I went to a meeting last year for the International Women's Society in Lagos.
My mum took me along, and I was fortunate to sit in a room filled with very intelligent women.
One of their guest speakers was an Environmentalist. He was talking about what his company aims to do for Nigeria and the work that they do for the government. He was urging us to take our environment very seriously, and to ensure that we urge the people around us to do the same.
He said that, "There are Regulations for cutting down trees and if we saw people illegally doing it we should call the police." The talk ended and he asked if anyone had any questions.
I tentatively raised my hand.
They made me stand up and go all the way to the front.
I said, "I respectfully understand where you are coming from, however, you don't expect me to call the police when my neighbours are cutting down their tree? You don't expect me to say, 'Oga, make you come now, now, someone dey cut d tree 4 der house!' The police don't even come to help when it comes to armed robberies!"
The whole room burst out in laughter. He deflected my question as he couldn't think of a response.
To be honest, what would you have said in reply to that?
We live in a country with no adequate police force.
So those that have money, pay for mobile police from Security Company's. They are semi - reliable, they do their checks and their runs at 4 o' clock in the morning. So those that can afford it are semi - happy.
But what about the average Nigerian? How can we allow this to continue. We live in a place where we can't call the police to help in emergency situations. To be honest we can't even rely on our Embassy to bail us out either. That's another feature altogether.
There have been recently, armed robberies on the mainland in Lagos. These guys have guns, they are on drugs and they return to the same house twice if they think they have more to get from them.
I have been a victim of a home invasion, and I know how each family that this has happened to feels.
Ours however, was an inside job. There was more than one piece of damning evidence, and as a budding lawyer now, I know for a fact that they had more than enough to make an arrest. Even the suspects were found 'guilty' by the police but were released sometime after. Families have no closure, knowing that the people that destroyed their comfort and feeling of safety, is not paying for their crime.
I don't know whether you have ever thought about this, but do you know that bribing a police officer forms a reliance mechanism. They rely on that little something before they perform their services. To be honest, that is illegal on two fronts. The first is obviously the bribe, and the second is that they are not performing their existing public duty unless you pay them. They should be performing their duties regardless of what they get in return.
To be honest, some argue that it's because they don't earn a decent living, so any extra they can get is a good thing. Not only that, but police officers in other countries don't either, but there is a reward system in place. The police in Nigeria, have nothing to look forward to achieving, that should push them to remain on the straight and narrow. Refer to my 'Reward System post for more info: http://theunspokenwords93.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/reward-system.html
Now that may not be a big deal, but indeed it is, as they will never do what they should if we keep paying them off, for whatever reason. It's a whole mentality we have to change. Don't complain that we have corruption in Nigeria if you take part in it too.
You spoil one player, you make the game a lose/ lose situation for one other person.
The second issue is that the police refuse to engage in shoot outs with these armed robbers. This is their job for crying out loud. They should put their necks on the line. Like I said earlier, if there was a reward system things might be different. The police abroad get commendations for work like that.
Further, it's a mentality. Black people are generally scared of risky adventures, or things that put them in the line of fire, or in extremely dangerous situations. In general, that is why the 'white guy' tends to move ahead and progress. (There are obviously exceptions)
Nigerians are too scared to put themselves out there, just like the older generation is too scared to fight back. But that is why we have the youth, to make a change now!