“The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born” is a 1968 novel by Ayi Kwei Armah, about a man who navigates the morally compromised world of postcolonial Ghana. The protagonist, known simply as “the man,” worked at a railway office, where one day he was offered a bribe from a merchant. He declined, displeasing his wife, Oyo.
The man and Oyo host Koomson and his wife, Estella, a couple whose wealth was a corrupt by-product of Koomson’s government post. After the then regime was overthrown, Koomson went into hiding and relied on “the man” to help him escape persecution. The story in this celebrated novel is not entirely different from what is happening in Nigeria. Like Koomson, many ‘beautiful’ people in trusted positions in our country use the instruments of their office to enrich themselves to the detriment of the populace. Indeed, the unfolding story about DCP Abba Kyari and his cohorts have shown that we have a long way to go in the fight against corruption and criminality in our country.
Going by its mandate, the Nigeria Police Force is mandated to, protect peoples’ lives and property; prevent, detect and investigate crime; and prosecute offenders. It is not the duty of the police or any of the other law enforcement agencies to facilitate crime. In the early days of independence, politicians were accused of being corrupt; the main reason they were overthrown by the military. Since then, corruption has grown in leaps and bounds. It has become almost a way of life from the bus conductor that would collect your money and run away with your change and the fuel attendant that would pump adulterated fuel into your vehicle tank, to the market woman that would swear with her life that the good she sold to you was original, whereas it was sub-standard. Everybody is involved.
Most painful is the penetration of corruption into the lives of our security agencies that ordinarily should be in the forefront of the fight against corruption and corrupt activities in the country. Although there has been several reports of police officers’ involvement in bribery and corruption, brutal killings, kidnapping and other crimes, but none has drawn public attention and ire than the recent revelations of the involvement of the highly decorated police officer Abba Kyari in drug deals and money laundering.
Last year when the United states government accused him of being involved in the money laundering case by Hushpuppi, many people took the information with a pinch of salt- not because they saw him as infallible, rather going by his towering reputation, land breaking accomplishments as head of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT). It was unthinkable that such a hardworking man would stoop so low as to associate himself with criminal elements.
Was the NPF just telling lies to Nigerians in a manner that portrayed it as an inconsistent, untrustworthy, untruthful and incompetent security agency?
Alas, the allegations by the NDLEA have changed the narrative as they have brought to the fore, the rot in the system- not just in the police force but other security agencies including the NDLEA. The impression that the police has continued to give Nigerians since the indictment of Kyari by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was that the officer had been suspended while the police investigates the allegations of connivance with alleged fraudster Hushpuppi against him.
Incidentally, his arrest and detention happened at a time the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and the Police Service Commission (PSC) were at loggerhead over the report of investigation on Kyari, with the PSC calling for a new investigation.
Why was a suspended officer who is still under investigation heading the IRT, the same team he was heading when he committed the offence for which the FBI indicted him? Was he even suspended in the first place or was the NPF just telling lies to Nigerians in a manner that portrayed it as an inconsistent, untrustworthy, untruthful and incompetent security agency?
Come to think of it, which of the agencies have been spared of allegations of malfeasance? The Nigerian military is yet to absolve itself of allegations of providing cover for oil bunkerers, kidnappers and fraudsters. One of the reported cases is that of Hamisu Bala Wandume who was re-arrested by policemen in the late hours of Monday, 19th August 2019 at his hideout at the Layin Mai Allo Hotoro area of Kano State.
The police had re-launched a manhunt for Wadume on 6th August 2019 after the unfortunate incident at Ibi Local Government in Taraba State in which soldiers killed three police officers who arrested and were transporting the suspect to Jalingo, leading to his escape.
In the last one month, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has been battling to redeem its image from the allegations made by Rivers State governor , Nyesom Wike that the men of the corps are owners and facilitators of illegal oil bunkering and other crimes in the state.
Is it the EFCC, NDLEA (already accused by the Police of aiding drug dealers), the Customs, even the FRSC are not spared. What of hospital matrons and nurses that sell babies and medical doctors involved in organ merchandise? If I may ask, who will investigate the activities of this same IRT in the south east when they were deployed there to counter the unknown gun men? If people open up and tell you stories of atrocities committed by both the police, NDLEA and other security forces, you would shudder. We all keep quiet believing that they’re working.
In 2019 when Nigerian youths protested against police brutality and called for total reform of the Police, it was given political interpretation. Rather than total reform as demanded, the notorious state anti-robbery squad (SARS) was changed to Intelligence Response Team (IRT). The current incident has shown that the cloak does not make the monk.
Who can tell how many innocent men and women were framed up and had their property “stolen” by same police officers? Who can tell how many suspects whose wives were raped by policemen claiming it was the only way their husbands would be released and yet their husbands were murdered?
Who can explain how many suspects their landed property changed ownership under duress or who under duress were made to write or sign documents implicating them in a case in which they were innocent? Who can explain how many suspects that were tortured, maimed or even murdered in cold blood because they couldn’t raise the humongous amount of money the officers in charge demanded?
There are families that have been traumatised beyond what humans can bear. These families are not talking, not because they’re afraid, but because they have lost their voices, and even if they open their mouths, nothing would come out.
What of children whose fathers were murdered while they watched helplessly? Or children whose mothers were desecrated and were forced to experience such pain? Pains that automatically gets ingrained in their DNAs. Is it not unfortunate that in today’s Nigeria, everybody is looking for opportunity and power to oppress and depress the next person? And if left as it is, the traumas will be transferred from one generation to another while innocent blood will continue to cry out for revenge.
We have made spilling of human blood a past time while organ harvesting, rape, kidnapping and banditry have become a thriving business. Even youths are engaged in human sacrifice. We cry for Abba Kyari today. But there are bigger Abba Kyari’s in the system, from police, SSS, Military, NDLEA, NSCDC, NIA and others lurking around, causing more severe havoc in both humans and the nation but protected by their godfathers and beneficiaries of their evil acts.
Apart from the police, the NDLEA is another agency that must not be allowed to give Nigerians the impression that it is working while, in reality, it is sabotaging the country. The allegation by the police that the drug dealers in question were allowed to bring in cocaine through the Enugu airport with the connivance of NDLEA officials needs not be swept under the carpet. In this case an independent body of investigators would be more appropriate. For now, the beautiful ones are yet to be born in Nigeria.