Life in 'Forest of a Thousand Demons!'


By Gbenro Olajuyigbe
That Nation is worthless which does not joyfully stake everything in defence of her honour' – Schiller

Lest anyone suspect  otherwise, here is  'forest of a thousand demons'! A country where  $20 Billion could fly away from her Oil Company like  wayward egrets without much ado from 'citizens' is a country of daring demons with 'citizens' in dire need of deliverance. A country where  24 Billion Naira Police Pension Fund allegedly mysteriously developed wings and where 2.3 Trillion  Naira  Fuel Subsidy disappeared into thin air for more than two years now without any compass to its habitation must be a country with many demons! A country where the oppressed stand up to defend their own oppressors, where honour goes to rouges and looters but   honesty and hard work are rewarded with poverty and shame is a country without soul. A  country where 'the old and the young, the poor and  the rich, educated and illiterates  stand up in spiritual nudism to pray for their 'Goliaths' rather than rising up against them, like David, have given the destiny of their land to 'unworthy Philistines'!

Such country is not a country. She is Forest! And Forest with a thousand demons!  Welcome to Nigeria, the new butt of joke for  even Mugabe of Zimbabwe, who recently said that in Nigeria that the Pilot of the aircraft you board would expect you to bribe him before he takes off. What an insult! 'International insults' of which we need to 'reject our portion' like Wole Soyinka. A country in dishonour, yet its 'leaders'  know it not;  or living in denial, blowing damaged saxophone from Namibia to Vatican, underplaying the ocean of corruption that is sweeping the pride of his subjects and nation away. Of a fact, this forest of a thousand demons has many 'heroes' of hell!

The flows of her rivers are seasonal, episodic and ephemeral but the blood of her subjects tragically keep on flowing; despising seasons and resisting logic. The  insatiable cruelty of  her  demons continue to remind her people that grave is hungry and angry; and day after day it gets hungrier,  angrier  and crueller  ! From Kaduna to Maiduguri, Portharcourt, Benin, Abuja and Yobe, undertakers are busy just as pall bearers are in their boom's times!  Fate is only marginally better in other parts of the country. Even event as ordinary as conducting interview for jobs generate its own death! Any how and anywhere the demons must suck blood! Preferably, the blood of the youth! The sickness is getting worse. The resultant pronouncements and answers to crying problems get worse and sicklier than the diseases they are made to cure. With the Presidential directives that 3 job spaces be given to each of the families who lost their loved ones in the Ministry of Interior arranged disaster called Interview, a new qualification for employment into the Nigeria Immigration Service has been raised. The promotion is on! One death for three jobs! Waiver? Get injured, get a job! I learned that the families of these unfortunate ones have now besieged various hospitals for the 'new certificates for employment'- Death Certificate and Certificate of Injury! I have no problem with Mr. President compensating these families and persons but i have problem with compensations that lay mine for our future security and border integrity.

I hope the President realises the full implications of this impulsive response to critical policy issues? I hope he knows that the responsibilities of Immigration Service go beyond citizenship mandate? That it includes borders' security and by extrapolation territorial integrity of the nation? I hope he knows that the  indiscretion  to engage unqualified or unwilling or unfit persons based on the sentiments that the family members were killed or wounded at interview venues has long –term security implications for the nation and filled with potential to compromise the nation's  territorial integrity? I think if the President wants to compensate the dead and the wounded, he should have done that inform of appropriate monetary compensation while still retaining the integrity of our recruitment process, more so, of an Agency whose responsibilities include mandate for citizenship and a portion of  homeland security. His choice of compensation display offensive ignorance of purpose of Immigration Service and stand to be a fatal caricature of border security, one of the lags that continue to work in favour of the Terror Groups ravaging the nation today.

Come to think of it, does a country even need to get to this level of manifest tragic unemployment before she knows that she is sitting on time bomb? As the government continue to up mark its own score sheet, the manifestation of our manifold problems continue to put lies to  its feverishly deceptive  claims. Just few weeks after the government impressed the gullible listeners  during the centenary celebration that it has created over 1.6 million jobs, its own immigration department responded to the lie's stimulus by loudly saying  ' hey, would you shut up there!'

Nigeria is a parody of illogical mysteries! Rulers who put on light to walk in day time but put off light in the night  in order to see through the dark. Mass murderers roam and roar about unhindered, thieves are ubiquitously crowned as chiefs while the innocent, decent and law abiding ones are condemned to licking the afflictions uncaring nation has placed on them.  It is now clearer that D.O.Fagunwa had  the unproductive circus movements in Nigeria in mind when, over fifty years ago, he wrote his book, 'Irikerindo Ninu Igbo Irunmole'  which Wole Soyinka adapted as 'Forest of a Thousand Demons.'

The earlier we get  demons out of the forest the better for us. The violent culture and the unending impunity that continue to re –characterise us and re-configure our identities will not go without a fight back from us. Decently humane future for us depend on our realisation that 'civilisation will not last, freedom will not survive, peace will not be kept, unless a very large majority of—(us) unite to defend them.' As asserted by Winston Churchill. Only on this battle field the demons stand defeated!

Gbenro Olajuyigbe is an Abuja based  Human Security Expert

E: Mail : [email protected]