Opinion

Cheta Nwanze: Training The choir

Here’s a story that I have to tell to you
You may not believe it but I swear it’s true
I was once picked up by the men-in-black
For driving my Daddy’s car into a bike
They took me to their church at Ugbowo Police Station
When we arrived, I saw the choir all lined up
The choirmaster had a stern face, deep voice and calloused hands
I was given a quick induction and asked to join the choir
I protested that I do not really have a good singing voice
A tender touch to my left cheek from the choirmaster’s calloused hands
And I was very willing to take whatever singing role he had assigned me for.

Sadly the men-in-black choir is still very much in operation. This mentality of making people sing hymns extends from the men-in-black, to the guys under the pot as well. This was revealed to us by Saidi Adewunmi, yesterday, at the High Court, sitting in Abuja. “There were intimidation, coercion and use of electric baton by the SSS officials during interrogation,” Adewunmi moaned while recounting how he was made to take a soprano role in front of the choir.

But Mr. Adewunmi is not the only person who is at the receiving end of archaic policing methods. If you’ve ever read Alex Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago, you’d realise that back in Stalinist times, a sure-fire method of the “Organs” getting their man (or woman), was to pick members of their man’s (or woman’s) family. Thus it was that a month after raping a girl and fleeing, in Abeokuta, Tosin Ojo’s mother and two of his brothers have been inducted into the Ogun State Choir.

So that’s it, it is now confirmed that our security services are firmly stuck in a bygone era. But every once in a while, we must applaud them for a job well done. Such as averting a potential massacre in Kano yesterday. Well done boys.

Bits and Bobs

  • Some badly behaved men-in-black cost the force some bar yesterday. Lagos Wig, Okon Abang gave Samson Adeotan, Oluwole Owolabi and Oluwasegun Ogundare, who’d been inducted into choir over a small money matter, the princely sum of N2 millions to share.
  • Speaking of princely sums, an unidentified shop owner at Daleko Market in Mushin failed to trust the banks with her N5 millions and instead trusted Ani, the earth goddess. Following a visit by Shango, the god of fire and thunder, well, Ani has withheld the dough.
  • But Ani and Shango aren’t the only ones having a lovers’ tiff. Angela Omieh who moonlighted as a soldier got involved in one with man-friend Collins Jegede. Somewhere along the line, Jegede apparently met a prettier lady, but couldn’t shake Omieh off. So he outed her to, err, the men-in-black. She’s probably learning the 323rd verse of the National Anthem as we speak.

Cheta Nwanze writes from Lagos

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