TYLER Durdlen did a good job on how a country dies gradually without its inhabitants knowing what is happening, because both brilliant and dullard get tasked. He said those living during the decline of Rome were likely unaware that anything was happening. The decline took over a couple of hundred years. Anyone living during the decline only saw a small part of what was happening and likely never noticed it as anything other than ordinary.
Countries truly don’t have genetically-determined life spans, nor do they die quickly, unless the cataclysm of some great war finishes them off. Even in such extreme cases, there are usually warning signs, which are more obvious in hindsight than at the time.
Only a few citizens of a dying country recognise the signs. Most are too busy trying to live their lives, sometimes not an easy task. If death occupies their mind, it is with respect to themselves, a relative or a friend. Most cannot conceive the death of their country.
This is why many Nigerians would today think Nigeria is just passing through challenges, since they are not trained to read symptoms of a dying country. The truth is that Nigeria is dying daily, it’s just that a country does not stop breathing suddenly like a human being.
There are oddities all around us which are inexplicable beyond the fact that the country is on its death bed. This column will continue to serve snippets of the symptoms from time to time. We go to my home state, Osun, this week.
Police detain, starve 9-month-old baby
As you read this, Rufiyat (27) and her son Abdullahi (nine months old) are still being hospitalised somewhere in Osun State, following trauma of their over 24 hours detention and starvation at the office of the Assitant Inspector General of Police in Osogbo between Wednesday and Thursday last week. It was like a story from Nazi camp which is better heard from the the victim’s mouth. Hear from Rufiyat:
“I was home around 4.00 p.m. last Wednesday when three policemen came to our house in Ede and said they were looking for my husband who is the registrar of Muslim High School, Ede. I told them his brothers have taken him to Ore in Ondo State to deal with the fractures he had when he was involved in an accident at Sekona some seven months ago, during which one of his colleagues died and another was injured.
“They then told me I must follow them to Osogbo and they forcefully took me into a car with my nine-month-old baby. My two other children were running around and crying when they took us away. But I thank my neighbour who took them in while I was away.
“We got to Osogbo and they asked me the same question about my husband’s whereabout and I gave them the same answer as I did in Ede. One of them said they should throw me and my baby in the cell so I would tell them the the truth. They already opened the cell when another said they should lock me in the statement room. That was where myself and my infant baby were detained without food or water for over 24 hours. My baby started crying when my breasts were no longer flowing for him to suck.
“It was around 6.00 p.m. the following day that they came and took my statement. They then said they were granting me bail and gave me N500 to come back to Ede. I came out with pains all over my body and feeling so nauseated. My son became so touchy and was crying. We have ended in hospital since.”
The acting Inspector-General of Police has to get on top of this. This is not happening in some police posts in a remote village but under an Assistant Inspector-General of Police who is the head of a zone. The acting Inspector-General of Police is a widely travelled man who has done a lot at the Interpol. How does he explain this barbaric act of his men? He should get his AIG, Mr Adeleye Oyebade, to explain why this evil was done in the name of policing. The Nigerian and global community of conscience must stay on this until justice is done.
Will justice be denied four-year-old girl raped in Osun?
I got into the Features Department of The Punch through Mr Bola Bolawole who was Features Editor then. We had a great team under him with Joe Dundun, Azu Ishiekwene, Tunde Kolawole, Jude Arijaje and yours truly with other colleagues. I have been in touch with him ever since.
Our point of contact lately was my call to him after reading that the four-year-old girl recently raped by a school driver in Osogbo is the daughter of his niece. According to the troubling stuff shared by BB, her cousin came across an old acquaintance (Mrs Eniola Badmus Adeyemi) who told her of her school, Charleston Group of Schools run by her and her husband, Mr Charles Adeyemi. Within days of BB’s niece registering her daughter in the school, she was raped. Let BB tell other salient aspects of the sad story:
“From Day One, the accused and those he worked for had proven to be well connected in the Osogbo power circles. Told about this, I put a call across to Dr Charles Akinola, then SSA to the Governor but now elevated to Chief of Staff, to complain about some funny moves I was told were going on. I later sent him the following text message on Thursday, January 24: ‘Beloveth brother good day. I’m Bola Bolawole, former editor, PUNCH newspapers and columnist with Sunday Tribune and New Telegraph. I was shocked to hear that the four-year-old girl raped in Osogbo last week is daughter to my niece. I am more so scandalised to learn that political pressure is being mounted to sweep the matter under the carpet. I heard His Excellency the Governor and even Vice President Osinbajo’s names are being dropped. I sincerely hope this is false……’
“Dr Charles Akinola was gracious enough to call me. He vowed the governor would never impede the cause or course of justice. He asked for the details of the case and took my niece’s number. He said he received my message while he was sitting right across the table with His Excellency Governor Gboyega Oyetola. He promised ‘someone’ would call me shortly. The person did. It was those ‘registered numbers’ that speak volumes about the owner: 888888; 44444; 00000 etc. They actually did call my niece. They promised to investigate and feed me back. I am yet to hear from them.
“In the interval, it appears some powerful forces are working to have the case thrown out of court for lack of diligent prosecution. The case file has not returned from the DPP. The case has been heard in chambers away from the prying eyes of reporters. Vicious media and smear campaign has been waged against my hapless niece. All manner of intimidation, inducements, and threats have been directed at her and known members of her immediate family. Her lawyer has been beaten to a corner and cannot come to court again.
“To make matters worse, at the last outing, the accused was granted bail with threats by the judge to throw out the case at the next adjourned date of Monday, April 29, if the case file had not returned from the DPP.”
It was frightening for me to hear a human rights leader in Osun confirming BB’s fears by saying to me that “the four-year-old will not get justice as the proprietor of the school is an SSA to the Govenor and close to the Vice-President.” It would be tragic if that proves right.
Re: The final hours of Soviet Union: Lessons for Nigeria
Thank you for the above article. It is a pity that many of us Nigerians do not want to learn from history and our past mistakes. Our leaders and lawmakers have continued to play the ostrich game. They know that all is not well with the country, yet they pretend that all is well. Is it not funny that that those who rode to power by promising to restructure Nigeria are the very people who are against the call to do this? When the demand for restructuring became high, they hurriedly set up a committee to revisit the issue. The outcome of the committee report is now history. Who is deceiving who? Those who rose against restructuring of this country are doing so because they are benefiting from the present oppressive system. This situation will not last forever.
After all some leaders in the former Soviet Union believed that the Union will never come to an end. The breaking-up of the Union took such people by storm. Never in history has any oppressive system survived the test of time. Those demanding for the restructuring of Nigeria must not be discouraged. Time will tell in the case of this country. —Ekwe Tony
Thank you sir for the wonderful piece, God bless you
Those who lack integrity and whose dictionary does not contain the word ‘fairness’ have failed to see that sometimes good things need to fall apart so that better things can fall together. They think that restructuring in Nigeria is a truth that they have buried. Unknown to them, the truth is growing, it is choking. It is gathering an explosive force such that on the day it bursts out, it will blow up everything with it. This is the assurance we have, that restructuring will take place in Nigeria whether anyone likes it or not, because no chance, no destiny, no fate can hinder the firm resolve of a determined mind. —Akintunde Isola
I appreciate your write-up. Your expressions nurture my heart. History will surely vindicate you on issues you talked on. May God prosper you in boldness, courage, wisdom, knowledge and understanding. —Uriah Joshua