Posted by Emeka Ugwuonye, Esquire | 25 December 2013 | 2,884 times
I have been constantly challenging the idea of government officials using bullet-proof vehicles. Surprisingly many Nigerians have not joined me in protesting against that practice.
I know that the use of such vehicles is not consistent with the position of our politicians and government officials. I know that such practice is not consistent with democracy and free society, which we ought to build. I was wondering how to frame the argument until I saw a story in California, which helps me argue this point.
In Salinas, California, the US Army gave some of their bulletproof vehicles as gift to the police department. When the people of the city saw their police driving around in military bullet proof vehicles they knew that such was not consistent with life in their streets. They protested against it.
According to the story, “Posting on the police department’s Facebook page, citizens criticized the acquisition as excessive, as well as a sign of the militarization of law enforcement.”
“That vehicle is made for war,” wrote one commenter. “Do not use my safety to justify that vehicle,” another one wrote. “The Salinas Police Department is just a bunch of cowards that want to use that vehicle as intimidation and to terrorize the citizens of this city.”
You can read more and more of that. But it tells you the same thing – civilized people are not comfortable with an environment where those who were supposed to maintain law and order move about like cowards in bullet proof vehicles.
Our leaders are cowards. Rather than defeat violent criminals in the streets, they hide in their armored vehicles. That offends my sense of freedom and your sense of freedom. If any vehicle in Nigeria should be bullet proof, it should be the school busses carrying children to school.
•Emeka Ugwuonye, Esquire, lawyer and activist, whose photo appears alongside this piece, wrote from Lagos.
No comments yet. Be the first to post comment.