Nigeria is 59! Yay! I really was celebrating this our beloved country for a moment then I had a quick ponder as to why this country isn’t developing as fast as projected few decades ago.
I asked a couple of people I believe are top intellectuals and most of them say the root of the problem is the government. I pondered again and realised they have a huge point.
A few months ago, a very close friend of mine came telling me a story of how he had to let go of a large sum of money after he was harassed by some Police officers parading themselves as SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad).
I laughed in literal disbelief but it later seemed to me he was telling the truth as similar scenarios kept popping up in various locations of the country.
I was travelling from Lagos to Delta State and was having a discussion with two fellow male passengers who were telling me of how they hid their iPhones and Laptops because they were scared of being harassed by the Police.
That’s the state of the country we live in now, one that men who call themselves security officers, anti-crime, tend to apply force in their operations on innocent citizens without a single drop of intelligence.
Now, they have like a template for spotting an internet fraudster, as long as he’s young, has an expensive gadget and maybe has locked hair and tattoos then BOOM! He’s a criminal. Like, seriously??
Normally, we see that the most developed countries in the world have top-class technology and possess the best digital tools in their grasp and this is majorly as a result of the sharp minds of the young ones. However, in our beloved Naija, the society believes it’s unusual for a lad in his mid 20s to be highly successful, so when you’re spotted by a police patrol driving a good car, you’re asked to pull over, you’re searched, seen with an iPhone and a laptop then you’re in trouble. Violence!!! Without even considering what that young guy is using the gadgets for.
Now, developers and bloggers trying to take Nigeria to the next level technologically are scared to carry about their gadgets, the funny thing is that these gadgets were made to be carried about. These developers know that despite the fact that they’re innocent, they are in danger of being harassed by these policemen, especially the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) who’s job is to tackle robbery in the country but have advanced one level into harassment, torture, extortion and have been recently accused of killing.
Just last week, a software developer by the name Toni Astro took to social media to narrate how he was taken for a fraudster and locked up by SARS operatives after he was asked to unlock his phone and follow them to their station without any sensible reason.
What’s really painful is that these men threatened to shoot this innocent man on the leg if he doesn’t cooperate and even went as far as demanding money for his release. It’s really painful and this sparked the movement tagged #StopRobbingUs on Twitter where young Nigerians campaigned online for the restructuring and checking of the operations of these so-called security men.
This has followed the popular #EndSARS movement pushed by Nigerians for over two years now which the government have decided to not do anything about. It’s really sad that a country with a lot of people in it and striving for progress still have some set of people dressed like thugs claiming to be security personnel harassing the young ones who have the sharper minds to take this country to the next level.
Again, the government should do something about this, and really fast. Reform SARS, enlighten them about their actual job and pay them well so they won’t have any reason to extort the citizens. It’s indeed true that internet fraudsters are giving this country a bad name, but knocking down every fresh guy with a smartphone isn’t the solution to that. The government should rather improve the EFCC and set up an intelligent movement to curb the menace of that crime.
It would be really nice if our tech-loving youths, the Software Engineers and developers, the bloggers, the traders can move freely in the society with their gadgets, without fear and the government should do something to make it so because if Nigeria is to move to the next level, it will first need a huge hit in its tech sector.