Uduak Ubak’s Blog: Law Enforcement in Nigeria – Any Hope?

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Law Enforcement Police

A sign on a market gate read,

“motorcyclists are not allowed beyond this point, failure to comply attracts a fine of 2500 naira”.

As I watched with interest wondering what would have caused the market authorities to come up with such a law, I knew it was highly probable that motorcyclists had become a nuisance to the market users.

As if on cue, a motorcyclist with a passenger on his back seat, rode towards the gate; but instead of stopping at the gate as instructed by the sign post, he rides inside breaking the rule in broad daylight.

I watched to see what would happen, fearing for the worst; I mean, having to part with that amount of money would be painful. But to my ” almost” surprise, nothing happened.

” Almost” surprise because I really believed that whoever put the signpost there must have been serious, at least it was written on a huge board, but then I also remember I have lived in this country long enough to know that some laws (many laws actually) are not enforced as much as they should.

One of such laws is the one barring motorcyclists from our highways. This law was necessitated by the loads of accidents caused by the recklessness of some of these daring motorcyclists.

In the beginning, this law was enforced to the letter. Nobody had their motorcycles on the highway because they were afraid of the consequences. But after a while, when they felt that those in authority were tired of enforcing the rules, the bikes were back on our roads.

It started little by little, with the bikers being cautious of being caught but once they realized there was nothing happening, everything went back to how it used to be.

Recently though, there has been some positive improvement on the enforcement of laws in Nigeria, especially at the National Level.

There has been ongoing investigations and some arrests of some prominent Nigerians have been made by the Department of State Services (DSS). Of course, there has been lots of news and controversies on the appropriateness or otherwise of some of the arrests but for most Nigerians, the fact that such people could be arrested has brought a new sense of confidence in our Nigerian law enforcement agencies.

It also showed that there is hope in the fight against corruption though some are still skeptical; for them it’s not over yet until justice is served.

This action by the DSS is such a positive one, especially if the investigations can be carried out to their logical conclusions. It would indeed start a sanitization process of the system as people will know that the law is no respecter of anyone.

For any organization to progress, it has to be guided by laws and regulations.

In a democratic society, the judiciary plays a very important role in enforcing the law. They are the tier of government which interprets the laws and give the judgements suitable for each offense.

In the past, the rich and powerful have been able to wriggle their away through the laws because of their money and influences while the poor have had to pay for everything, both the ones they are guilty of and the ones they knew nothing about.

It’s like a case I once heard of, about a man working in an organization, who stole 80,000 naira from the business and  was charged to 5 years in prison, and another man who held some political position who stole about 300 transformers worth millions of naira belonging to some communities in his State, yet he was charged with 3 years in prison with an option of a 300,000 naira fine.

Of course the man went with the option of fine, as the  amount was a drop in the ocean of money he had made from the transformers he misappropriated.

This kind of scenario in our judiciary system has caused some Nigerians to take laws into their hands instead of going through the appropriate legal process to seek justice.

But with this new wave of change, I believe that Nigerians will once again have faith in our law enforcement agencies and our judiciary system but more importantly, we will all become more law-abiding.

© 2015 – 2017, Uduak Ubak. All rights reserved.

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