Nigeria is one unique country, both good and bad.
Despite being home to the highest number of poor persons, it is easy to see extreme wealth amid that poverty.
Even with Nigeria having less than 400,000 operatives in its overstretched police force; politicians, celebrities and others still get to walk around with heavy security details. This is the same country where some territories are under the control of Boko Haram, bandits and other non-state actors; where a citizen in need of police assistance would have to wait for hours on end without any succour.
Using the population estimate of 200 million and a 400,000-strong police force; the implication is that there is one police officer for 500 Nigerians.
Last week, while jogging, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, went on his early morning exercise routine around Linda Chalker street in Guzape. It was an interesting sight as the Minister was surrounded by a six-man security detail; complete with a tactical support vehicle riding behind him. In a simplified way, Amaechi just appropriated police officers meant for 4,500 Nigerians.
This is the weirdest video you will see on the internet today.
— 1stnewsng (@1stnewsng) May 13, 2021
How is that fair? Like everything else in Nigeria, the development is worrisome.
What is the Minister scared of? Come to think of it, why are they always scared? Well, the answer to these posers is simple. They have not done well. Guzape is a microcosm of Nigeria; where extreme wealth and extreme poverty co-habit side by side.
Guzape is home to some of the current Ministers. The glamour and wealth could be seen when driving through. But the devil is in the details, as they say. There are four villages “slums” within that same glamourous world where Amaechi is. The villages are surrounded by those fancy houses that Amaechi and co hold court in.
Despite being within the same location, the inequality is obvious. The villages have no basic amenities like water or roads while street light is but a luxury. The most unfortunate part of the whole thing is that while the houses in Guzape are empty; the roads are well laid-out, with complimentary street light. Two contrasting worlds sitting side by side.
Why would a Nigerian politician be comfortable jogging around without security? Through their recklessness, they are creating an army of people that have nothing to lose. Today, bandits have taken over some part of Niger State and more Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) will move into Abuja city. The city is already home to about six IDP camps.
Why are these politicians not thinking? Make those villages safe, and you can jog in your fancy Maitama, Asokoro, Guzape, Wuye and others. As long as you greedily appropriate communal goods to yourself, you will never be safe.
Furthermore, the heat is coming to Nigerian politicians gradually; especially with the recent attempt to burgle the home of the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof Ibrahim Gambari. Also, the office of Nicholas Ossai, a member of the House of Representatives was reportedly burgled. The same office is located in the National Assembly complex.
It is not just politicians that are guilty of appropriating police officers for show-off. Nigerian celebrities are another breed who have learnt the act. Recently, Nigerians on social media reacted to a picture of BBNaija superstar, Kiddwaya with four policemen.
There is a reason why it is difficult to end this silly practice. It is because the police brass make money from assigning officers to these juicy postings. Back in 2018, former Senator Isa Misau, an ex-cop himself accused the then IGP, Ibrahim Idris of making millions from such postings.
Little wonder repeated orders of withdrawal of police details from VIPs have become nothing but soundbite from every appointed IGP. Last year, former IGP Adamu Muhammed ordered the withdrawal of police operatives from VIP. However, nothing happened. His successor has already made the customary declaration. But your guess is as good as mine on this.
Here is another option for Nigerian politicians.
If you can’t give up your perks of having police follow you around like zombies; why not employ more police officers to protect our villages, while you still get some for your expensive jogging?