By ‘Gbenga Ajongbolo
It was in 2009. We had just resumed for the second semester and it was that period of the academic session where students had expectations for more social gatherings, clubbings, birthday and departmental and faculty and association parties. Majority of us had devised many tricks to get more money from home to sustain us for the numerous gigs ahead.
Then we had little or no electricity. Almost all hostels outside the school campus had one or two generators owned by students. Some were lucky to have landlords who provided them electricity. Some were not too lucky. I fell into the latter category.
The noise woke us that morning. That noise a typical Nigerian is accustomed to. The roars and shrieks from the angry students sent a bad signal. The day was already clear and it would be unusual to conclude it was a theft. They say seeing is believing. We needed to see this.
But it turned out to be true. A thief had been caught. He tried “moving” a tiger generator. The owner( a final year student) had an appointment with his project supervisor that morning and needed the generator to power his laptop and complete his work.
The alleged thief had been stripped naked, with his John Thomas dangling here and there and his booty placed on his head. He was purposely led to my hostel as a student leader was a next-door neighbour.
We wasted no time. We sprung into action. He was tied to an electric pole, with his loot placed in between his legs. Pails and buckets of water emptied their contents on him. Canes came from nowhere. Planks arrived from everywhere. Leather belts were weapons. A student turned Mike Tyson. One was Mighty Igor.
Soon, his face was swollen. Lips broken. Blood oozed out from all openings on his body. His shoulders were discolated. His body sagged. The ladies had a field day. Their phone cameras clicked on ceaselessly concentrating more on the lower part of his body! He was later relesead to go home and “sin no more”.
This may not describe the jungle justice you have seen, watched and even partook in. It may not totally capture the gory video of that alleged burglar you once saw on youtube being burnt and roasted alive with tyres and petrol. It may not explain fully what that Kano woman went through, the Abuja evangelist, the Abia salesman, the Orile pickpocket and the Akure madman and all the others you have witnessed. Mark would need to lend me some pages to list the number of jungle justices melted out to fellow Nigerians under just two years.
It is then pathetic and confusing when you defend your thieving politicians caught in the act with everything at your disposal. They give you a story to protect themselves. You pass the story around. The story for the gods. They mobilize you, hand over some wads of fresh mints, station you under the sun and narrate their story.
We are being witch-hunted, they tell you. They are using media trial on us. Why only us? Why not their own persons? How much did we even “stole”? Money that CANNOT buy ordinary peugeot! Did they tell you many people bought private jets while we held sway? We made many people billionaires. Why always us!
After their public address, you jump on your social media platforms. Those are the only places you could find your lost voice. Your tweets are deafening. Your facebook posts would make the feeble-hearted go back to their school works. You already bought plots of land on Nairaland. You continuously promote your thieving politician on your blogs and websites. Yet, you know he and his cohorts have raped your future with just a pen and a few clicks on their laptops or phones!
You passionately hate burglars but shower praises on those who have burgled your commonwealth. You detest petty thieving. You could kill on phone theft. Just last year, you joined the mob to beat to stupor an alleged chicken thief in your neighbourhood but remain unmoved and unperturbed when you discover your LG chairman has a hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
When the news break of a government official looting billions of naira, you defend him. He built his 5 mansions before he came into office. He has been using exotic cars before he ventured into politics. He already has streets in his name in Chicago and Brooklyn.
This is not in anyway discouraging you from your chosen “career”. Continue working on yourself, build more network of fellow officers, sing their praises into high heavens. When next a mob action starts on a petty thief, take the center stage, lead the team, kill the boy, burn him alive, call for more hands and make sure he doesn’t survive it.
And when your thieving and greedy politician is accused again, bring out your constitution, quote that normal section, tell them he is innocent until proven guilty and continue narrating the same old story. The story for the gods!