Michael Ogueke, Nigerian writer and political economist, drew comparisons among the states of insecurity in Nigeria in the present as compared to the past. Ogueke revisited the Nigeria of his childhood in the Facebook post.
“As a child in the late 70s, he wrote there were few policemen around & only a few of them carried guns. You see them on rare occasions & even without firearms. Their mere sight invokes fear.
Michael Ogueke remembered that back then, “see police” or “I will call the police” was enough to scare the kids into good behaviour.
Further, Michael Ogueke revealed in the post that he also recalled growing up in the 80s & 90s when almost every street in Port Harcourt then had vigilante groups. Each compound contributed a man or a male youth to handle the road each night. The various communities did this following the strictly adhered-to rooster.
Ogueke recalled that beyond the machetes, clubs or licenced double barrel guns they carried according to what each could afford, they also had whistles that sent men pouring out from each compound at the blast of their whistles to complement their efforts.
These vigilantes used to arrest the danger even before the police arrived. The same arrangement with minor variations was in place in every rural community.
Michael Ogueke stated in his recollection post that people used to feel secure even when they got to see a policeman once a month if you are lucky or even longer.
We are talking now about the situation in the present. Michael Ogueke revealed that Today, Nigeria has a workforce, workplaces, sophisticated police guns, communication gadgets & equipment, adequate amounts of police vehicles & scores of police special forces & units, yet insecurity is the order of the day.
According to him, Even with hundreds of thousands of soldiers drafted in to complement the efforts of the police, crimes like killing, maiming and other brutalities are our daily reality today.
He questioned whether it is because the security forces are not enough, ill-equipped & complacent or because we have degenerated in character & security consciousness as a people.
Michael Oueke feels that judging from the two periods highlighted in this writeup, it’s evident that the protection of lives, livelihoods & properties are equal duties & responsibilities of the government & the citizens.
Therefore, he believes that while we continue to knock our governments at all levels for more efforts in tackling insecurity, we must also look at our moral degeneration & degradation as a people.
The Nigerian writer and Political economist added that as Nigerians, we must look at ourselves and commit to our duty of creating a better Nigeria for our upcoming generations by dealing with our insecurity, greed and corruption issues.
Additionally, Ogueke believes that we must also play our part in policing our streets, neighbourhoods, villages & communities. (This practice was prevalent in the past in many communities).
Ogueke claims that the criminals, their agents & weapons suppliers all are our neighbours & relations & live with us. They are not aliens.
Finally, He stated that government must protect lives & properties. At the same time, it is the responsibility of citizens to help the government protect them, their livelihoods & properties. Security is the collective responsibility of all.