Busy Brain Writes From Offa Kwara State
Idan street slang is what seems to be in vogue trending on social media at the moment. Its pervasive nature is conspicuous and similar to ‘Emilokan’. While the two slangs are not new in Nigeria, particularly, in the Southwest Yoruba-speaking States, the circumstances and context in which the two slangs are being used have turned them into a mantra.
After ‘Emilokan’ emanated from the rages and effusion of the President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu during one of the campaigns, ‘Idan’ erupted to replace ‘Emilokan’. Emilokan means ‘ my turn’ and Idan means ‘magic or illusion’.
‘Emilokan’ had come and gone, but ‘Idan’ remains and refuses to leave the scene. What transpired between Seun Kuti and the Police Officer in uniform is one of the real ‘Idan’ happenings. It is more or less like an illusion or magic to slap law enforcement personnel in uniform. Nothing can be used to describe the slap scene more than an illusion.
Nigeria is fast becoming a lawless country and the selective method of justice is killing the judicial system in Nigeria. In a right and sane sovereign nation, no citizen will ever dare or think about hitting a policeman but that seems to be possible in Nigeria because of the modus operandi of our system. This is where people abuse power, office, or status and get away with it because of the influence of some people in the corridor of power.
Apparently, celebrities are role models, brand ambassadors, and influential personalities in society but Seun Kuti had gone beyond the boundaries of a responsible celebrity by raising his hand to slap a harmless officer. I have asked in myriad times that, had the police officer been a soldier, would Seun Kuti dress his face with such a ‘magic slap’? Seun Kuti’s thuggery and ruffian display is a replica of what comes to the mind of an average Nigerian about Nigerian Police. The Police Force in Nigeria has been brought to disrepute by some personnel through their quackery and ineptitude. The brutal killing, harassment, extortion, and other professional pitfalls among police personnel have denigrated the institution to the lower ebb. I stand to be corrected, Seun Kuti would not slap a Civil Defence personnel in such a waspish and disgusting manner, not even a traffic officer. It all depends on reforms and professional dispensation which has remained a vacuum in the Nigerian Police Force.
Based on people’s experiences with police excesses, many were speaking in defense of Seun Kuti but will never volunteer to take an inch of such a dirty slap. A spade should be called a spade and no perfect justification for his action.
In fairness, Nigerian Police Force has not been taking it lightly with unprofessional personnel. The Police Force has dismissed no fewer than 18 cops for various offenses ranging from abuse of power to gross indiscipline and extortion.
According to premium times, in July 2022, the Nigerian Police Force dismissed an officer, Richard Gele, who was justifying extortion in a video clip that went viral on social media. On May 1st, 2023, the Commissioner of Police in Kwara State, Mr. Paul Odama ordered the immediate arrest of a Police Inspector, Stephen Yohana who was captured in a drunken situation in a viral video.
Also, Delta State Police Command arrested a police inspector over the alleged murder of one Onyeka Ibe in April 2023. Similarly, in April 2023, The Taraba State Police Command arrested and detained a Police Inspector over alleged murder. On April 7, 2023, the Nigeria Police Force arrested three officers attached to a singer in the state identified as ‘Rarara’ who have been dismissed over alleged misconduct and misuse of firearms.
In August 2022, The Police dismissed an officer, Opeyemi Kadiri for disobeying an order related to the illegal search of phones and assaulting a civilian. Nigeria Police Force dismissed Police Corporal Okoi Liyomo, who was caught beating a man with a cutlass in Cross River State.
The Police efforts to sanitize and reform the institution are obvious and cannot be denied. What the institution needs is thorough reform of the malformations. For police officers to be serving as semi-slaves to private citizens is a great malformation. Aside from government officials, traditional authorities, institutions, organizations, and agencies, private citizens should be allowed to outsource guards who will be doing menial jobs for them, instead of recruiting Police for personal security. Opening of car doors, washing of cars, serving as bodyguards, and bouncers, and standing behind a private citizen at ceremonial functions have belittled the Police Force and exposed them to mockery and reproach.
Nevertheless, searching Seun Kuti’s home is a vindictive action taken too far by NPF. Looking for all avenues to deal with him can be tantamount to abuse of power. If justice must be served, it must be in the ambit of the rule of law.
I expect Seun Kuti to tender a public apology to the officer he wired Magic (Idan) slap, the NPF, and his fans as no one is above a misdemeanor.
If we say no to police brutality, we must distance ourselves from civilian rascality and blatant criminality.
Busy is an opinion writer, journalist, poet, and Public Relations practitioner