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There is always a striking fear of anything-can-go-wrong, when one sights a military personnel in his uniform. In Nigeria, a soldier on the street is given utmost respect. There are stories of how a man was brutally beaten and lost his hearing because of a slap given him by an armed official to reset his brain. Without flopping, everyone seems to adjust their rowdy behavior when these officials are involved. There is a narrative about two street urchins who were entangled in a fight but immediately took to hugging each other at the approach of an army officer. Yet, the officer had to make sure there was rerun of the bout but this time with his ‘koboko’ in the mix. Not forgotten is the issue of power tussle among several bodies. The Navy, Air force, Police, and Army are involved in an everyday supremacy struggle. Newspaper reports have compiled about such inter-agency rivalry. Men of the Nigerian Navy engaging in a street fight at Ojuelegba, Lagos with operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad(SARS); a clash between Nigerian Army Officials and Police officers who attempted to stop the soldiers from using Obanikoro road, to mention a few. Of course, when two elephants fight, the grass suffers. The civilians are the most affected in this tug of wars. A sequel to this is the ever waging war on civilians who flaunt army camouflage around. Chai! You pray not to get caught dead wearing an army camouflage. Based on principles, Nigerian mothers have started burning or destroying such clothing, when they find it in their child’s possession. Understandably, a section of the Nigeria Constitution makes it illegal to wear look-alike army uniforms, but our Ogas  have a way of showing who’s in charge. Let’s not get started on our Nigerian Police and their paranoia that everyone with a laptop bag is a yahoo yahoo( internet fraudster). However, the course of this essay is not to get us heated about our armed forces but to remind us of that a rotten banana doesn’t necessarily ruin the entire bunch. Just as each one of us have good or bad traits, they also have theirs. It was revealing being in a danfo this morning with an Army officer. He had a stern look, yet he told floor rolling and mouth opening jokes. When the vehicle developed a fault, he got down with the rest of the passengers to do the recommended push to drive. His personality was not hidden by the pompousness familiar with the majority. He discouraged an NURTW ticket operative from impeding our journey with just a wave of his hand. This officer, I am sure never to cross paths with again, convinced me and many other passengers, the reason we all have not lost faith in the uniform. Many of them are still honorable.

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This article was first published on 18th July 2017 and updated on December 30th, 2017 at 1:05 pm


Adepeju Adenuga is a writer (considering where you are reading this, makes perfect sense). She holds a Masters Degree in Literature in English from the University of Lagos.

Comments (2)

2 thoughts on “Beyond The Uniform: Armed Official and the Society”

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  • Nice! thank you so much! Thank you for sharing. Your blog posts are more interesting and informative. I think there are many people like and visit it regularly, including me.
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