes“.
One would have thought that the president would address the growing issue of insecurity in the country. People are hungry, worried, unsafe yet no mention of it. It is worthy to note that the relief funds that the government are claiming is being disbursed has only gotten to a few in Lagos and Ogun state. Even with the fact that Lagos has been the most affected with the Covid-19 pandemic. How do you put people in hunger with little to no provision and still allow them to be continuously harassed by miscreants?
Finally, with the above explanations, i hope the reasons for my assertion that “Nigeria is against herself” is justified. Nigerians have managed to replicate the way body cells attack one another not minding the effect it has on the country in the long run. In this case at hand, the immune system represents the different arms, levels, structures of the Nigerian government. The foreign bodies and bad cells represent the armed robbers, incompetent and corrupt leaders, and the autoimmune disease represents the outcome of an almost failing nation. The utmost hope is that the cancerous cells do not take rapid control of the whole system and this can majorly be done by implementing effective plans and structures that will survive this trying period.