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THURSDAYRAPAROUND: Sparing A Thought For Citizen Bamise




By Michael Ayotunde

These, indeed, are frightening times for Nigerians.

The reported kidnap and brutal murder of the young, promising lady Oluwabamise Ayanwole while on a trip between Chevron Bus-stop in Lekki, heading toward Oshodi on the mainland, has left an unbearable sour taste on the lips of many people.
It is one death too many.

In fact, there have been anxiety and anger over the development, with most people calling for thorough investigation to unravel those behind the dastardly act; and not just that, they must be made to face the music.

The 22-year-old Bamise, until the sad occurrence never had premonition of any evil lucking around even after she boarded the said BRT bus alone from Chevron Bus-stop. But soon after the bus took off, her instinct suspected strange scenario – which necessitated her sending distress messages to alert her friend of the precarious situation she found herself. But when Mr. Nice Andrew, the accused BRT driver who choose to betray the true meaning of his name, opted to pick supposed passengers – this time about three other ‘passengers’, Bamise may have heaved a sigh of relief that “thank God other people are joining the bus”. But alas, she was wrong.

Before anyone could say jack, one thing led to another and today, here we are lamenting bitterly over our collective failure to save Citizen Bamise’s soul from the jaw of ravaging beasts in human form.

Sadly her lifeless body was found lying on the Carter Bridge, by Ogogoro Community in Lagos Island, accordingly, on March 7, close to 72 hours after she had let out intelligence regarding the danger she was in.

This ultimately raised serious questions about the preparedness and or capacity of the government, security agencies to really cope with challenges that come with societal growth. Needless to say the Lagos State Government has been busy shouting smart city to high heaven and to whoever cares to listen.

Is Smart City only about political statements and promises? Are there not supposed to be corresponding smart moves, smart plans and other strategies to make it work? Analysts have argued that if the security agencies were to be alive to their responsibility, who knows, Bamise could have been rescued alive and at that, avoid this senseless and inhuman shedding of innocent blood on the altar of desperation.

The unfortunate case of Bamise is nothing but a clear reflection of institutional failings in modern history. Obviously, our system failed her. The very people she communicated with may have failed to immediately relay the distress calls, messages to appropriate authorities for immediate response. This also may not be unconnected to the no-love-lust between the people and the Police. There is deep gulf between the people and the Police force and sadly, this gulf keeps widening on daily basis – the police are helpless on how to bridge the gap – through campaigns, sensitization programmes and a genuine total reforms to truly win over the trust of the people. A peep into the immediate past – that is, the EndSars palaver is a sad reminder of the frosty relationship between the police force and the people. No doubt, there have to be deliberate moves to correct perceived imbalance so that our society can be made safe and secure for all.

Also, during emergency or when distress calls are activated, are service providers not supposed to be aware so as to help trigger necessary alert to avert any potential threat?

Too bad that this is happening at a very time the country is yet to get over similar occurrences such as – the late Timothy Adegoke, the Obafemi Awolowo University Master’s student who died mysteriously at Hilton Hotel in Ile-Ife; that of 20-year-old lady, Sofiat Kehinde who was gruesomely murdered for ritual in Ogun State early this year; the story of couple ritualists who conspired to kill their friend for ritual purposes among several others.

The big question is – what is our dear nation turning into? A nation where human life is worthless? The value placed on human life in Nigeria has practically depreciated. Hardly will a day pass by without a soul being dropped dead either by ritualists, kidnappers, bandits, terrorists, herders or politically-motivated killings.
There is need for an end to all these anomalies.

Our society is in dire need of security. The people must feel safe wherever they found themselves.

Government must put an end to senseless killings, carnages and bloodshed.

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