Fela of blessed memory saw tomorrow when he sang in his song- Tears, Sorrow and Blood- “my people self dem fear too much…, we fear to fight for freedom, we fear to fight for justice, we fear to fight for liberty, We fear to fight for happiness….we always get a reason to fear…I get one child, I no wan die, mama de for house, papa de for house, So, policeman go slap your face you no go talk, army man go whip your yansh, you go de look like donkey..”
From Fela’s rendition of tears, sorrow, and blood, the fear to lose our lives made criminals take the best of us. Even though we fear to die, emerging events show that except we stand up to resist the misgovernance and widespread crimes on our street, death is lurking around the corner and nobody can predict who the next victim is.
Things have tended to be changing in the last few months. Remember the #Endsars mobilization? Though the #Endsars came with the good, the bad, and the ugly, four recent events have shown that we can all play a part in taking our streets from criminals, be they in uniforms or civilians. These events have also shown that by our collective strength, we could assist the excellent law enforcement agents in stamping out evil from our society.
In February 2022, armed robbers robbed a bank at Uromi and decided to escape through Ubiaja with their loot. Words filtered to Ubiaja youths who chose to block all the exit points. The armed robbers got trapped, abandoning their vehicles and the haul.
On August 10, 2022, two incidents happened, and the collective efforts of passersby saved innocent citizens from criminals. First were online reports that four boys started robbing motorists and passengers on the Long bridge coming into Lagos. While many drivers and passengers abandoned their vehicles and scampered to safety, some brave ones summoned courage, confronted the hoodlums with pellets of stones from their hideouts, and confronted them with manchettes. The robbers had to beat a retreat. That is the strength of a collective.
The second was a video that went viral on social media and was said to have occurred in the Lokogoma area of Abuja, where suspected kidnappers kidnapped a POS girl and bundled her into a car trunk. Someone saw them and went after the suspected kidnappers shouting and calling attention to the incident. Road users blocked the alleged kidnappers’ cars, the criminals were apprehended, and the POS girl was set free. That is the strength of a collective.
I have also watched online videos where a particular governor was chased out of the podium by youths chanting ‘ole’-thief. It took frantic efforts of security agencies to save the governor from lynching. That is the power of the collective.
In the social space, we have also seen the use of cameras to identify lawless law enforcement officers and subsequently being dismissed.
From the look of things, the storm is gathering. If things continue the way it is, it will seem that the power of the people will soon begin to whip evil doers to the line, reminding them that it is no longer business as usual, and that power belongs to the people.
Grace and peace!!!