By DPA Rambo
1. Looting continues all over the country. Bands of ordinary citizens now hunt for places that could be looted. Yesterday, youths in Kuje area of Abuja, feeling left out in the looting that occurred the previous day in Gwagwalada and Kwale areas of Abuja, gathered and began to make trouble as they searched in vain for a suitable place to loot in their area. A pastor was arrested in Osun State with medical supplies he looted. In Abuja, an officer with one of the security agencies was fired for participating in looting. In Awka, a lady was gunned down at a looting location. In Abuja, two days ago, two ladies died at a looting location. And yesterday in Abuja, a person was killed when a mob attempted to loot NYSC camp where the agency stored mattresses used by youth coppers. The country is engulfed in a frenzy of looting.
2. The looting scenes reveal a much darker side of the Nigerian public psyche. The looting is not driven by mere hunger. To think that people are looting just because they are hungry is to unduly simplify a complex problem. It does not explain why people are looting deep freezers even though they lack electricity to power them, and if they have electricity, it will drive up their electricity bills to a point where they cannot afford it. Hunger does not explain why they are looting farm tractors. It does not explain why they are looting street signposts. Rather, the only thing that can fully explain the looting is the fact that the people are angry and malicious. They have for years felt cheated by the society such that they have vengeance in their hearts against anything that resembles the state. That explains why the staff of office of the Oba of Lagos was looted. It was done to show disliking and contempt for the Oba institution. The looting is more of a popular revolt against the Nigerian State than something done in search of food..
3. Nobody has heard anything new from the likes of Dino Melaye, Oby Ezekwesiri, Charley Boy. They had attempted to turn the protest into a partisan propaganda tool against the government in office. Melaye made his video telling Nigerian youths that they were no longer lazy, that they are now wise and hardworking. With the looting rampage, he will wish he did not make that video. Charley Boy, in his own video, suggested that he motivated the youths. He declared that they the youths were no longer mumu. The problem we are facing is beyond one party. It took decades to place Nigeria where it finds itself now. It will be naive to think that it was caused only in the past five years. Having said that, Buhari and APC now have the duty to address the problem and they cannot be allowed to blame anyone else if they fail in that duty.
4. The Nigerian army has tried to explain the involvement of soldiers in the Lekki Tollgates incident by saying they were invited by the state government to enforce the curfew that the government had imposed earlier that day. This claim, whether true or false, will have serious implications for the credibility of the Governor and Tinubu. Of course, Tinubu will argue that he is not the Governor. But an active Godfather like Tinubu cannot escape responsibility for the actions of his protégé. Somehow, the masses sensed Tinubu’s involvement. Hence he became a target for the people’s vengeance.
5. The protest period has brought out the good, the bad and the ugly in social media. Social media was intentionally and unintentionally weaponized. The moment it became possible for everybody to be able to engage in mass communication, the world lost control (including needed and necessary control) over mass communication. The lines between truth and falsity, between real and fantasy, between actual and imagined disappeared. The Nigerian government finding itself on the receiving end of the weaponized social media is crying out and now calling for some regulation of the social media. The people are resisting this call mistakenly believing that the odds will always be in their favor. What they forgot is that the government has capacity to become the biggest and most effective manipulator of information through the social media. So, reasonably regulating the social media is in the interest of everybody and that is the direction the world is going.
6. The burning of the Lagos High Court favors Tinubu in a surprising interesting way. The case filed against Tinubu and Alpha Beta which gave Tinubu 45 days to appear in Court has been Tinubu’s greatest political challenge in that it seeks to expose Tinubu in a scandal involving an ongoing and long standing corrupt relationship between Tinubu and Lagos State government revenue sharing. But with the firefsl it will take a long time for that case to GI forward. By them, Tinubu expects to be unstoppable in his ambitions. So whether he understood it or not, the fires have helped Tinubu. But whatever benefit that comes with the suspension of the case, Tinubu still faces insurmountable challenges due to his association with the Lekki Massacre.
7. Some members of a new youth political party have invited Rambo to join them. While Rambo agrees with the idea of the new party, Rambo cannot disclose its identity. Rambo is a masquerade. It belongs to the spirit world. On no account will its identity be made public. Rambo is our organization’s response to a corrupt police force that could frame up innocent people in order to silence them. Let us see how they could frame up a spirit like Rambo. So, while Rambo will make the knowledge given to him by the gods available to all of you, Rambo will remain in the spirit world, unknown and unknowable.
8. Always remember that while the language used in the protest focused on SARS, the SARS unit was not the only police unit that committed atrocities. Indeed, SARS would never have been that bad if the IGP did not encourage what they did. It would never have been that bad if all other units of the police did not support them. It would never have been that bad if the judges had not looked away and thereby encouraged them. Other tactical police units such as IRT and ST and even the DSS committed similar atrocities. We must make sure that reforms are focused on all of them.
9. Panels of inquiry are being set up and people sworn into them. Do not place much hope in these panels unless there is legislation to regulate the investigative process. It is all going to be another sham
10. Always remember that Emeka Ugwuonye discovered the atrocities committed by the Abuja police in Abattoir in 2018 and tried to expose them. Emeka knew that Nigerians would not believe there was any place like abattoir or the kind of evil deeds perpetrated by the police in such places. To convince Nigerians, Emeka began to make a documentary film using pictures and videos he managed to obtain from the Abattoir. When the police discovered what he was up to, they feared that if Nigerians saw that documentary, there would be a nationwide riot. So, they had to find a way to silence Emeka Ugwuonye. Their best way was to charge Emeka with murder, knowing that most Abuja judges automatically deny bail once they hear the word murder.
11. Initially, the President had stubbornly refused to acknowledge the Lekki massacre. But it finally dawned on him that that is the elephant in the room. He cannot ignore it. The Lekki massacre was the moment it became clear that Nigerians government and its army committed crimes against international law. Now aware that he cannot continue to ignore it, his media advisers have changed tact and are now saying that the president was only waiting for the facts to come out. If he had waited that way for everything else, he would not have made any speech at all.
12. What are the Nigerian churches saying about the looting? They all supported the protest. It is really not clear what they think about the looting. It is the same people that gather in their churches every Sunday that are now looting everything they can loot. The churches should speak to the moral decadence we see in most of the looting scenes.