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When citizens are lawless…



A LAWLESS society is one where its citizens are not restrained by the law or by discipline and every inhabitant behaves unruly and disorderly.

In such a scenario, the weak or unconnected to authority bears the brunt of the ‘law’, while the ‘rich’ or those at the corridor or near the corridor of authority go scot-free.

I live in such a society – Nigeria, where mere display of affluence confers on one the status of ‘above the law’, wearing official uniform, use of official vehicle or even carrying official authority .

One may ask, who are Nigerians and what are the laws being breached?  I make bold to say that I am one and any other person who by birth or naturalisation is conferred the status of a Nigerian by the statute nay Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, while the law is the legal instruments contained in the Constitution of Nigeria be it federal or state to govern the conduct of Nigerian citizens. Also judicial pronouncements by the courts in Nigeria form a law which desecration becomes an offence of the law. There are Acts such as the police, and other Para-military outfits which also form part of the law but operative within the confines of Nigeria’s statute book – the constitution.

It is trite that neither the constitution, court pronouncements, Acts operative in our society conferred any special privilege or exempted any Nigerian from obedience to the law, suggesting that any Nigerian that flouts any of the above-mentioned legal instruments is lawless and liable for punishment.

Unfortunately, in the Nigerian society, everybody flouts the law, particularly those Nigerians expected to preserve the law, enforce same and apprehend and punish offenders.

I may have been making ambiguous statements, but to be precise, there are such laws that restrict  the use of sirens to only persons approved by the law, use of government official vehicle plate  numbers, traffic control lights, bearing of  fire arms, to mention but a few.

The very essence for the enactment of these laws to moderate our individual actions have been or are being violated by persons at the corridors or near corridors of authority, such as legislators in National and State Assembles, order than the Senate President, Speakers of House of Representatives and Assemblies, as well as affluent members of society who terrorise other members of society with sirens even at odd hours (night).

Also, such persons as mentioned earlier, including the police and allied para-military personnel not only harass members of the society with sirens but flagrantly flout traffic control lights wherever they are placed to control traffic flow.

Very disheartening is the rampant, flagrant abuse of government official vehicle plate numbers on private vehicles by ordinary civil servants, and even non-governmental workers in rickety cars. These, they illegally use to evade the eye of the law enforcement agents when they offend any law.

Behind the unlawful use of the items mentioned above is the tendency for persons to ferry arms and ammunition, contraband materials, even human bodies unnoticed under the cover of sirens and government official vehicle plate numbers, to evade police checks and flout traffic control lights.

More worrisome in the ugly trend of wanton disobedience to the law is the absurd thinking of some officials of government, such as the police and other para-military personnel, government drivers and siren blaring affluent members of our society that traffic control lights are not meant for them and that passage on public roads is their exclusive right no matter the traffic gridlock.

The mention of bearing illegal fire arms in this writ-up may no longer make any meaningful sense, more so, when even herdsmen bear more sophisticated firearms.

There are several other acts of lawlessness pervading our national psyche, resulting from hunger, greed, avarice, get-rich quick syndrome, culminating corruption at all levels of the society in flagrant flouting and abuse of the law.

One may then ponder solution to stem these ugly trends that have remained the lots and woes of the Nigerian society when juxtaposed with societies outside the shores of our territory.

The ultimate solution may be far-fetched when we realise that corruption is endemic in our socio-politico, economic, cultural and religious system in our society and has eaten deep into individual psyche as typical Nigerians.

This writer believes that human efforts to sanitise our society may not yield any positive result, but God’s intervention in the affairs of Nigeria. It is desiderative for every Nigerian, regardless of ethnic leaning, religious inclination and particularly those in positions of authority to have a rethink and search their inner minds in search of the city of God and not city of Man.

It is important for every Nigerian to realise that earthly struggles for wealth, power and recognition are all but vanity and vain exercise as we cannot take anything away at the event of death.

Our society will be a happier place for all if we moderate our tendency for greed and consequent corruption and be lawful in the pursuit of earthly survival.

Unless self-examination and cleansing begins with our individual selves, no campaign against corruption, crime and criminality will ever yield good results and we are bound to remain a lawless society.


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