Friday, August 24, 2018

Yahoo Boy and the Jungle Police by Omoruyi Uwuigiaren

One sad morning, a poor soul was at the bus stop waiting to catch a bus to his destination. The young man was tall and tough and his trousers hung loosely to his waist. He was mean and dark as the midnight. He pierced his ears and his earrings and necklace shone like the rising sun. Apart from the dreadlocks that hung down from his head, there was nothing suspicious about him. His look, no matter how bizarre, was never enough for him to be robbed of his rights and tossed into the outer darkness. He was a product of an ever changing world. Civilization comes with a price. We either live with it or we are left behind.
There was a time it was an abomination for a man to be seen in the public not clearly defined as a man because his earrings and necklace competed for space in the public eyes with his mustache. As you know, a man that wants to survive public life must hide his imperfections. Conflicting identity is an imperfection and it sends the wrong signal. The mentally weak is cheap and the innocent is dragged into his pool of weakness and bruised. In this age and time, young people are comfortable parading a phone that is the size of an Olympic stadium. In a bizarre world, the bigger the phone, the higher the chance of getting into trouble. Who cares if you are a saint? Not all glamour excites the society. The man in the public eyes is never far away from a storm. Some of the security operatives that line up the street like vultures waiting for their turn to feast on a carcass have lost it. They will swoop at the slightest provocation. The young man was guilty. His big phone betrayed him. His eyes were fixed on his phone when a van pulled up before him. It was a yellow bus—the regular Lagos state taxi colour. The door was thrown open. As the poor soul raised his head and made for the bus, three or more plain clothe police men jumped down. Before he could blink, they grabbed him and his phone! “YOU ARE UNDER ARREST!” one of the men thundered.
“HA-HA! FOR WHAT? What is my offence?” the young man tried to protest and fight his way out of their grip. But they overwhelmed him and brought him to his knees. They handcuffed him and kicked him here and there.
The City Heroes and other stories from the Heart of Africa by [Uwuigiaren, Omoruyi]
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One police man stood over him. He smelled like bar and yelled at the young man, “Are you mad? You are a Yahoo Boy and you still have the guts to talk?” He landed a slap on his face and a devastating blow fell on his neck. The poor soul elicited an agonized cry. “Now, get into the van!”
The poor soul jumped to his feet and staggered into the waiting van. All the police men jumped in. They shut the door and drove off. As they moved on, they checked his phone for anything that could implicate the boy. After going back and forth with his phone and could not find any substantial evidence to nail the guy, one policeman pounced on him. “So you have perfected your own strategy to beat us abi? Who is Kemi? I see you were chatting before we arrested you and only criminals use the social media! Who is Kemi? Answer me before I change my mind!”
“Kemi is my girlfriend…” the young man stuttered.
“SHUT UP! YOU ARE LYING! You are trying to swindle the woman. You are a thief! If you don’t tell me the truth, you will end up in jail. Look at your hair. You even wear earrings. You are a “Yahoo Boy!”. Na thief you be and you go tell us where your gang dey!” the police man punched the young man. The poor thing ducked and the blow landed on the metal body of the bus that has seen its better days. The move left the policeman bleeding in his knuckle. He became red with rage and two or more policemen descended heavily on the young man. Blows landed freely on him. He took the fierce shots and never recovered...

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Read excerpts from the book The Adventures of Nihu on the Magic Ladder!

You can read excerpts from the book The Adventures of Nihu on the "Magic Ladder", a free reading improvement resource. 

To read an excerpt from click here: https://mlc.learningstewards.org/adventures-of-nihu/

To find out more about the Magic Ladder click here: https://mlc.learningstewards.org


mlc.learningstewards.org

Level 5-6: The Adventures of Nihu (Excerpt)


Friday, January 26, 2018

Buhari’s Low Bar of Governance.

Buhari has lowered the bar of governance so low that all it would take for any president who comes after him to impress us is to:

1. Constitute his cabinet within a few days of being sworn in

2. Appoint members of governing boards of government agencies in the first few months of being in power

3. Not be so incompetent as to appoint dead people in government—and living people without first consulting them

4. Periodically speak to Nigerians through the domestic media, not when he is abroad

5. Personally visit sites of national tragedy, show emotion, and make national broadcasts to reassure a grieving nation.

6. Have an economic team made up of economists and not, as Buhari has done, appoint a diplomat as an economic adviser and then push him to the gaunt fringes of the Vice President’s office.

7. Reflect token religious, regional, and national diversity in appointments.

8. Not lie shamelessly about self-evident facts.

9. Not budget billions for Aso Rock Clinic and yet starve it of basic medicines and then fly to London for medical treatment at the drop of a hat even for “ear infections” and “breathing difficulties”.

10. Not have a compulsive runawayist impulse that ensures that he travels out of the country at the slightest opportunity and for the silliest reasons.

11. Even pretend that the whole of Nigeria is his constituency—including those who gave him “97%” of their votes and those who gave him “5%” of their votes.
12. Add to the list...

Sadly, these are really basic things that we’ve had in previous governments that we thought were irredeemably bad. There is no greater evidence that Nigeria has regressed really badly in almost every index in Buhari’s less than 3 years of being in power than the reality of these grim facts. And he wants you to extend this national tragedy for another 4 years in 2019? Well, it’s up to you. If that's what Nigerians want, who am I to deny them the "luxury" to inflict self-violence on themselves?


Farooq Kperogi is a professor, writer, and columnist. Visit: www.farooqkperogi.com to learn more about him.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

KILL THE DRUNKEN POLICEMAN.

One sad day, I stopped at a printing press to pick some copies of my books. Then I decided to take Lawanson and connect Oshodi expressway through Itire road. I was alone in the car. After covering a good distance away from the Oba's palace at Itire, I ran into some policemen. About four or more were in a van and one was standing in the middle of the road. He was a monument in a vast land. I think it was his turn to contribute to the fraud of the Nigerian state that is a tragedy of a 21st century. He waved me to stop. So I slammed my leg on the brake and slowed down. My car rolled to the corner and parked few poles away from their van. 

Then the creature whose eyes were crimson red and his head shaven like an egg walked up to me. "Good evening,” he said. He smelled like a bar and let go a yawn that took some time to mix with the air. "What do you have in your boot?" he asked and kept a straight face.

"My books!" I said and flashed an exaggerated smile at him. 

My innocent smile could not win him over. He stared coldly at me and flung a glance at the back seat to see if he could find what could implicate me. There was nothing. And then he returned his gaze to me and cleared his throat. “OFF YOUR ENGINE!” he bellowed. “COME AND OPEN YOUR BOOT!”

I complied and placed the car keys in my back pocket. As he walked to the back of the car, I made for my wallet. These men worship mammon. A few naira notes could get a condemned thief out of jail. So I decided to take advantage of his weakness. Flash a few naira notes and be left off the hook. I got some naira notes so that I can be out of Surulere before nightfall. My plan was to beat the traffic along Apapa-Oshodi expressway. But I never knew that I was in for a long night.

He watched me opened the boot as his colleagues who sat in the van fixed their gaze on us. He was sweating and smelling. I could not tell if the weight of the rifle was killing him. Or the bewilderment that rules the heart of men who drown themselves in liquor was standing taller than the pair of legs that carried him. He could be a victim of both worlds. The rifle was old and it is a tragedy for a drunken man to be left with a firearm. Here, the law was out of my hands. I was not in the position to fix the problem. I was the victim. He was supposed to be my friend and protector. The man who the law has entrusted my life to his miserable hands was failing. He had betrayed the state and the people he had sworn to serve. I threw the boot open, turned to him and crossed my arm over my body.

He nodded, simpering and staggered to my side. He almost knocked me over as he tried to steady his already disorganized soul. He swallowed hard, licked his lips as he inspected the over 500 copies of my books in the boot. I proudly showed him my picture at the back of the book, my name on the front cover and my ID CARD. At least, I was proud to let him know I was a writer. But I received a rude shock. He had barely glanced at the ID card, when he yelled at me, "SO NA YOU DEY PIRATE PEOPLE BOOK ABI? I DON CATCH YOU TODAY!" He turned to the van and signaled the other men to come. About three policemen jumped out of the van and approached us as if they had caught a big thief. 

Before I could blink, he told them that I was a thief. They glanced at me and our eyes met. They smiled after he spews out the rubbish. Knowing that their colleague was drunk, one of them threw out a question, "Identify yourself, my brother."

I handed him my ID CARD. He checked it and looked at the books. And then he looked at my face. He nodded his head. I think he realized that I was clean. He returned my ID and ordered me to return to the car. 

But his colleague who was under the spell of liquor became furious. "WHY WILL YOU LET HIM GO?" he barked at the policeman. "HE IS A PIRATE. HE MUST BE ARRESTED."Then he turned to me, "IF YOU GO ANYWHERE, I WILL SHOOT YOU!"

Afraid that I could be robbed of life in the belly of the night, I stopped. Now, there was a struggle between them. Two of the policemen held the one that was drunk and tried to take the rifle from him. As they battled with him, he yelled at the top of his voice, "WHO GAVE HIM AUTHORITY TO WRITE? HE SHOULD PROVIDE DOCUMENTS TO SHOW HE IS A WRITER!"

I was a still water in my corner. Not long after, they disarmed him. One of the men walked up to me. He apologized for the embarrassment that the man had caused me. As he we walked to the car, He whispered, "Oga, find us something. Make you go."

I smiled. I gave him the naira notes. Entered my car and drove off. 

As I descended the bridge at airport road, my mind began to work. What would have happened to me if the policemen had not intervened? Likely the drunken policeman would have shot me. He could have harmed me or kill me!

I was lucky today.

Kill the drunken policeman.


Omoruyi Uwuigiaren studied Mass Communications. He is a writer, cartoonist, and a blogger. He has published several books which include The City Heroes and other stories from the heart of Africa, Giant in a Hut, Little Okon, Tom the Little Man. His short stories and articles have appeared on Moronic Ox Literary and Cultural Journal, Vanguard Newspapers and other literary journals. You can reach Ruyi @ ldsomoruyi@yahoo.ca