Last Saturday, the 19th of March 2016, anyone travelling along Aba-Ikot Ekpene Road early in the morning until around noon, would have witnessed this bizarre sight gross abuse of power.
At Ikot Umoh Essien, the border-land between Akwa Ibom and Abia states, soldiers stopped buses and ordered the all the passengers in those buses who were young men, to come down and cut grasses.
That place is their post and was overgrown with weeds. Rather than pay legitimate workers or even the young men of the community to cut the grass, they resorted to this abuse of authority and free labour from Nigerian citizens who were on their way to various destinations.
The passengers of the buses whose young men refuse to do this manual labour, we’re fined hundred naira each for culasses, before they were allowed to continue on their journey.
This is one of the reasons why Nigerian soldiers are feared but not respected. This kind of soldiers are worse than touts. Last month, a video went viral of female and male cadets at the Defence Academy beating up a young man because he dared to tell on of the female cadets that she was pretty. Just imagine!
As we clamour for change, it is my hope that the Army will be one of the sectors that gets a thorough purging. From bullying fellow drivers off the roads when in their noisy convoys to beating innocent citizens, asking them to do from jumps and threatening to shoot them, we say enough is enough.