On one Wednesday, November 1, which is All Saints day, yours truly decided to attend Mass.
There’s a Catholic church close to the office, so off I went.
Outside the office, across the road I saw a fully grown man dressed only in his birthday suit. I quickly crossed back to the other side of the road, and kept one eye on him. I thought he was mentally ill. I had never seen any mentally ill person around Lekki Phase 1 but you see, there is always a first time for everything- this is Lagos after all.
A short distance away, there was a small kiosk where people were gathered. I usually buy stuff from the owner of the kiosk, so I stopped to ask them if they knew the naked man and why was he just standing there, looking at his feet.
They too were surprised to see the man there. He didn’t particularly look like he was mentally ill. I went to mass, but my mind remained on the naked guy. By the time I returned from Church he was gone.
Next day I asked one of the people I saw standing outside the kiosk if they finally identified the naked man, or who carried him away and I heard the most annoying news. The man wasn’t mentally ill, he stole something, got caught and the owner of what he stole decided it was a good idea to strip a grown man naked as punishment.
Brethren, guess what this man stole? Dustbin. Plastic dustbin!
You hear stories like this so often your mind becomes numb to them. But how can somebody with a beating heart strip a man naked because he stole dustbin? What is wrong with you people in this Lagos? The person that told me the gist cheerfully added that at least they didn’t beat the man, they ONLY stripped him naked.
When we hear stories like this, of people beaten or stripped naked in markets we assume it’s because most of the population in markets do not know better. When ALUU 4 happened, it was brushed with the paint of the villagers being highly illiterate. How does lack of formal education stop a human being from having compassion and empathy for another person?
If someone steals dustbin what does it tell you about their financial situation? If you really want him punished for stealing your bloody dustbin why not get the police to arrest him? We know our Police can sometimes be useless but at least he’ll suffer a bit for stealing your stupid dustbin.
All the money people stole for cutting weed from IDPs camp, pension funds, oil revenue money, how many of them have you gone to protest that they must be arrested? After everything the Nigerian government stole from us, how many times have we ever protested that these thieves be brought to justice? Oh, you are scared? They have more power than you so you can only grumble in your homes? But you see a hungry person stealing dustbin and you order your security men to strip him naked as punishment?
You live in a fine gated house in Lekki, drive a fancy car, but because a man stole your dustbin you dehumanize him, break his spirit, let him stand naked under the full glare of the sun because he stole your dustbin!
Remember that one day, the poor will have nothing left to eat but the rich.