“Just how low would the People of the City descend into the valley of moral decadence? Are we marching forward, away from the jungle days or moving backwards, going far back into the jungle that the ancients endured? Every day you hear or witness killings, open, naked killings right in front of you by insane suicide bombers who hoped to enjoy a definitely perverse version of paradise through the slaughtering of their fellow human beings. Every hour, news of kidnapping or armed robbery fly past, or you hear of mind-boggling looting of the treasury by those entrusted to take care of it. Human beings mete out untold hardship to their fellow human beings and smile away in jeeps, damning the consequences, communities committing terrible acts against other communities and even among themselves. Just what is really happening?”
The mind of Angaladikibo, the Watcher of the Mangroves, ran tumultuous as he waited patiently in the Parliamentary Hall of the People of the Waterfronts for the appointed time to begin deliberations. He could not even enjoy his favourite pastime of gazing at the Mangroves. It gives him great pleasure whenever he gazes at the Mangroves and the Mangroves always open up to him. They show him the wonders of the earth and reveal deep truths to him. Yet, despite the joy he derives from gazing at the Mangroves, he could not pay any attention to them as he pondered at the terrible things humans could do to their kith and kin.
The Mangroves understood. Four young undergraduates of the University of Port Harcourt, all in their twenties, were murdered in such a manner that human beings are supposed to revolt if goats were killed in that way. Four young vibrant, brilliant, enterprising men tortured terribly and burnt alive after being stripped naked. It was like a fairy tale. But for the pictures and video recordings of the dastardly act, no one would have believed it happened. The four boys were stripped naked, tortured to stupor, brought near a dust heap, the leader of the hoodlums braking their heads with a log. Petrol was poured on them, tyre put round their necks and then lighted. They died wriggling from one corner to the other in Umuokiri community in Aluu, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, with spectators watching the gory spectacle with glee. No chief came out. No responsible indigene of the community came out. Police said to have arrived there, allegedly retreated only for the security agencies to swamp on the neighbourhood after the event that took hours to complete, arresting people indiscriminately. We have returned to the ancient jungle days and everyone has to cater for himself or herself.
The bestiality was so gruesome that if you are a believer in reincarnation, a divine fact, you will take it that the hoodlums that committed the act just reincarnated from the animal kingdom to human beings and so had much of the jungle characteristics still in them. Only beasts would treat their kind in that manner. Aluu is not the socalled watersides the government accused of harbouring criminals and so must be demolished. No chief, no prominent person intervened. They were only quick to state that no vigilance group was established in the community as people allege that the action was taken by a vigilance group. If it is true that such group was not formed then it means some people in that community are capable of doing worse than acts attributed to vigilance groups. The whole world has seen the video and would think Nigerian is a jungle. It is beholden on the Chief Security Officer of the state to ensure that those who carried out the bestial act are apprehended. That is the only way to clear the blur on the state.
Angaladikibo, the Watcher of the Mangroves, wondered if a nation that conducts credible elections would have descended into this dismal abyss, rife with corruption that has engendered disoriented citizenry, turning the youths to murderers. Where elections are free and fair, every leader ensures peace and progress in his area of jurisdiction so as to be re-elected. However, in the case of the People of the City, such is not the case. Votes hardly count during elections irrespective of the performance of those elected. The rest of the citizens just look on like morons, just like the way the sadistic on-lookers watched the devil work on the four undergraduates, helpless. The citizenry has been pulverized into submission as even law enforcement agents paid with their hard earned money, leave them to their fate in this era of jungle justice. The fault, as the wise man stated, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, for failing to take our destiny into our hands. The civilized world would simply jeer at us and we will move on without regular power supply, dilapidated roads, high cost of living, unemployment, insecurity and several ailments ruling our lives.
The abrupt standing up of the Oldman of the Waterfronts ended the troubling thoughts of Angaladikibo, the Watcher of the Mangroves. The appointed time has come. The Oldman of the Waterfronts stretched his left hand and picked up the bottle of the local white brew, while his right hand picked up the little glass cup, permanent companion of the bottle of the local white brew. He filled it, stepped forward, looked up to the roof and began his call to the ancestors as if they hung on the roof.
“Odumodu, he who dwells at the domain between the Land and the Sea, great ancestor of the People of the Waterfronts, we greet you. Take, drink and see us through the evil machinations of the People of the City. It is a known fact that if a hunter does not seek for the wisdom of the gods first, he would not be able to hunt wild animals. The People of the City have ventured into a terrain they are unfamiliar with without consultation and destruction awaits them at their doorstep. If a man decides to flyover a barrier instead of jumping over it, then he must first of all develop feathers. Take, drink, Odumodu and tell the People of the City that nature obeys a natural order and any neglect of it leads to damnation.
“Odumodu, we do not know if Noah, the ancient man of the scriptures, wants to come back. We do not know if it is the cause of the devastation of flood everywhere. Please tell him to hold on, we are yet to set our democracy right and need more time. We do not want to start afresh again when we have not mastered it. What is this thing about flood everywhere? Bayelsa state is sinking, Edo State is being submerged, Lagos had got its share followed by Ibadan where people float even in their own rooms. As if that is not enough, even the northern Nigerian, a place thought to be an exclusive reserve for deserts, now compete with riverine areas as flood, ravaged Kogi, Adamawa, Kano and other northern states. Take, drink and tell Noah to take his Ark somewhere. We are content with our canoes.
“Odumodu, he who makes his presence felt at every promontory to the People of the Waterfronts, where were the security people while killers moved from door to door massacring students of Federal Polytechnic, Mubi, Adamawa state? At least the north is known as a Boko Haram prone area. How come several gunshots were fired and yet no security agency heard it until 40 students were killed? Is the school situated in the forest? Why is it that security agents could not be punished when such incidents happen in their area of jurisdiction? Now the Chief of Defence Staff and others have just been decorated. They have been charged to secure our territorial waters and stop crude oil theft, yet if the evil act continues, they would only be disbanded and not punished. Why? This is even as the Chief of Defence Staff has promised to live up to his duties
“Otumo-Ogugu, Favourite of the Maidens, take drink and join your co-ancestor to restore sanity.
“Osokolo, another Favourite of the Maidens, join them and ensure peace.”
The Oldman refilled the little glass cup, swallowed all and allowed the bottle of the local white brew and the little glass cup to go round. They took a glassful each and the Parliamentary session began. ###
By Kenneth Amabipi
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