I read this with such a heavy heart.
Nigeria’s problem doesn’t just end with fuel scarcity and a dying economy; the problem lies in the hand of every single “Nigerian.”
While traveling via public transport on my way to Abuja from Jos in 2014, the taxi was stopped by a soldier at a check point.
At the time we were stopped, I had my purse out counting the last ‘small’ Naira change I collected from transactions at the motor park. This soldier man couldn’t be bothered to check for anything security related, he pushed his hands to the back where I was seated, gesturing me to part from my money.
I don’t know where or how I mustered the courage to tell him “no, it’s my money, you can’t have it.” It wasn’t any significant amount of money that could even get him lunch or anything.
He let his hands stay there for a few seconds before giving up and letting the taxi pass.
When we passed the check point, I couldn’t help but feel like a hero, like I’ve done my small part in helping my country be corruption free.
At the same time, I felt stupid and not wise at all. What if he instantly shot me or asked me to come out and be punished for whatever crime he concocted. Certainly, losing my life over small change wasn’t worth it, but at the same token, little acts like that add to the bigger “Nigerian” picture.
Throughout my trip home that year, I didn’t act ‘Nigerian’ at all, but was faced with the opportunity to act ‘Nigerian’ on my way out. I was glad I acted as the Nigerian our forefathers dreamt of, instead to the ‘Nigerian,’ our modern day leaders have encouraged us to become.
Sorry for my long rant, please go ahead and read this Nigerian’s experience at the hands of the Nigerian police.
Are you not a Nigerian? is an every day question asked by a Nigerian who is disappointed when he or she does not get the type of stereotyped response expected of fellow citizen.