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Ife mayhem, police and the 20 scapegoats

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If there is any aspect that the Nigeria Police can at all times be rated high, their ability to round up scapegoats and unjustly label them as criminals will readily come to mind.

I often wonder if scapegoatism is one of the courses taught at the police college. Or could it be that the majority of the police have learnt by rote Leviticus 16: 8: “And Aaron shall place lots upon the two he goats ‘one lot for the Lord’ and the other lot, for Azazel’ for absolute removal.’ ” In this traditional sense, a goat will symbolically carry the ‘sins’ of the community and be cast into the desert.

In other words, the second goat will be unfairly blamed for the sins committed by the whole community and sent away to perish. Since then, the word ‘scapegoat’ has evolved to indicate someone who is blamed and punished for the sins of others.

To say the police are not genuine with most of their arrests will be uncharitable and amount to giving a dog a bad name to rationalise hanging it. But some of the arrests are also subject to doubt.

There have been cases where the police parade scapegoats to cover their deficiencies just to please authorities that they are actually working. A friend was once made a scapegoat by the police and his family was milked dry as they had to part with huge sums of money before the toga of an armed robber he was falsely dressed in was removed.

This was not a case of mistaken identify. It was well rehearsed by the police before they acted the script. The friend was one of those arrested at a wrong place at a wrong time.

The police had arrived at the scene of a robbery long after the robbers had left and to impress their bosses that they were on top of the situation, that boring cliché that means the exact opposite, innocent men were rounded up and some guns were brought from only God knew where as those seized from the innocent men turned robbers.

A painstaking investigation would have separated the wheat from the chaff. Perhaps there are so many men still languishing in jails for offences they knew nothing about. I am somewhat ambivalent whenever the police parade suspects after my friend’s horrific experience.

His experience was what resonated in my mind on Monday when the police in Abuja paraded some suspects who allegedly took part in the Ile-Ife mayhem when some indigenes of the town and members of the Hausa community were up in arm against each other.

The bestiality and savagery took the lives of at least 46 people with many more injured and properties estimated at millions of naira were lost to the avoidable carnage.

That the parade of the suspects has generated tension and wide condemnation is obvious but whether the police weighed the likely consequences of their lopsided arrest is what I cannot tell. If the crisis, which brought to the fore the sad memory of the intractable war between Ife and Modakeke was actually between the Yoruba and the Hausa, it is quirk of fate that only the Yoruba were paraded as the suspects.

The police had already concluded that the Yoruba were the aggressors while the Hausa were the victims. As far as the police are concerned, while the belligerent Yoruba stoke up the fire, the Hausa did not raise a finger during the mayhem and were as meek as lambs. Let me even agree that the police assumption is right. But part of their investigation should tell us who burnt the houses of the indigenes.

Were the 46 people that died from the crisis from the Hausa community? How true is it that a vulcaniser, an indigene of Ife, was beheaded and this was what heightened the free-for-all? How true is it that two of the victims were burnt alive? Although there are different versions of how the hostility started, all versions traced the genesis to a Yoruba woman and a Hausa man.

If the woman was among those paraded by the police, did the man grow wings and fly away from the community before he could be arrested? At a time when all the ethnic groups now sing songs of evil and hate just because of political differences, the obvious partisanship of the police in a sensitive matter like this can only deepen the existing deep animosity and mutual suspicion among us as a people.

Nigerians are now more clannish than before and the social media has provided the platform for people to spread hate, lies and deceits. Our violent desires and vicious circle of carnages are now easily predictable more than before.

How come the police have not used the same alacrity with which they arrested the suspects of the Ife mayhem to find the killers of Bridget Agbahime, the 74-yearold Igbo woman that was killed by some blood-thirsty individuals at Kofar Wambai Market, Kano,who unjustly accused her of blasphemy since June last year?

The best the Kano State government did was to arraign some suspects who were soon left off the hook because they were “innocent.” Perhaps she was killed by ghosts and we have been asked to go home, fold our arms and wait for the next vicious circle.

The perennial killings by suspected herdsmen seem not to be within the purview of the police and they appear helpless when it comes to arresting the killers.

The pernicious lies we have been fed with is that the killer men are from hell and we should continue to live with their atrocities and bear the brunt of government’s inefficiency to arrest and bring them to book. If the suspects actually committed the crime in Ife, why were they hurriedly moved to Abuja?

Whose interest is the police serving by this lopsided arrest? Even if they now hurriedly arrest some Hausa suspects, can we trust such as genuine or an after-thought meant to placate those who are aggrieved by the show of shame and obvious bias of the police? Can we trust the police with diligent prosecution when their first step towards resolving the issue is obviously faulty?

It is important that all parties involved in the avoidable incident should be adequately punished within the ambit of the law and the message should be clear that savagery and lack of respect for the sanctity of human lives are too grievous to be treated with kid gloves.

The lopsided arrests have dented the image of the police and have exposed them to criticisms that are difficult to fault. This could have far reaching consequences.

It is not too late for the police to retrace their step for the sake of peace and unity. Failure to do this will only give credence to George Orwell’s assertion in his classical allegorical fable that “all animals are equal but some are more equal than the others.”

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Carabao Cup final: Aguero, Aubameyang in marksmen showdown

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     …De Bruyne, Ozil also go head-to-head

 

Arsenal and Man City will continue their rivalry as they battle for the Caraboa Cup on Sunday at the famous Wembley Stadium but much focus will be on the striking war between City’s Sergio Aguero and Gunners’ new recruit, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. While Aguero has been one of the most prominent players in the league owing to his awesome goal-scoring record since joining the Sky Blues in 2011, Aubameyang is seen as Arsenal messiah for goal scoring.

The Citizens’ point-man seems to be well-focused for this tie such that he decided to let go a Wigan fan over an on-pitch bust-up as the Argentine claimed the supporter spat at, tried to punch and verbally abused him in the shock loss to Wigan at the DW Stadium on Monday.

Since joining from Borrusuia Dortmund just before the close of the January transfer window, Gunners faithful have found a new wave of optimism that their search for a pointman in the mold of club legend Thierry Henry is over.

The Gabonese striker showed Arsenal fans and a glimpse of what he would be bringing to the table as he scored a brilliant goal in the 5-1 whitewash of Everton some few weeks ago; although he was slightly offside from the move.

He was to be at the receiving end of a poor call exactly a week later when his goal against Tottenham was ruled offside but the replay showed he was level with the Spurs’ last defender. In recent time, Arsenal, to some extent, have been masters of Cup football as they defeated Man City and Chelsea on their way to winning of the FA Cup last season.

The win over Chelsea, whom they also defeated to win the Community Shield, was their third success in four years in the FA Cup and they will be eager to keep up their good record of late at Wembley. Another head-to-head war is expected in the midfield between Kevin De Bruyne and Mezut Ozil.

De Bruyne has been one of the most prominent players for Pep Guardiola’s team this season and the Belgian’s relentless consistency has seen him in the running for the player of the season. Apart from scoring vital goals, he also has the vision to set up the likes of Aguero and Raheem Sterling and his one-touch football is second to none.

Ozil, on his part can, also initiate moves that could break the resistance of the expensively-assembled City rear guard. And with assist specialist Henrikh Mkhitaryan roving in the midfield, if the German find his right element, his supplies to the likes of AUbameyang and Danny Welbeck may see Arsenal enjoying another bragging right of another cup success in England.

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If in doubt, please quit!

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A major trust of news reporting in journalism is: “if in doubt, leave out or drop the story.” In my days as a News Editor, whenever a reporter couldn’t substantiate his facts, I will drop the news item. It is a norm that conforms to the best professional practices. Integrity and truth are the hallmark of media practice but with the advent of social and online media, those valued ethics seem to have been practically jettisoned. And the consequences of such professional delinquency daily stare us in the face, regrettably though.

This same ethos applies to those planning their conjugal affairs on a sandy soil of anxiety, doubt and uncertainty. If betrothed lovers are frequently experiencing rancour, threats of breakup and relating to each other with mutual suspicion and fear, they don’t need a soothsayer or a prophet to tell them that they are not compatible. Many of those in desperate mood to remain in troubled relationships are women.

Reasons adduced for their tenacity usually centre around fear of the unknown, age, social class, low selfesteem, economic factor, religious affinity and beauty among others. Some of them prefer to go into ‘trial’ marriage and fail than let go their abusive partner.

The reckless decision they often make is to blindly walk down the aisle with partners they can’t have peace and desired happy matrimony with. A 31-year-old woman would not let go off her fiancé of two years despite her frustration and constant abuse in the relationship.

Twice she had called it quit but she reconciled on both occasions without her boyfriend showing any sign of remorse. Devising a way to end regular disputes, she moved into his apartment unannounced thinking perhaps they would understand themselves better by living together. Her boyfriend’s response was to bring another woman home for the weekend. Yet, she stayed on, weeping, begging for his love. They eventually got married and it only lasted for nine months! She packed out with seven months pregnancy when she almost lost her life due constant battering.

A young man is currently battling with high blood pressure arising from constant cases of cheating, insults, threats to quit the relationship and coping with hardline rules of his fiancée. His reason for hanging on with this woman is her beauty. He said he would rather learn to endure than let her go.

“All my friends envy me because of her beauty,” he said. More than thrice, he had caught her pant down with other men. She cheats a lot. She insults him at will and set rules for him as condition to remain in the relationship. As you read this article, they are planning to wed in a couple of months’ time. Should we then ascribe these kinds of relationship to genuine love?

If yes, then, love is truly blind! It shows love can blindfold lovers when they are engrossed in it. In most cases, the love charm usually have a vice-hold on one of the partners. When blinded in love, they usually act blighted. Consequently, the traits of such desperate, confused and helpless partners are to:

• Defend weaknesses, character flaws that would eventually shred the union.

• Get fixated and unreasonably enslaved to their partners by trying to please, satisfy, compromise and sacrifice to tag along; forgetting that once they beg or manage to go into marriage, they need to keep begging and managing to remain married for the rest of their life.

• They are afraid of the unknown. Attitudes they won’t tolerate ordinarily or naturally would become their choice just to remain in relationship.

• They accommodate those things to feel “fulfilled” among their peers even when eventual failure looms large in the horizon.

• They often ignore every counsel that is not in tandem with their sentiments, interests and expectations.

• They often learn their lessons at a time the situation is beyond remedy. They calmly live with the scars because it was their choice. There are three levels of marriage:

• Marriage contracted in fear – desperation, low self-esteem, age consideration and social class

• Marriage contracted in reluctance – family and peers pressure, abstract considerations, marrying partners not wholly convinced or satisfied with many things about.

• Marriage contracted in wilful decision – marrying one’s dream partners, desired choice, best friend, feeling satisfied, fulfilled and complementary to her life. It is advisable and wiser to avert awaited marital failure by quitting troubled relationships. As it is often said, “A broken relationship is better than a broken marriage.”

Some are currently regretting their decisions in marriage because of the choices they made. While many of them have tried frantically to make their marriages work; but alas, they couldn’t get it right not due to their own faults, but because they paired with wrong partners.

There are those who might feel heeding a counsel that is against their wish is obviously denying them the right of choice in their personal affairs. I wish to submit that counsel is not a law. There’s no compulsion in it. Counsel is a piece of advice steeped in rich experience and knowledge. My sincere prayer is that may the song: “Had I Known” not be your anthem at last. Amen.

 

Send your responses/private issues to: mikeawe@yahoo.co.uk or 08035304268 (SMS/WhatsApp)

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Columnists

Health benefits of cucumber (3)

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Cucumber is a creeping vine that roots in the ground and grows up trailing or other supporting frames, wrapping around supports with thin, spiraling tendrils. The plant has large leaves that form a canopy over the fruit. Face Mask: For oily skin – grate 1/2 cucumber into a bowl and add one tablespoon of honey.

Apply to the T-Zone, which is the forehead, nose and chin. To reduce pores and tighten skin – apply the mixture all over the face including under the eyes and eyelids. Leave on for 15 minutes and rinse with warm water, Pat dry with a clean towel.

 

Fighting cancers: Cucumber is known to contain lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol which are linked to a reduced risk of several types of cancer. Controlling blood pressure: Cucumber juice contains a lot of potassium, magnesium, fiber, and phytonutrients that work effectively for regulating blood pressure.

 

Aiding digestion: Their high water and dietary fiber are very effective in driving away the toxins from the digestive system. Daily consumption of cucumbers can be regarded as a remedy for chronic constipation. Relieving gout and arthritis pain: Cucumbers are rich in vitamin A, B1, B6, C & D, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium.

 

When mixed with carrot juice, they can relieve gout and arthritis pain by lowering uric acid levels. Cucumbers also contain a substance needed by the cells of the pancreas for producing insulin. Researchers have found that sterols in cucumbers help reduce cholesterol levels. It is one of the very low calorie vegetables. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol.

 

Cucumber peel is a good source of dietary fiber that helps reduce constipation, and offers some protection against colon cancers by eliminating toxic compounds from the gut. It is a very good source of  potassium, an important intracellular electrolyte.

 

Potassium is a heart friendly electrolyte that helps bring a reduction in total blood pressure and heart rates by countering effects of sodium. Cucumbers contain unique antioxidants in moderate ratios such as ß-carotene and a- carotene, Vitamin- C, vitamin-A, zea-xanthin and lutein.

 

These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes. Cucumbers have mild diuretic property, which perhaps attributed to their free-water, and potassium and low sodium content.

 

This helps in checking weight gain and high blood pressure. Ongoing research indicates that Cucumbers play a key role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in their brain.

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