By Agba Jalingo
The arson, looting, stealing, brigandage that erupted after the nationwide #EndSARS protests has just provided an orifice to douse some smothered frustration. From the onset, let me clarify that I do not have any intention of sounding politically correct on this matter by joining the majority to call for a halt to the rolling stone.
The natural consequences of decades of mindless plundering of our resources by a devious and criminal political class is what is cascading down our firmament. Let’s stop shading crocodile tears. We are all now threatened by the eruption of what we set up by our own volition by blatantly refusing to develop and create opportunities for young people to express their ingenuity and opting rather for mindless stealing of public hope.
Like someone noted somewhere, living in a nation that has sold crude oil for more than 4 (four) decades and still cannot boast of a 300 kilometre clean highway, is a nightmare. And we are all here sermonizing about a boomerang that we all knew will come around.
I have seen a lot of Nigerians responding to the call to return their loot. In our state capital, Calabar, people are dropping them at designated points and government agents and volunteers are picking up. I’m happy to see that the ordinary poor Nigerian can heed that call.
I only wish the ruling class can reciprocate and return their own loot too. I wish they can return even a minute percentage of what they have plundered and plough it into the development of our communities; there will be opportunities that will blight the prevalent restiveness.
But no! Even the looted items that these poor ones have returned, mark my words, will still be relooted by the ruling class. None of those items will be returned to where they were taken from. Contracts will be awarded for new purchases. We are already hearing the big figures needed to restock. Governors will set up committees on recovery of looted items; in Cross River, they may likely be an SA on Recovered Loot.
These committees will still drain sitting allowances from government. When the news is off the headlines, the same members of the committees will reloot those items according to instructions from the various “aboves” as we know them in Nigeria. The only difference this time around is that these relooters will not return the loot, no matter how you appeal to them.
But you know what! The worst has not happened. What we are seeing is the least. There is a generation that has overcome fear. They are already terrified and government response is making matters worse. They are been pushed to the wall and their backs and pained. They are ready to fight back. There are no tanks or bullets enough to stop them. Take that to the bank.
They are an innovative generation that demonstrated creativity and grabbed the world spell bound for two weeks and still trending. Raising millions and spending same with real time accountability, buying prosthesis for the limb-less and raising millions for a groundnut seller on the streets.
Using technology and innovation to incense a global audience and a radio channel with millions of listeners in just hours. A generation itching for opportunity to run their nation. That is what our plunderers are up against.
So stop the crying. Stop the lamenting. Stop giving us speeches. Stop the condemnation. Stop the lectures. Stop the pretense. Break your vaults. YES! Break them. Vaults of stolen wealth and develop our land. That is what will appease this restiveness. Not speeches and condemnation. Massive and whirling opportunities for the young.
Like the example the poor looters have shown, let our rich looters also repatriate our stolen wealth and deliberately foster an atmosphere that will liberate the innovation and creativity of the youths, then we can say boldly that we learnt a lesson from the events of recent weeks and we will all be able to sleep well.
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