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By Emmanuel Onwubiko
“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on” – Winston Churchill
My late Dad Mazi Okorieocha Osonduagwuike Onwubiko whose Roman Catholic’s baptismal name almost got lost in transmission is Cyprian(I’m not too sure of which of the Saint Cyprians), once told me something.
He, Mazi Osonduagwuike Onwubiko indeed told me many things which I had promised myself to put them methodically into writing as a book someday soon.
But for the purposes of this piece this is one correlating issue he made known to me long before he transited to the Great World Beyond to commune with Our Divine Creator- the Uncreated Creator.
First, I admit that my Dad is comfortably a native Philosopher going by his abundance of wisdom. Mind you Socrates, Plato, Aristotle were never credited to going to any Havard University. Indeed there was even no Havard University then. They went through the University of Native Wisdom basically plus some tutelage here and there.
My Dad said to me when I made a threat before him and my Mum to commit suicide with a sharp kitchen knife that I wielded (pretentiously, I must now confessed) before them, if my Dad refuses to append his signature to my admission reference forms into the Roman Catholic Senior Seminary to be trained to be ordained Riman Catholic Priest under a religious order known as the Claretians Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary located then as it were in the sprawling community near Owerri the Imo State’s Capital city known as Nekede.
My father said to me, I don’t want you to carry out your threat because I know that you may if I don’t do what you are asking for. So I will sign the forms consenting to your opting to go to the Seminary.
He the said to me: “But mark it somewhere, you won’t make it into the Catholic Priesthood and you will walk out of that place for just one reason -: your passion and genuine love for Children”.
My Dad Mazi Osonduagwuike Onwubiko told me that I can’t accept to become a celibate and thereby being denied of the opportunity of having my own biological Children. My Dad is very good at listening and watching and does Limited talking unless he must. So he has already built a great encyclopedia of the tendencies of each of his 8 surviving Children out of the one dozen that my Mother Caroline Adaudensi Gladys Onwubiko delivered by the special benevolence of God the Father.
Five years after this prophesy, I walked right away from the Senior Seminary right back to my Dad’s home in Kafanchan, Kaduna State and luckily, I was welcomed back with enthusiasm. The rest is history.
So the wellbeing of Children is my passion which made me to feel so sad on seeing the page 1 cover photo of The Guardian Newspaper today May 18th 2022 showing lucky nursery school pupils who had just survived what clearly seem to be a heavy and very devastating coordinated bombing campaign.
These children in their tens were soaked in their blood from shrapnel that may have been unleashed by the powerful waves of the effects of the explosions that brought down a storey building which the kids had been using for their schooling purposes.
I was even the more psychologically shocked by the fact that the Nigeria Police has continued to remained perpetually unprofessional in their conducts to such a criminal extent that the Kano State Police Command bombed Nigerians with bombastic lie that what caused the extensive damages and caused the death of over a dozen kids was a gas cylinder whereas eye witnesses including a Physicist said they saw a suicide bomber who detonated explosives that brought down the building and leaving devastation in its wake. The Kano State government said the explosion wasn’t targeting the children. But I asked why were these school children soaked in their blood? Is there no fear of God amongst officials of the KanobSrate government just like there is none amongst the perpetually lying Nigeria Police Force or is farce?
I will return to this lying Kano State Police Command but of course the Nigeria Police is about the most pathetic public liars for a very long period of time. Police lie in the morning, they lie in the high noon, they lie even at night time. Such a pathetic lot!
But to tell barefaced lie that what a lot of People saw to be bomb explosion is now been belittled to look like gas explosion even before any sort of scientific, forensic, evidence -based and concrete policing investigations are carried out by the law enforcement authorities, shows that the characters in the police of Nigeria in the contemporary epochs are really not sophisticated but cheap liars.
The police lied because the place where these bombs were detonated houses majority of Igbo speaking people.
Only 24 hours ago, the discredited Northern ELDERS Forum had purportedly ‘expelled’ Igbos out of the Northern Nigeria in brazen act of verbal terrorism which President Muhammadu Buhari simply dismissed as arrogance whereas it is a show of criminality because that was both a hate speech which has now resulted in a hate crime of suicide bombings of Igbo children who were innocently learning.
But here is the So called Nigeria Police force lying through their teeth even before they had investigated what led to such a powerful explosion that left devastating impacts similar to the earthquake the type that occurs in Japan.
As someone with a deep passion and love of Children, I will narrate another story to establish how a government institution should treat children who are some of the most vulnerable groups on this planet.
This story is what I read exactly as the bomb exploded in Kano and lo and behold, innocent children of Igbo race in far away Kano were the target and you have the Kano State Police Command churning out lies. Lies that are as provocative as they are criminal.
The story is from a British tabloid published on Tuesday May 17th 2022 and has the byline of someone with just a name Mamoud.
The story is about how a Dad (Black African distressed Father) seeking asylum thinks and cares for his biological kids in far away Sierra Leone from his asylum detention camp in Great Britain. I will tell the entire story as narrated by the reporter. The African Asylum seekers in GB said: “For me, going hungry brings me some comfort.
I know that the money that should pay for my food in the UK has paid for my family’s food back in my home country of Sierra Leone. Because of my small sacrifice, my little son will not go to bed with an empty stomach, and that brings me some solace.
I am an asylum seeker and as such, I must live on just £5.84 a day support from the Government. But I am also a father and a husband – my family depends on me financially.
So I try to manage my £5.84 a day as carefully as I can. I have to meet my basic needs and support my wife and child at the same time. But it’s impossible. It’s why I often starve.”
The asylum seeking man from Africa said further: “If I could just work while my application is being processed, everyone would benefit.
In Sierra Leone, I was a civil servant, a political party executive and a campaigner. I worked for one of the government organisations in the capital city, Freetown, and supported young people.
I campaigned for union workers and labour rights in my country and worked with human rights organisations to tackle gender-based violence. I loved my job, and working with and advocating for people was the best part. I was independent, successful and had a purpose.”
Speaking again he said: “My wife and I met when I was studying at university. We got married shortly after my graduation and then we were blessed with our son. I lived a decent life.
But it was turned upside down when I got into trouble with the authorities. I had to flee from my hometown, be separated from my wife and only child and left Sierra Leone in fear of my life.
It was frightening, but my aim is to be reunited with them as soon as I get my status. Nevertheless, I was worried sick. I didn’t know what would happen to them in my absence and that was all I could think of.
When I cash my allowance, I buy groceries, cook a big meal, and eat it gradually through the rest of the week
I claimed asylum in the UK in March 2020, after flying here, and to this date, I am still waiting for the Home Office to determine my case. I live in limbo, not knowing when it will end, and with no permission to get a job.”
He said too: “When I was put into temporary accommodation, I initially received food but no financial support so could not help my family. For every meal I had that was provided for me, I felt so much pain in my heart because I was not providing for them.
As soon as I started receiving an allowance, I knew I was going to send it back to provide for my family.
I will give up everything I have to protect them from hardship. But now the rise in the cost of living is turning things from bad to worse. More expensive food has severely hit asylum seekers like me, while the weekly allowance has stayed the same.
It has never been easy. I can afford to eat one meal a day. When I cash my allowance, I buy groceries, cook a big meal, and eat it gradually through the rest of the week. It doesn’t leave money for anything else, like topping up my mobile.
Unfortunately, what we used to buy with a pound now costs triple that. Given the current situation, I have to prioritise what I eat or I won’t be able to support my family. I have had to cut down many things. I used to buy fresh vegetables and bananas but, now, I only eat plain rice.
It is tough to manage expenses. I used to spend £10 on my weekly grocery shop and save the rest for my wife and my son. Now, if I stick to £10 per week for my shopping, there are far fewer items in my basket. The last time I went to the supermarket, I spent £20 in return for fewer items.
This could all be solved if the Government would let me get a job. If I was allowed to work, not only would I have the opportunity to provide for my family and myself but also contribute to society instead of living on an allowance. My living experience of hardship is invaluable; merging with my professional experience, I could add value to this country if I had permission to work.”
The Sierra Leone Distressed Father concluded thus: “I have so much to offer. I can work for charities and NGOs in different capacities, such as an advocacy officer and policy analyst. I used to have a proper job with an adequate income to meet my needs without anyone’s help. I have never looked for free stuff or help from others. I don’t know when a decision on my asylum claim will be processed but I hope it’s as soon as possible because I need to be reunited with my family
The ban on work has an immense negative impact on our mental health, as well as keeping us in poverty. I suffer from severe depression and anxiety. For someone like me, who was an active member of society and had a job and a professional life, it is unbearable to be forced into unemployment and isolation. I feel I am losing my touch on everything. I feel useless and cut off from society. It feels like I am in a massive cage. It’s pure mental torture. I miss bonding with my wife. I miss spending time with my son. I have missed precious moments – like his first words or his first steps – of him growing up. I left a big part of me behind with my family. I’m no longer a whole, as a person, as a human being. I dream of being reunited with them. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I’ve forgotten where I am – in Northeast England. I think, ‘I must go to work’ and have a schedule, but then reality hits. One of my hobbies was reading books, but I can hardly concentrate on the words I read nowadays. I don’t know when a decision on my asylum claim will be processed but I hope it’s as soon as possible because I need to be reunited with my family.I often walk the streets and see people coming back from work – the people from my age group – and that makes me more depressed and hopeless. It seems I do not exist. But thoughts of my family motivates me to move forward and not give up. If the Government permits asylum seekers to work, I can reclaim my confidence and my self-worth and can hold my head high among people once again.
Working will help me regain my self-esteem and have a purpose. It means living with dignity, a fundamental human right. And it is something to do every day to strengthen my mental health and support my recovery.And importantly, I can provide for myself and my family.”
This story touched me as a father. I love my Son NaetoChukwu Nnadozie as well as my daughter Nneoma Chisom. They are my God’s gifts. I see all Children as innocent and lovely. Children of Nigeria need to be protected from the vicissitudes and vagaries of the dangers of a geopolitical space that has become enveloped in a CLIMATE OF FEAR. The least affliction the Children of Nigeria do not need is to have Nigeria Police whose operatives lie like common cheap thieves.
This story above as narrated by this British media transported me back to the meeting I held between my Dad and my Mum following the threat I made because my Dad had initially opposed the idea of me going to the Roman Catholic Senior Seminary to become a celibate Priest because he was my Dad and he knew me inside out that I can’t be a fit and proper Roman Catholic Celibate Priest because of my passion and natural affection for Children in the most genuine form. My Dad made a good name. His aim was that I shouldn’t be a source of scandal of going to bed with girls or women if I get ordained because he knew I love Children and if you love Children as a man, the most logical thing to do is to get married and procreate lawfully.
The above poetic story is just how the Nigeria Police as an institution should view Children in Nigeria but rather Kano State Police Command lied about the wellbeing of Nigerian Children who almost got bombed out of existence by a suicide bomber.
You will see their pathetic falsehood shortly.
When I began working as a writer, I made a promise to always write about the Wellbeing of Migerian and the World’s Children. It took me 9 years of first unsuccessful marriage and another year of my second marriage to now be blessed by God with Children whom I love with all my heart.
So watching the Kano State police command make bombastic lies aided by lying Kano politicians about the successful bombing campaign carried out by a suicide bomber in Kano, the intellectual antenna inside of me said I must write this piece and must demand punishment for the Police of Kano State for this egregious crime of lying because if someone tells a police lie in the cause of reporting a crime he will be charged for obstructing justice. The Police in Kano have obstructed justice for the victims of this Kano suicide bomb blast of 24 hours ago.
The following story carried on the website of the Cable News Network from Atlanta in the USA also reflected that the Kano State Police Command lied.
Sadly, as would be seen soon, even the CNN fell into the big pot of lies cooked by the Nigeria Police force.
The CNN had reported that death toll in blast near school in Kano, Nigeria rises to nine amid allegations of a cover up.
The CNN apparently also fell into the trap of the lies of the police when it erroneously reported that four people lost their lives in a gas explosion that occurred near a school in the Sabon Gari area of Nigeria, Kano State, on Tuesday, May 17, 2022. CNN helped the police to spread their lies. Most media houses aided and abetted the lies by the Nigeria Police force which is a BOMBASTIC LIE that must have consequences.
On another breath the same CNN said: “The death toll in an explosion that rocked the city of Kano in northwest Nigeria has risen to nine, authorities say. Earlier, Kano’s Police Commissioner, Sama’ila Shu’aibu Dikko told CNN that the explosion was from a gas cylinder that went off near a school in the Sabon Gari area of Kano”.
The truth is that this remains a lie from the pit of hell. Why draw conclusions before investigations? Is policing now VOODOO PRACTICE IN NIGERIA?
“It was a gas explosion. There was a welder around the area and his gas cylinder exploded just very close to a private school… we have recovered four casualties, including the welder and a female. No child was affected,” Dikko told CNN from the scene of the blast. Mr. Police man this is a lie. You disgraced Nigeria. This is not the standard policing practice globally. This is a violation of the global best practices for a police operative to reach a conclusion before you carry out investigation.
This is like a Surgeon announcing a successful surgery even before the patient is wheeled into the theatre.
This is an incurable pathetic but typically Nigeria Police genre of lies.
I say this also because as a professional journalist that has built a career spanning over 20 years that I know that when an incident occurs, the accounts of eye witnesses are critical.
And so, eyewitnesses told the media (Arise Television) that they saw a suicide bomber set off a bomb at the scene of the blast. Unconfirmed videos of the blast circulating Tuesday on social media also show some schoolchildren in bloodied uniforms being taken away.
The eyewitness accounts of a suicide bomber have led to allegations of a cover up.
Tuesday’s blast re alled the CNN comes weeks after Nigeria’s Department of State Services (DSS) warned of a plot by criminal elements to launch bomb attacks “on critical infrastructure and other frequented public places like worship and relaxation centers” across the country.
If Nigeria is not a CONFUSION IN MOTION or better still A HORROR HOUSE OF COMMOTION, WHY DID THE POLICE NOT WAIT TO CARRY OUT THOROUGH INVESTIGATION BACKED UP BY EVIDENCE BEFORE REACHING A DETERMINATION AND BY THE WAY, DID THE DSS NOT FORETELL THIS DOOMSDAY SCENARIO THAT TURNED OUT TO TARGET IGBO CHILDREN IN THE HEARTLAND OF THE FULANIS? WHY DID THE DSS NOT PREVENT IT?
EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) and was National Commissioner of the NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF NIGERIA. HE IS A PROFESSIONAL JOURNALIST.