Grammy Award-winning singer, Damini Ogulu (a.k.a Burna Boy), is currently in the eye of the storm over his involvement in a shooting incident at Cubana Club, Victoria Island, Lagos State, where two fun seekers were reportedly wounded. The sordid narrative is that Burna Boy had entered the club with a bevy of ladies and made repeated passes at a married woman in the presence of her husband, and when the latter protested, he was shot by one of his five police escorts. Two Nigerian young men based in the United States of America but on a short visit to the country reportedly sustained bullet wounds during the fracas. One was shot in the thigh and the other escaped by a whisker as the bullet aimed ostensibly at his head only grazed it. Curiously, and in a manner that smacked of sadistic pleasure, Burna Boy was said to be laughing while his police escorts unleashed terror on innocent fun seekers.
The singer’s case is also not helped by the fact that he seems to have a history of being cantankerous and with a proclivity for public affray. This untoward tendency has put a question mark on his moral upbringing and values. For instance, he has been involved in altercations with a fellow singer, David Adeleke (a.k.a Davido), Obafemi Martins, a former Super Eagles player, and many others. It is a good thing that Damini Ogulu has come into the limelight and indeed had an enviable career progression at a young age through his craft and by dint of hard work. But it is unfortunate that he has consistently demonstrated defective upbringing, and that is capable of rubbishing all he has achieved or will ever achieve if he sticks to the current pernicious trajectory of orchestrating unprovoked violence. It is counterproductive to work hard to earn fame, money and honour for yourself and tangentially for your community, only for you to perennially constitute a nuisance and danger to yourself and the community to which you have seemingly brought glory.
This unfortunate incident has brought to the fore certain revelations. It is evident from this incident that there can be no substitute for robust informal education to complement the formal variant so that recipients can become well rounded and capable of resisting being easily overwhelmed by success or the lack of it. It is axiomatic that success tends to be optimal and endure when western education and acquisition of skill sets are founded on home training that facilitates good moral values. Another revelation which is really unsettling is the fact that some privileged citizens outside the political class, like Burna Boy, could have as many as five policemen attached to each of them as bodyguards in a clime where the police are contending with manpower issues in the ordinary course of the discharge of their primary duty of protecting lives and properties. And if Burna Boy could draw five policemen away, presumably legitimately, from their primary duties, one can only imagine the magnitude of the contributions of the other affluent citizens in the society to the heightening insecurity in the country arising partly from shortage of manpower in the police. The incident has also called to question the quality of screening and background checks that are carried out by the police in determining eligibility for police escorts by applicants.
Is there any sure-fire way of screening out immature and undisciplined potential beneficiaries who could put the escorts to uses that negate public good? Or is the primary consideration just the ability to afford the cost of police escorts? Again, the question may be asked as to what kind of briefings police personnel receive before being deployed to perform escort duties. We ask these questions because it sounds rather absurd that police escorts could go into a nightclub with firearms. And is it not strange that the police personnel attached to Burna Boy did not deem it fit to file any formal report about the violent incident in any police station? Are the policemen on escort duties even aware that their rules of engagement are strictly as defined by the police, and not the civilian principals to whom they are attached?
We urge the police to fine-tune and streamline the deployment of its personnel as guards to private citizens, especially as regards the number and the rules of engagement. The review of the police escort operations is imperative because the Cubana Club incident could be just a tip of the iceberg regarding the rot that has crept into that aspect of police services. Meanwhile, the reported arrest and detention by the police authorities of the five police officers involved in the incident is a salutary development. The police should go further to investigate the incident painstakingly and prosecute anyone who breached the law, including Burna Boy who reportedly jetted out of the country shortly after the unfortunate incident. Fame and money cannot be a licence for a citizen to operate outside the precincts of the law. On this matter, the police have their honour and integrity on the line. They should not allow few errant and undisciplined personnel to further sully their less than enviable reputation and get away with it.