Towards Curbing the Menace of Public Officers’ Convoys in Nigeria

Towards Curbing the Menace of Public Officers’ Convoys in Nigeria

I met someone who just lost a dear one to an accident caused by a politician’s convoy. I didn’t get the whole detail, but from what I gathered, the person was inside a bus going to Nsukka from Enugu when they were ‘chased’ into a bush by the security personnel attached to a politician’s convoy. It was quite a painful story.

I didn’t doubt this person because I have experienced something close to this, except that we were lucky because our driver was good enough to nose the car into a safer place. We came out unscathed but much shaken. And to tell you that the convoy didn’t even stop to check on us is quite heart rending.

Just a few days ago, news of how a keke rider and his passenger were killed by an accident caused by this same thing I’m talking about filtered into the internet. These were not the only incident of politicians causing the death of road users. And if nothing is done, this kind of story will continue, especially as we are about to enter the festive period.

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It is quite unfortunate that the people that are supposed to protect us are the ones harming us. They treat us like we are not supposed to exist. They forgot that without us, their offices won’t exist. Yes, Nigerian political office holders need to realise that they will not hold those offices if the masses are not in existence. They need to be educated on the importance of treating the masses with some respects.

For reasons best known to these politicians, they don’t want to share the roads with any other citizen. They allow their security details to cause accidents and deaths on our roads and they do nothing to stop them. We witness and hear stories about how their numerous security men – both the military, the police and the private ones – harass, beat and damage cars of people who dare not run into the bush while they pass. The people they do all these to only call on God and their ancestors to revenge their embarrassments and hurts because these politicians don’t care about what happened to the victims of their misdemeanours.

I once asked someone if these politicians will die if they slow down and pass through the busy roads like every other person. I was told that they (the politicians) were always in a hurry while passing through towns because they are afraid of assassination. I want to believe that this person was just saying what he felt because I don’t see why public officers should be afraid, unless they have nothing sinister to hide. And of course, the state of insecurity in the country doesn’t affect only public officers; we all face the danger of robbery, kidnapping and murder.

Besides, these office holders don’t move with this kind of security details while in FCT. At least, they respect every road user in Abuja, irrespective of who they are. I can’t remember sirens blaring on FCT roads, nor have I seen policemen attached to public officers breaking mirrors of motorists. So why do they treat the people in other states as if they are dirt?

They seem to forget how bad our roads are and wouldn’t be patient to wait for someone to clear out of the road properly for them to pass. All they care about is that once you hear their sirens blaring, you quickly steer clear and leave the road (whether you jumped into the gutter or bush is not their concern).

Speaking of the use of sirens, I thought sirens were banned in Nigeria, except in cases of movement of cash, ambulance, hearse and other emergencies. I know there was a time sirens weren’t used again by these office holders, but they have gradually brought back that custom. But if these people are truly running away from assassins, don’t they think that sirens will attract their ‘enemies’?

I’m honestly not against top public office holders rushing to meet up with some engagements; my concern is the harm they cause to themselves and to other people while they do that. They should consider meeting their engagements in time and in one piece. They should think about the safety of other road users and passers-by. They should equally consider taming their security men.

But then, it’s high time we Nigerians learnt to start taking these people to court. They damage lives and properties and get away with them. If people whose cars were damaged or who lost their dear ones through this inhuman act, decide to seek redress, even where the Nigerian factor in our judiciary delays judgement, a lot of positive changes will be brought into the system.

I also think the federal government needs to revisit the use of sirens by these office holders. I mean, what exactly are they trying to warn people of? Or does it mean they don’t really understand the meaning of that sound? Anyway, I don’t see any reason for them to make use of sirens because their presence shouldn’t alarm us. Even if they feel they must use siren, they should fix our roads so that cars can easily swerve out of the way when they come blaring like firemen that have an emergency case. Or alternatively, like someone said, they should move about with helicopters and leave us to manage our roads.

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