|The Ikorodu Road violence after the death of the hawker|
Nigerians are very lawless people from age immemorial. In order to correct this lawlessness, Kick Against Indiscipline (KIA) was set up as a government agency to enforce attitudinal change. This agency has checkmated people who act wrongly in the public which will endanger their individual lives; the lives of others and the environment.
Historically, during the military leadership of General Muhammadu Buhari and General Tunde Idiagbon, the War Against Indiscipline was set up to perform the same role. However, there were a lot of complaints about the extreme use of force.
The Lagos State Government is strategic in fighting the battle of Indiscipline to a standstill. Along major roads in Lagos where people typically cross the road; barbed wires have been fixed to the footsteps of pedestrian bridges and all illegal bus stops are also been phased out using barbed wires too. Ironically, some of these barbed wires and baricades have been destroyed at places like Ojota and Mile 12 along the Ikorodu road corridor.
All around Lagos, officers of KAI curb the menace of street hawking; arresting pedestrians who do not want to use the pedestrian bridge; arresting these who defecate or urinate along the roadside amongst other petty misdemeanours.
|Van used to arrest street traders and hawkers|
Unfortunately, all these erring members of the society have become cash cows for the officers of KAI. People are not properly fined or charged by the agency, as a whole, but by the officers who effect the arrest.
Many a times, people who want to evade arrest get manhandled. The saddening part is that street urchins commit the same crime with other pedestrians but they prefer the well dressed ones because they would not be violent. Recently, a hawker at Maryland, Ikorodu road, Lagos was killed while trying to evade arrest and this resulted into violence by other hawkers who saw it as an act of injustice and burnt down BRT buses belonging to the state government.
The economic situation has turned everyone into a "hustler". Women that supports their husbands must be commended. These women usually display series of goods for sale on prominent streets close to a major bus terminal to serve the blue-collar and white - collar workers on their way from work. Sadly, the clampdown has direct impact on them and this has heightened the poverty level of the masses.
However, it must also be said that these enforcement officers are overzealous in the dispensation of their duties. The rate of destruction is on the high side. Many of the goods that they come across are wasted in the course of discharging their lawful duties. This shows that Lagos needs a model of converting these waste into something that can be used for other purposes.
The drivers and officers attached to KAI are uncivil while going about their lawful business. They drive recklessly; they chase people needlessly thereby resulting to waste of lives. The government needs to put some punitive measures in place for the officers so that they can responsibly discharge their duties.
Just like Governor Akinwunmi Ambode noted upon resumption of office that traffic gridlock gets heightened by the way LASTMA officers stop traffic violators; he instructed them to be civic by taking pictures of the vehicle, the number plate and possibly the driver. Such model needs to be put in place for KAI officers too.
It is obvious that Lagos State is on a journey towards becoming a mega city. However, the attitudes of KAI officers should rather complement the efforts of the government and not distract the government in her efforts of making Lagos the tourism hub for West Africa.