Still, a weapon of obstruction?

Sometimes, you just want to forget that you are in Nigeria, and that you are free to do whatever you want. But photojournalists are an endangered species. Nobody remembers them. In fact, one of the brightest minds in Africa recently called them wielders of “weapons of mass obstruction.” Perhaps he was being mild – using “obstruction” instead of “destruction”. Out there, everyone is scared of the journalist’s camera. It’s a different kind of fear, though. For instance, nobody runs away from the camera out of fear. But many would most certainly attack a photographer because they are afraid of what the photographer might do with the picture.

It was a beautiful morning. The walk began from Tolulope Street at Hilltop Estate, Ikorodu, all the way to the estate’s entrance. Vehicles suddenly began to turn back, right into the estate. Something had happened! Yes, that’s how photojournalists think. It may well be time to capture that picture of the century! It was an accident, it seemed. A truck from a brewery across the road had lost control, and run into the opposite compound, bringing down the fence. Big company, big scandal! In cases like this, a phone camera is better: less attention.

Phone in mid-motion, and suddenly ten boys appeared from the brewery! Ten or more able-bodied men! Ah, bad day! It wasn’t a battle one person could win. They quickly seized the phone, and, after searching through the files, decided to format it! The entire memory was gone!

“Why are you looking at us like that?” one of them asked. “If we choose to, we can destroy the phone itself, and you won’t do anything.”

It was a sad walk back to Tolulope Street. The formatted phone didn’t look much like a weapon, let alone one of mass destruction – or obstruction. It was a weapon of formatted efforts.