We see them on television screens and on pages of newspapers as well as on social media grinning from ear to ear with mouths as wide as fisherman’s basket. Some of them exhibit decaying teeth with foreheads as broad as the Babalawo [Diviner]’s bowl. You simply wonder why they are laughing or why they should be laughing while being paraded by the fierce looking EFCC operatives or being led to the court room by equally fierce looking armed police men and women.
Could such moments be occasions for jocundity or cheer? Could moments when once powerful and influential individuals are being disgraced and humiliated because of alleged misdemeanours be of celebration and chest beating?
You wonder whether there is no more code of conduct in the land or whether what is popularly and traditionally referred to as a sense of shame has disappeared from our lands. I find it baffling that people who are supposed to be remorseful for finding themselves in suspicious circumstances even if their guilt has not been proven should be celebrating. Celebrating what? Celebrating embarrassment?
I may want to excuse those individuals who were fingered for persecution and prosecution occasioned by Obasanjo’s ‘bad belle’ in the better forgotten days of Enforced Fabrication to Cage Competitors. But even at that, such persecuted individuals should not be dancing to the court room or to the jail house or out of prison. Their comportment in such moments should teach a lesson, not frivolity.
What cannot be excused is the bravado of obvious thieves and felons who want to hide under what is called ‘bold face’ in popular parlance. When you see these stiff necks with necks as thick as the mahogany trunk and chests that compete with those of Sumi-tomo wrestlers you feel like wrenching their necks and blowing off their brainless stealing skulls.
There are obvious cases that do not require any legality to prove. A public official who is found to have lodged 500 million US dollars in his secondary school student son’s bank account cannot be excused on any ground. But for the fact that our Constitution provides asses that our laws can sit on, such officials when found should be marched straight to prison or have their brains blown off as the prevailing punishment for rogues in China.
A public official in whose backyard is found millions of naira bulging from pretentious grave cannot be trusted with any face saving excuses. We all know where a piece of meat placed in the mouth disappeared into! Is a fake coffin buried deep in a shallow grave in the master bedroom the bank for billions of US dollars?
Now when the characters in whose custody strange findings of huge public funds are exposed are being led to answer queries, they plaster their faces with artificial smiles and clench their fists in victory as if they are celebrating the idiocy of Nigeria’s criminal laws. I simply cannot understand.
The question is why should people accused of being responsible for the impoverishment of their fellow country men and women be laughing and waving to nobody in particular when they are being paraded as looters? These are people who should be crying. If they are innocent of the charges laid at their feet, they should still be crying and feeling sorry that they are being embarrassed wrongfully. And if they know in their hearts that they are the vultures they say they are, their cries should be louder and deafening that they have been caught in their track and they are on their way to prison. Either way, they should not be laughing.
It is a big shame that those who have hijacked leadership in this country and have made the rest of the populace mere spectators while they stole the country silly have lost all sense of decorum, and with it lost all humanity.
The laughter being exhibited, the swagger being theatrically displayed are all borne out of the ravaging culture of impunity which had stolen the soul of Nigeria. Those who put themselves in charge of the country believe that they are above the laws of the land and indeed above everybody and every institution. They treat Nigeria and Nigerians with absolute contempt and that is why even when they are caught red handed bleeding the country they fear no consequence.
“Who will touch me in this country? Who will dare challenge me or put me in prison? My uncle, a former Governor stole millions and nothing happened to him. My father was a bank robber and he was hailed as one of the greatest men that ever lived. Nothing happened to him. Yes. My uncle was President and he stole every inch of the land and every Kobo of the Naira that belonged to the people, he walked the land free until he died a glorious death. Nobody ever touched him. So why should I not laugh and mock the system?” these are some of the thoughts that usually run riot in the minds of our big-men and big-women criminals any time they are being led to court or to prison for brief detention. Pshaw!
You can now see why they are laughing instead of crying. Add to that the fact that majority of Nigerians are so docile and pathologically stupid in the sense that they see those who are killing them and yet continue to hail these same people who have destroyed the country.
It is pathetic. Some one may want to cite the so-called Human Rights. Do those people who have robbed others of their fundamental human rights deserve any iota of rights? Do people who have taken other people’s lives have any right to keep their own? Did the Scriptures not say that the God of Israel is God of vengeance? Should those who send millions to their unmerited death because of their [the plunderers] plundering of the common pot deserve to be pitied or given any mercy? Do such characters deserve any applause from their victims?
Special courts are needed to curb the excesses of all those who have brought this country to the sorry state it is in now. With such Special Courts and the stiffness of penalties they will impose, and the speed with which they dispense justice, exhibition of decayed teeth on the way to Tribunals will stop.
Or may be it is the emergence of Ghana’s Rawlings or Ethiopia’s Mengistu that will summarily deal with these laughing villains and silence their clan once and for all.
Let Nigerians for once show some seriousness and self-respect and stop applauding those graceless looters.
The pen is the tongue of the hand,the silent utterer of words for the eyes…Henry Beecher
Tola Adeniyi is our distinguished guest columnist.