Abba Kyari and the Nigerian Culture of Pseudo-Outrage

by Onyemaechi Ogbunwezeh
Nigeria Police

Nigerians are a very funny lot.

Not only have we crowned ourselves a republic of clowns; we are an outrageous people, who are in love with outrage.

We miss no opportunity to voice and celebrate outrage, no matter how sepulchral or indicting, the hypocrisy scaffolding that occasion is.

But the unfunny joke arising out of such contexts remains, that we run the risk of essaying, to furiously fulfill our collective ambition, of becoming an embrace of fools.

Are we just waking up to the fact, that every Nigerian Policeman is an Abba Kyari in-the-most-proximate-potency, and worse? Or are we just incurably in love with pretense?

It is funny that many of us, needed the FBI and the American Justice indictment of Abba Kyari, to know the profound depths of the rotteness, or show outrage at the viscous opacity of the ethical sludge, which the Nigerian Police has been?

We seem to be a deluded people, on an eternal voyage of delusion.

Was Wole Soyinka not on record, calling the Nigerian Police a nest of killers?

Did we react to that?

We went home to murmur to our pillows, and continued as if he was talking to the winds.

The Apo-six happened. Six innocent Nigerians were murdered in cold blood, by a detachment of Nigerian Policemen, led by a Police Inspector, whose amorous advances was rejected by one of the victims.

The Nobel laureate, summarized the ontology of one aspect of an institution, whose metaphysic originated and terminates in colonial oppression. If he had taken his interrogations further, he would have come to the conclusion, and rightly so, that the Nigerian Police force is not only a moral toilet, but a Blackhole, out which no light of integrity can ever escape.

Soyinka wasn’t paid much of a heed. The murderers of Bola Ige were neither found nor brought to justice. But trust the Nigerian mind, we have been so inured to the lavatorial rottenness, we exist in, that it has become the essential platform of every epistemology and metaphysic of our collective existence.

The litany of crimes committed by the Police against the Nigeria people, would circle the earth twenty times over. We slumber in inaction. But, that doesn’t prevent us, from indulging our false outrage from time to time.

We still need occasions of a foreign indictment of the collective citadel of corruption, housing crooked apologies like Abba Kyari, for us to once more, convoke our festival of sanctimony and pseudo-outrage. We need that fix for us to rail against Nigeria and her dysfunctionality, as if Nigeria is different from us!

Why are we like this?

Is there any successful heist in Nigeria, which did not consult the complicity or the conspiratorial silence of Nigerian law enforcement officials and men? Is there any successful crime in Nigeria, that never purchased the consideration of that Nigerian institution, set up to fight against it?

Just tell me one!

Should I drive you down memory lane or history’s avenues?

George Iyamu!

You know him, don’t you?

If you don’t, I will tell you!.

He may not be an Orwellian travesty, or a Shakespearean tragedy. But context would show you how disastrously he straddled our embrace, until bullets from a firing squad ended his inglorious history.

Once upon a time! There was a Nigeria State, which not only thanks to the giant strides of Prof. Ambrose Alli’s reign as governor, but also to the abundance of talent, and initiative, became one of the greatest incubators and nurturers of soccer greatness, that Nigeria has ever seen.

But that was once upon a time.

The old Bendel State gave Nigeria great football clubs, like Bendel Insurance and New Nigerian Bank of Benin, Flash Flamingoes and Nigerian Ports Authority of Warri.

This State also produced or nurtured some of the greatest soccer stars, ever to come out of Nigeria. Stars like Stephen Keshi, Henry Nwosu, Waidi Akanni, Thompson Oliha, Victor Ikpeba, Victor Igbinoba, Anthony Emedofu, Mark Anunobi, Jonathan Akpoborire, Ikpomwosa Omoriege, and the mercurial Tarila Okoronwanta, to name but a few, all had something to do with this clime of champions. The core of the lads that won the maiden edition of the FIFA U-16 World Cup, hosted in Beijing China came also from this firmament.

I wonder if any Nigerian, would ever forget that beautiful strike of a thunderous goal, unleashed by Victor Igbinoba-a son of the old Bendel State-which won Nigeria that tournament, leaving Germany to lick their wounds.

This State, would have continued being the Brazil of Nigeria, if not that Nigeria and her dysfunctionality happened; all thanks to the rogue and visionless leadership orchestrated by the consortium of civilian thieves in collaboration with Brigades of military brigands.

But that is meat for another meal.

That dysfunctionality, paved the way, for an atrocity-spangled history becoming the lot of this State of talented human beings.

It was not long then before this State, was well raped, as to play host to one of the most notorious armed robbers, that Nigerian history has ever borne witness to.

This dangerous robber, piggybacked not only on the famous addiction of the Nigerian mind to superstition, to cry havoc and unleash the dogs of carnage on our peace; but also on the intimate complicity of the Police, ably represented by Mr George Iyamu.

Lawrence Anini robbed, killed, and raped, as Bendel State quaked under his terror. He and his lieutenants terrorized the bejesus out the people. His notoriety went ahead of him. It travelled far and wide, holding us hostage in our fears and submerging us in terror.

The nation froze in terror. The Police and law enforcement seemed to have been conquered by this new threat to our lives and property, as Lawrence Anini robbed his way across our land, strutting like a Colossus under whose legs, we all trembled in fear and trepidation.

Rumour even had it, that he had powers to bilocate. Tale-bearers went to town, convincing us that, he was an invisible, omnipresent and silent guest to every conversation. So much so that you only needed to breathe, whisper or mutter his name, for him to hear it and appear to our discomfiture. We were even told that he has powers to appear and disappear at will. We were defecating and urinating on ourselves whenever mention was made of his name. Fear impregnated all of us.

Anini became the Lord of the manor.

But as time came to prove, every such odyssey in crime, have forever been constructed on the complicity of the guardians of the commonweal. You cannot terrorize a community without the authorities, or a part thereof, being in the know or being a part of that consortium.

Lawrence Anini and his gang were eventually apprehended. They sang like canaries.

It came to light that Police Inspector George Iyamu, was a part of the gang, who supplied guns and information, which the gang deployed to devastating effect.

What did Nigeria and Nigerians do after that? Was the Police force reformed to forestall the temptation of Police officers going into a partnership or alliance with criminals? Was the conditions of service of the officers and men reviewed to reflect the hardship that the job contains in its core?

None of these were undertaken.

This is not a defence of crooks like Abba Kyari, but a trip to any Police barracks across Nigeria, will make you understand why a Nigerian Police man, is condemned to take bribes and consort with criminals.

His living conditions are atrocious. His conditions of service are atrocious. His life is worth nothing. If he dies on the job, his wife and children are treated worse than we treat dogs.

A visit to a Police barrack in Nigeria, will lead any sane mind to one conclusion; namely, that the Nigeria ruling class deserve what happened to the French nobility in 1789.

Gwazia ndi yard unu!

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