Amb. Odunayo Ojebode
Sometime in 2019, I wrote an article (‘Carted Away‘) on how some groups of people in Nigeria have been executing illegal rights on the minority. This is a follow up on the article.
Nigeria as a geographical location keeps looking like a place that can’t be habited by the indigenes. First, it was willing emigration of people to neighbouring countries in search of ‘greener pasture’ after which foreigners were grouped into the country uncontrolled through the instrumentality of some power that be. Now, businesses keep running away due to unfavourable factors in the country.
As at today, the rate of suffering by the citizens of Nigeria seems unquantifiable. For instance, petroleum which is supposed to be a consolation for the common Nigerians keeps skyrocketing in price. Several strike actions, protests and negotiation have been done by different people groups with the hope to salvage the situation but all to no avail. One of the frustrating things in Nigeria is the brutal, inhuman operation method and scheme of some of the government agencies and departments.
The wake of April 2, 2021, witnessed a protest and rightful ‘fight’ for the goods and wares of Bodija market women in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. According to the news, the Nigeria Customs Service officers invaded the stores and shops of rice sellers in the market, intending to cleanse the market of ‘imported’ rice.
Based on many reports, this operation was done around 1 am while the security men in charge of the market were tied and rough-handled. I could hear from the mouth of the market women, “they carted our goods, wares and money away, and now there is no hope for us.” When the Custom regional office Ibadan was contacted, they claimed innocence of any of such operations and that it must have been from Abuja.
While condemning this raid, the question on many people’s minds are these; where is the duty post of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) officers? What time of the day are they expected to raid? Perhaps it is part of their duty? Were the goods carted away actually illegal? How are the people concerned expected to survive? Will the people be paid back for their loss? The goods in concern, were they actually stolen or bought by the market women? And the biggest question for NCS, where were your men when these goods were illegally brought into the country?
The situation in this country keeps getting worse, and it is good to know that the silence and naive nature of people should not be taken for granted and as though they don’t know their rights. People are needed for peace and development, and it can only be achieved when people’s rights are not trampled and they are given space to thrive. Carting away people’s goods is carting away their hope and life, and this must stop for us to have a country.
The hope of this nation lies in this truth.
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