I had thought I would conclude my discourse on the de-branding of Nigeria by President Muhammadu Buhari and his part, All Progressives congress (APC), despite efforts by past administrations to change perception about Nigeria and Nigerians as the most corrupt people on earth, but Steve Nwosu hit my mind. After the first part of the discourse was published last Thursday, a fan, who signed off only as Ahmed from Jalingo, wrote in and said: “I appreciate your arguments.
They are logically correct. My concern is that the same Buhari who is telling the world that the past administration was most corrupt, is also showcasing the likes of Tinubu to the world. What kind of message is he sending to the international community if he keeps saying Jonathan’s administration was corrupt but always keeps Tinubu to his side despite was the world had come to read about him as published in that article on www. dailybeast.com and the TV documentary on AIT?”
Honestly, I am not in a position to know what the world community would think of Buhari as regards his close alliance with the said Tinubu, and other likes. But what I may be able to conclude is that it is illogic to discard a dog but bring in a cat, if indeed you don’t want a pet that squats. Both do. Well, let that be Buhari’s moral burden for now as he works to unveil his saints before an expectant Nigerian audience.
But, Steve Nwosu! I share his pains at this time. I share the pain of his kids and I share the pains of his enlarged family as we all pray, like we always do, that nothing untoward happens to Toyin. For whatever it is, armed robbery taken too far, or outright kidnap, the pain remains the same especially for a young man who has laboured his way up the journalism scale, toiling in uncertainties and insecure environment, writing and canvassing for a more secure society but falling victim of the fears he expressed in his works.
One would always ask; Why Steve? Why Toyin? But then, it is a sad reminder of the fact that the journalist is endangered professional, especially in a society where truth hurts terribly. One may argue, given details of the bandits’ exploits, that Steve may not actually be the target. But now, he is a victim. And given the trajectory of our society –a place where journalists’ murders had gone unresolved- a lot of conclusions could be reached. I can’t remember any attack on a journalist that had been resolved and punishment adequately meted out.
From the gruesome murder of Dele Giwa via a parcel bomb that was masterfully delivered, to other murders including those of Bayo Ohu (The Guardian, 2009), Edo Ugbagwu (The Nation, 2010), Tunde Oladepo (The Guardian, 1998), Okezie Amaruben (Newsservice, 1998), Fidelis Ikwuebe (Freelancer, 1999), Sam Nimfa-Jan (Details, 1999), Samson Boyi (The Scope, 1999), Nathan S. Dabak (The Light Bearer, 2010), Sunday Gyang Bwede (The Light Bearer, 2010), Zakariya Isa (Nigeria Television Authority, 2011) and Enenche Akogwu (Channels TV, 2012).
There have also been Baguda Kaltho (TheNEWS, 1996), Chinedu Offoaro (The Guardian, 1996), Bolade Fasasi (National Association of Women Journalists, 1999), Godwin Agbroko (ThisDay, 2006), Paul Aboyomi Ogundeji (ThisDay, 2008), Ephraim Audu (Nasarawa State Broadcasting Service, 2008), Nansok Sallah (Highland FM, 2012) and Ikechukwu Udendu (Anambra News, 2013).
These are listed as unresolved journalists’ murders by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Fear heightens; for Steve and other journalists. Steve has had previous encounters. In July 2012, Steve escaped but with bullet wounds after he was attacked, robbed and shot in the head. His survival could only be an act of the divine. That was at Maza Maza in Lagos, on his way to office.
Again in 2014, just as Christians were getting ready to enjoy the Christmas holidays, Steve was visited by another group which woke him from sleep with guns pointing at his head. In all, Toyin was there to share the pains and feel the impact of being married to a journalist. I pity the mothers of our children. The pains the bear because their husbands are journalists are immeasurable.
However, I am not taken to the argument that these episodes in Steve and Toyin union are mere accidents. Steve had asked: I wonder what is often attracting robbers to my home? That is a question which no one, except the ‘robbers’ themselves would provide answers to. Meanwhile, whether they answer that question or not, it is important to dig deeper and beyond the surface.
These incidences cannot be mere accidents. I may not have other facts, but simple logic tells me that they may be a build up to something more sinister. If you realize that Donu Kogbara was held captive by ‘kidnappers’ for such a long time (Thank God she returned safely), with other forms of attack on journalists, reported and unreported, then, piecing one plus one together becomes easier.
It may as well mean that certain journalists are marked. But, as we religiously profess, let’s pray to God that it is not yet. For whatever it is, Steve does not deserve what he getting from society. Indeed, no one does. But since we live in a country where it is easier to keep awake all day and night than to sleep restfully at night, one gradually loses confidence in the state, to which one had surrendered his will, and also empowered through his tax, to protect him. Hopelessly, the Police are helpless in cases such as this. Crime prevention has never been known to be a marked positive of the Police.
Late arrival is always the trend. But would it be sensibly right to blame the Police in a situation where infrastructure is near absent? Steve lives in part of Lagos where commoners live; a segment of town where passable road is considered extreme luxury by a state where someone elected to manage resources of the people helped himself with N78.3m for the upgrade of a personal website and another N159m to sink just two bore holes.
That amount could fix the road leading to Steve’s home which would have aided quicker response by the police; that is, assuming someone was courageous enough to make that phone call. For now, there will be no better palliative for Steve than to have Toyin back home, to him, and the kids. Nigeria, that is what you owe Steve.
– ACHILLEUS-CHUD UCHEGBU e-mail: email@example.com