Quick one on impunity
Last night a uniformed man holding a gun told me, “I fit shoot you and nothing go happen.”
To be fair, it was said in jest. I’d said something cynical about him wasting his time where he was, and he’d have been better off servicing Burna Boy. We both laughed over the whole thing, and he sent me on my merry way.
But here is the thing: I’ve been told similar words by men such as him, standing at roadblocks, and wearing the same uniform, and for the most part there is a reason they can say such things: it’s largely true. Policemen in Nigeria have shot people and gone back to work.
It says a lot about our country and where we’re at that this impunity happens, but here is the thing: impunity in Nigeria has become democratised, and we’re now all in on the act, from the Immigrations officials who routinely ask for handouts at our international airports, thus setting a bad name for the country from the point of entry, to the kidnappers and killers who never get arrested for their activities, to me, who would shunt a queue, or look away when I see something wrong, because I have given up.
This kind of behaviour ties into everything, from the national grid collapsing for the 17th time so far in 2022, to government officials quaffing money. It’s simple: nothing happens, and as humans, we respond to incentives. There is now every incentive to do what would be seen as wrong elsewhere because, within the limits of probability, you’d get away with it.
You see, despite all of Buhari’s commiserations, we’ve not seen the perpetrators of any of the 68 mass murders since the start of 2020 inside of a courtroom, so why would other would-be mass murderers not happily get murdering?
Why would I not join in the free for all of I get appointed to a government office?
There’s a reason why it’s termed, “free-for-all”, and this brings me to what I’d do if I ever got into office, asides chopping money of course…
I think that our problems start with impunity. Every other thing comes a distant second. We don’t need new laws with regard to the most basic things, we need to enforce, fairly and without favour, already existing laws. The trouble that me or any other person who gets into office and attempts to enforce now will be this: the culture of impunity is now so pervasive, that any attempt to start enforcing it will immediately lead to accusations of bias.