Kidnapping is easy in Nigeria

It was St. Augustine of Hippo who propounded the latin maxim: Lex iniusta non est lex (An unjust law is no law at all), upon which many illustrious writers and philosophers have based their arguments for differentiating laws that wound morally and laws that are moral and right.
St. Thomas Aquinas (Lawyer, Writer, Natural Law Theorist) expounded the legal maxim when he said: “An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.”
American philosopher and writer Henry David Thoreau further expounded this maxim in his essay on civil disobedience. In it, Thoreau argues that individuals should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that they have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. Thoreau was motivated in part by his disgust with slavery and the Mexican–American War.
Well, my disgust is not so grand. But, I am disgusted; with the Nigerian government’s (through its agencies) disrespect for human rights.
I was jogging yesterday when I heard a boy crying and screaming. It was still early, 6:20AM-ish. For a moment, I couldn’t figure out what was happening. Was he being kidnapped? Am I witnessing an armed robbery? It was a lonely road and nobody was about except the boy (who’s about 8-9 years old), a young girl in her teens and some four men who were hastily bundling the teenager into their vehicle, a Mistubishi bus painted with ENTRACO colours and insignia, with plate number XL 103 BDG. The men were shooing the little boy away, harshly telling him to go home with him barrow and tell his parents to come to ESWAMA office and bail his sister.
Then, it clicked! That was the dreaded ESWAMA (Enugu State Waste Management Authority ) at work. I ran over there shouting: I’m a lawyer, wait up! Surprisingly, they waited. I asked for an I.D and the best they could do was point at their shirts sporting ESWAMA logos. One brandished a faded identity card (Damn my poor eyesight!) that I couldn’t make out name of holder or even see if the card had an ESWAMA logo. When I asked further questions they simply drove off, carting away three young women who sat docilely at the rear of the vehicle because some four men with an ENTRACO bus claiming to be ESWAMA staff and another man in police uniform “arrested” them. Jeez! How gullible Nigerians are!
I ran after the little boy who was visibly shaken and still crying, but the little angel has wheels for legs. I couldn’t catch up with him. After parading the street he entered without any sign of him I knocked at some of the houses, explained what I had witnessed and dropped the vehicle details with them, in case the men aren’t ESAWAMA staff.
But, it got me thinking. What if they are indeed ESWAMA staff? Does that make it okay for them to kidnap (pardon me, arrest) children who they see disposing waste improperly? How do we differentiate them from human traffickers when the only proofs of identity they proffer is faded identity cards and shirts with ESWAMA written on them? Both forms of identification the average man on the street can have produced in one day of scouring Ogbete Main Market.
Honestly, Nigerians need to step up, ask serious questions about our laws or edicts as the case maybe. If a law or edict is unjust and not in line with the provisions of the supreme law of the land ie the 1999 Constitution, that is the time to adopt civil disobedience, because as Henry David Thoreau opined “there will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognise the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly.” The State will not recognise our importance if we don’t know our importance.
ESWAMA (and many other government agencies) is breaking the laws of our land, and they’re doing it with our acquiescence. And, that is not okay!


About Egoyibo Okoro

Beautiful. Friendly. Opinionated. Feminist. Scholarly. Political. Christian. Sometimes, I write in Engli-Igbo and/or pidgin English. Just so you know, I am naturally disgruntled about a lot of things, most especially gender inequality, human rights abuses, racism and corruption. #EndChildMarriage. #EndTerrorism. #EndPoverty. #EndRacism. #EndImperialism. The Igbo say, "egbe bere, ugo bere, nke si ibe ya ebena nku kwa ya" - Live and let live!
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2 Responses to Kidnapping is easy in Nigeria

  1. prince Chioke says:

    My Elegant , lawyer ikpeama. Nice piece.
    Long I read from you… cheers!

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