COVID; Insecurity; Rape; The Tongue, By Tony Marinho

COVID-19 records deaths approaching 480,000, infections 9,200,000, with around 21,000 recognised cases in Nigeria. Stay safe!!

The astronomical increase in Covid-19 cases nationwide is a clear and present danger. Every day we see medical patients in our clinic and many of them have to be told that to enter the clinic, face and nose masks and hand-washing are prerequisites of entering. ‘Social Distancing’ is taken as a joke. The word should be ‘Safe Distancing’ which is very easy to understand and teach. I drove three kilometres in Ibadan and found four out of 1000 people wearing face masks last week. I only see face and nose masked patients and I refuse to see their accompanying relations in order to reduce opportunity for Covid to spread through contact. Nigerians who are in doubt about what to do in regard to Covid should ask themselves simple questions. Am I safe, is my family safe? If there is any doubt, stay at home. Pray at home, stay at home.

On the issue of security in Nigeria and having been robbed on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway by herders/bandits, I know at first hand the terrors of being attacked by guns, gunfire and machetes and witnessing loss of life. There is terrorism everywhere and in every state. The security arms, under nearly permanent service chiefs, seem not to be up and doing or are overwhelmed. The unrest is nationwide and not just in the North. The government disarms the villagers and allows them to be terrorised that same night. Even if Nigeria is not at war with terrorists/ISWAP and Boko Haram, those terrorist bodies are at war with Nigeria. Those organisations are definitely at war with Nigeria. It is time for Nigeria to declare itself at War with Boko Haram, ISWAP, terrorist and terrorist-herders. Without this war footing, the country will grow weaker and weaker as these terrorist organisations grow stronger and stronger. Our people and soldiers are dying daily, many unsung and in mass graves.

I am disturbed at how Nigerian citizens and politicians and officials jumps to condemn killing in foreign countries but seem not to see or ignore or seem helpless in the face of many years of systematic and fast rising violence and murders from the large numbers of kidnappings, ritual killings for economic or political or other advantage, terrorist and Boko Haram murders and cult activities. All levels in our own Nigerian culture are culprits and now rape and sexual abuse are so rife that additional legislation is being created. The problems are found in our neighbourhoods, tertiary institutions and the violence deliberately perpetrated by para-political organisations and unions-particularly the NURTW is yet to shake off its violence reputation in this direction. Nigerians across the country are very traumatized. Many lie dead or suffer indignities and deprivations in Nigeria’s IDP camps as well as in individual families across the country. Unless Nigeria’s highest security officials takes a firm ‘military dispatch’ stand against these forces of evil, beyond just ‘presidential silence or sympathetic noises’, Nigerians will not overcome its problems. Peace and security and peace of mind are the basic promises of government and necessities required to overcome the fall in the value of the naira, the economic downturn and the loss of vast areas of arable farm land with subsequent exposure to famine and poverty. Mr. President, Nigerians are not seeing the love as manifest by protection, on the roads, in our homes, at work and at play in Nigeria. Covid will go. But beyond COVID, security is a minute to minute, nationwide affair and not just Northeast today, Northwest tomorrow and South-south next week. What is happening????

A policeperson should not need to be man or woman to show appropriate empathy and best practice to rape victims.  There are more women officers and DPOs now than before. One would hope that they will quickly implement normal anti-rape strategies and care of rape victims. Sometimes women turn out to be harder than the men to prove they can do the job. Hopefully this will not be the case with the female officer of our police service. Rape and domestic violence are menaces that must be tackled with tact and skill and not just brute force and preconceived bias.

Unfortunately, in domestic abuse, the tongue is the greatest weapon of domestic violence and it leaves no forensic trace for police or peacemakers. It is usually one parties word against another. We must remember that ‘sticks and stones may break my bones AND names will always hurt me’ is the correct version of an old adage. The tongue can fire wicked words which burn the soul of the tongue-victim. Let us actively teach our children to guard their tongues, no matter what we think. As yet there is no thought crime. You can think what you like about another party but as long as you do not say ‘what is on your mind’ and anything that will bring a violent reaction you will be able to escape safely from an unpleasant environment. It is unwise to goad a bullying partner or an excessively quiet and moody on into a reaction, any reaction. A violent reaction will be unpleasant for all the family. Do not risk your life. Guard your tongue as you would any weapon, a knife or a gun.

Source: The Nation

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