Re–ONLY IN NIGERIA by Mazi Odera, modernghana.com
The following is a reply to Mazi Odera’s post titled ONLY IN NIGERIA. I am responding to the part where Mazi talked about Fashola’s arresting of the army colonel who drove his car on BRT lane.
Here is a quote from the post:
In Lagos ,former capital of Nigeria,the base of Alaye or say out law,there the Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola confiscated ,then divided all the Federal Roads in the state,he commercialised it by marking out lanes for BRT Buses ,a venture of Lagos State Government.If He is a lawyer as some people wanted us to think ,he should know that ,He needs the permission of the Federal Government before he can embark on such exercise and that also will mean that he will be paying some commiserations to the Federal for using thier roads.
That was not so ,the painful aspect of this mess is that ,some months ago,this arrogant Governor stopped a MILLITARY COLONEL ,who was dressed in a full Mililitary gear ,driving an Army official Car and was on official duties ,driving on a Federal Road .Then Fashola stopped and disgraced the Uniform,the Federal strenght,the Army that is the symbol of National security,the might of the nation was reduced to ALAYE bravado.
Had our Military has some Balls ,or should i say it this way ,if the Milllitary officer happened to be from the core North ,i am sure the Soldiers would,ve taught Fashola that messing with the Army is like declaring war on the nation.
But,Fashola did that and the Army who has the ultimate right of way ,in this instance a federal road at that ,they allowed such insolence to prevail.
To reach the rank of Colonel in Nigerian Army ,is not the same as having Bola Tinubu enthrone you as his puppet,it is never a political appointment,it is not to be decided by legitimate and illegitimate voters,it is an institution that commands respect even if they are poorly recognised.
What did the Army and Federal Government did in other to address such insult ?
They smiled ,pointed finger ,left ,right ,center and we all look forward …..forward to what ?
Nice article you have there Mazi, but let me correct you on the Fashola-Army officer issue.
No, the army does not have the right of way on Federal roads. There is no law to stand by your statement. The Colonel in question was in his private vehicle, was not on an army mission, and there was no case of emergency that he had to respond to.
We are in a democracy, remember? Nigeria is not a war zone. If the army has the right of way, then that means they are above the National law and the law of the states they reside in as well. That calls for anarchy. The army will soon become the next pedestal for power-brokers. And what will happen to wives, children, distant relatives of army personnel. Are they also above the law?
The constitution recognizes first the rights of its civilian population – bonafide Nigerian citizens. Yes, the army are a special calling, but they are supposed to protect the citizenry. With all the Boko Haram bombs that have exploded since Jan2012, I wonder what the primary job description of the army really is.
Whether or not it was a northern army officer on the Lagos road is not the issue. There is nothing the army will do. Law is Law and they have to obey the law. If the army obeys the law, they set a good example for everyone to follow, then they have the right to correct people.
Just FYI, if you trace the history of lawlessness in Nigeria, state by state, the army is at the top of the list. Army colonel or not, how many army colonels in Nigeria have actually been at the war front? 90% of them haven’t seen any form of war. There are even Generals in the Nigerian Army who haven’t experienced war / combat. Ask them how many rounds of bullets have they fired in their lifetime.
Have they seen anything like 18-25year old American soldiers saw in Iraq and Afghanistan? Its one thing to be a soldier, its another to be in the army. Our army officers in Nigeria are in the army. They are not soldiers. All our army knows is going for one training or the other, peace-keeping missions, etc., and that is where they get their ranks from.
But can they even keep the peace at home? No. They are professionals at fermenting trouble.
Check these out:
- Ex-army officer arrested for supplying guns to Fulani militants,
- Army officer Show of shame at Obanikoro bus stop
- Army officers kidnapped Mikel Obi’s father
- Sunday Ayodeji – Nigerian army obanikoro terrorist
- Nigerian army kill Police DPO and 14 others on a revenge mission
- of Empire in Ojuelegba, of its Kings and Queens
The way some of these army officers behave, you might wonder what kind of training they received. An army officer should be a disciplined person, but the host of officers we have in Nigeria are the epitome of indiscipline, rot and stupidity. The average Nigerian citizen runs away from anyone that looks like an army officer. Why? do you run away from someone you are convinced likes you and really wants to protect you?
Are these not the same army that sat by and watched innocent people get killed in Jos? Look at all the violence in the Nigerian North, why cant you ask: WHERE IS THE NIGERIAN ARMY or do they need a letter of invitation before responding to security issues happening in their immediate environment?
So let me help you to write what you should have written: ONLY in Nigeria, about the Nigerian army:
1) Its only in Nigeria that, #1 law-breakers are army officers. Its only an army officer that will park his private car in a no-parking area and ferment trouble when he’s told to move his car away and park properly. If you mis-blow your horn at an army officer in front of you in traffic, he can get down, drag you out of your car, beat you up like a criminal and drive off as if nothing happened. Its only an army officer that will go price goods at the market and even though he cannot afford the fare, he will forcefully take the product and give you less than the amount it costs – in the name of been in the army. He will show you his badge and tell you which barracks you can find him, but woe unto you if you ever go to any barracks saying you are looking for an army officer. At the end of the day, you’ll be embarrassed and told that the army officer must have used a fake identity.
2) Its only in Nigeria that army officers are the cheapest commodity in cash or kind: Army officers are allowed to drive cars without number-plates and proper documentation. Should a police officer stop an army officer in traffic, its wahala. The army officer waves / brings out his army-badge when asked to present papers for the car he is driving – as if his army badge is synonymous to the cars papers. In fact, after living in Lagos for several years, I have realized some new business that army officers engage in. If you buy a new car and need someone to drive it from Lagos to anywhere in Nigeria(whether or not the car is stolen property, whether or not the car has proper documentation)– in order to avoid the hassles at police-checkpoints along the way, an army officer is the best bet. Not because they are good drivers, but because the Nigerian police waves them off at checkpoints. In fact I have the phone number of one of them(Fred – but I don’t know his surrname) who does this business on a regular basis. I have verified through my relatives that he is indeed an army officer. His fee as of early 2011 was NGN50,000.00 (fifty thousand naira) for anything toyota, honda, etc. He, alone will drive your car day or night and anything you pack inside (good, bad or contraband) to any destination of your choice. Just meet him at your destination and hand over the cash, and he disappears into the wind.
Now, just think about the security implications of such a trade. No wonder, WITH ALL THE POLICE WE HAVE, everything in Nigeria is insecure.
I hope you are aware that the above applies to cars owned by an army officer. A car owned by an army officer is an automatic gold product. If you touch it, you are in trouble. And If you have an army officer as a friend, just go get the army badge and stick it on your car. Instantly, you become an army officer and you can slap anybody. If anybody brushes your car, they are in trouble even if you are the one that is guilty.
If your father is an army officer, you are a VIP anywhere. You can drive any car without license plates, you don’t even need a license to drive, you can break all traffic rules. You can beat up anybody anywhere, you can become a nuisance in the society, and when they ask you why, let them know: MY FATHER IS A COLONEL, and immediately you are free.
Better still if an army officer is your immediate relative(brother, sister, son, cousin), you are immediately above the law. They(your army relatives) will settle anything on your behalf. From not paying your house rent, fighting with your neighbor, driving on the wrong side of the road, to issues with the police, whatever it is, just call your army relative and the job gets done. Even if you become an armed robber and are caught by the police, the moment you mention an army officers name, you become a VIP inside any jail in Nigeria. You will not be tortured to tell the truth until the officer arrives.
Better still, all you need to say is that you have an army officer as your brother. When the officer arrives, nobody will question his whether or not you are family-related or just friends or even total strangers. In fact, this officer would rather appear in his uniform without a name-badge than present his identity card, so that the identity issue cannot be confirmed.
Better still, if you don’t have / know any army officer as a friend, but if you have a friend that has as a friend who is an army officer, you better take great care that you preserve your relationship with your own friend coz the day you are in trouble, you might need him / her to call his army friend to come to your rescue. Note: the army officer doesn’t need to know you / ascertain your reputation before aiding you, for a fee ofcourse.
3) It is only in Nigeria that army officers cannot be reported for misconduct: Is there any government office in the entirety of Nigeria that you can report an army officer for misconduct and you will be listened to? Thank God for mobile phones and cameras that have made some cases public. If not, those folks will go scot free.
4) Its only in Nigeria that an army officer enters public transport without pay and can decide to occupy the space meant for 3-people, still without pay: if you live in Lagos, you know what I mean. If you are a driver and one of them enters your bus, don’t bother asking them for bus-fares(Uniformed or not). And if they say they are not ready to “dress / adjust” so that others can share the same seat, you are in trouble – its your loss for the day.
Or whenever you see a danfo driver and his conductor with an army officer in front travelling from Ojota to Maroko at 7am in the morning and still the same officer is in the same bus by 3pm, you should know that the officer is a security guard against touts, the police and other army officers that might want to extort money from the danfo driver.
I remember sometime ago, I was travelling from Abuja to somewhere in the North. There was an army officer amongst us passengers. Unfortunately, it was Friday. Along the way, the driver moved into a road-side restaurant. The driver, 2 passengers and the army officer said they wanted to go pray. Meanwhile, we(the others) went to eat. Ok, we finished eating, came and sat down in the bus. The driver and the 2-passengers finished praying, returned and the army officer couldn’t be found. At first they said he was in the toilet, etc. Long story cut short, he wasted 2-hours of our precious time while complaints and abuses flew from front to back in the bus. After prayer, he went to the toilet, then went to eat, then went to buy something else, then disappeared somewhere, etc. Just image a 15-seater bus and 14-of us were waiting for an army officer who appeared from nowhere 2hours later and could not say a simple SORRY.
5) When I was looking for a house in Lagos, I discovered that land-lords don’t like Army officers? why? coz they(army officers) default on paying agreed rent, yet they would be living large, buying cars, doing business and telling the home-owners that the government hasn’t paid their salaries. Its only army officers who would pack out of a rented house with 1-year+ owed rents, and who won’t bother to even negotiate with the house-owner when the payment will be made. They wont even apologize that they haven’t paid rent. And by the time you report the issue to the police, immediately they know the tenant is an army officer, case closed. In fact, they would ferment trouble with the house owner if he refuses to allow them move out of the house until the rent is paid.
6) Its only in Nigeria that army officers like beating up civilians: after living in Lagos for several years, I have witnessed several sad scenes:
1) an army officer beat up a pregnant woman for blocking their way in traffic? It was only when people started shouting that they left her alone.
2) an army officer beat up his girl friend in the car(this happened during traffic), open up the door, drag her out wazz her some other slaps, her face covered in blood, and he went back to his car and drove off,
3) several times army officers and the Nigerian police get into fights.
4) several times, army officers arresting danfo drivers for money issues
5) too many stories to mention.
So Mazi, you should get the picture by now that the army is not your friend, they do not show the discipline that their uniform projects. They could as well remove the uniform and we would all live in peace. Some Arial boys in Lagos are more disciplined than the Army.
I commend Gov. Fashola for what he did, and war would have broken out in Lagos that day if the army officer tried to resist arrest or get into a physical fight with the governor. I can assure you that Lagosians will come out and defend their governor physically if need be. In fact, first on the list will be Arial boys who would give army officers in Lagos a dose of their own medicine.