I was in the bank recently to make some withdrawal. There was this slightly elderly policeman (in uniform) who was just ahead of me, on the queue, who was not familiar with how to use the
FastTrack POS Terminal at GTBank. I offered to assist, as his eyesight also seemed to be failing. When I needed to punch in the amount he wanted to withdraw, I got a shocker. This guy wanted to withdraw N500. No, that’s not a typo, FIVE HUNDRED NAIRA, I paused, and asked, “what did you say’. He repeated the amount…N500! I did a double take! Iwas deliberating within myself how anybody could go and visit a bank just to withdraw N500 in this economy. Could it be that he needed that amount to complete another amount he already has, for some urgent purpose? Now, that was unlikely because it was a Friday late afternoon, and the queue would task the patience of Job! Should I just dip my hands into my purse and make his day by adding
another N500? I decided against it. I wanted to be my brother’s keeper but I was not sure of the wisdom in taking that step, there in front of everyone.

A man’s ego may just be all that is left with him, and tampering with
that could prove unwise! I have seen someone stay on a long  queue to use an ATM, and on
getting there, withdrew N2,000. Similarly, there ave been several cases of senior citizens who went through the long queue of a bank only to withdraw an  incredibly small
pittance, and carefully count the money as if their life depended on it (it probably does) . Likely surviving(?) on pension money.

In a country like Nigeria, where money is an embarrassment to some people, and we regularly see obscene display of wealth, interminable spraying of cash at parties,  is confounding how we still have people who literally scavenge to stay alive (a visit to dumpsites would reveal people who pick up scraps to survive the economic vagaries of the country)?

It is incredible that, while you have some people literally drowning in a sea of cash and affluence, you still have pervasive grinding poverty, even in highbrow areas. Like in the case of the policeman, could we say his situation is a case of mismanagement of his (financial) life? Can we say that millions of people ekeing out a living, and stared in the face, daily, by grinding poverty, all mismanaged their lives? Or, perhaps, the country has handed them  raw deals?

More importantly, we know that excruciating poverty is a common thing within the ranks of the police force. Forget the fact that Lord of them are not particularly prudent with the size.of their families and money management (skills). How do you have a policeman battling with that kind of economic situation not to be corrupt or use weapons that should protect citizens against the citizens themselves.?

If a force person (who is heavily financially challenge)  is let loose on society later on (if he is retired,  voluntary retires, or is dismissed), are we not breeding potential armed robbers that would be difficult to counter (due to their former training and their intimate past knowledge of tackling crimes and apprehending criminals?

Conclusively, it would appear that a society with our “I don’t care attitude” and a yawning chasm between the haves and the havenots would only be a fertile breeding point for criminality. This could explain the increasing occurrence of kidnap for ransom, and robberies.

Are we our brothers’ keepers? Or,  are we our brothers’ killers?

Can we collectively institute governance, and an ambience  that would assure us of a more economically prosperous citizenry.?


  1. December 20, 2014 at 10:56 am

    Salient questions raised in the last paragraphs of this article needs to be reflected upon and individually answered.

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