Amid numerous precautionary measures canvassed to contain the dreaded corona virus, the Honourable Commissioner for Environment and Petroleum Resources in Akwa Ibom State, Dr. (Barr.) Ekong Sampson, has called on the people of the state to pay serious attention to personal hygiene and environmental cleanliness, even as the state government is set to clamp down on illegal felling of trees in city centres.
Sometimes in our earthly lives, some deleterious situations show up, and it feels like the firmament above is soon tumbling down, beckoning the very end to everything about this life, threatening our very existence. But soon we come to terms with the fact that such times would come, stay a while and leave, for it is established that only tough people last, and never tough times! Trust me, that is truly where we are now.
Sometime in 2019, as that year was nearing its end, another atrocious vista in the history of man was opened, with China as its starting point. At the time, the Hong Kong protests were at their very peak, and sympathies from world’s governments, organizations and individuals soared in commensurate with the swelling remonstrations themselves.
Then the world had thought the tumultuous face-off between the Chinese authorities that had taken over the administration of the territory of Hong Kong from United Kingdom since 1997 and the dogged dissenters was enough trouble for the rest of the globe at the time.
At a time when the Arab Spring kind of confrontations had acquiesced to some major or subtle socio-political reforms across the Middle Eastern and Near Eastern nations, the Sino-Hong Kong lingering conflict presented itself as centre of attraction to the world. While world watchers were passionately wishing that atrocities against Hong Kong demonstrators should cease, alas, news of some plaguing endemic virus disease deadlier than SARS that had once been borne from the part of the world began to filter in.
This time, Wuhan community in China was to be the birthplace of this dreaded disease that was to scourge humanity once again.
The endemic nature of the virus on Wuhan populace caused an abrupt switch in world attention, and lent credence to one of the initial conspiracy theories that the virus was a biological weapon invented to whip docility out of the ever swelling Hong Kong belligerent protesters.
As many dissenting elements as were arrested, were said to be taken to government concentration facility alleged to be situated in Wuhan, where the virus was purportedly released on the people.
It was easy, therefore, for the world to shudder and swallow the myth that the plague was only the business of the Chinese, and so it should just deal with it the way it can.
Reality soon dawned on humanity when there arose hues and cries from other ends of the globe over pandemic crisis that was sweeping across landscapes with fleeting alacrity, taking toll on lives and crippling economies.
So grim is the awful experience that beyond the harm’s way which Coronavirus has brought humanity at this time, certain persons and fate are bringing calamities on the people of the world still.
When recently storm wind swept away residential structures, that also claimed more than 90 lives and property along Bangladeshi coastal fronts; last week a Pakistani aircraft plummeted and crashed killing 97 out of 99 passengers on board; other natural occurrences, such fire outbreaks, one which just occurred in Ogbe-Ogonogo Market in Delta State two days past, vehicular accidents, collapsed structures that all cost lives, are minute few among the vast number of fatal incidents that have struck humanity amidst the pandemic crisis.
We are also all feeling the horrible pinch of wickedness of man to man: the bombings of Islamic insurgents and extremists in some countries of the world, including the Boko Haram in Nigeria, on a Coronavirus-stricken populace.
Now, in some lesser dimension, when some law enforcement agents were mandated by the authorities of our very own Akwa Ibom State government, the wickedness of man in pandemic-damned moments such as these, were made to rub on us.
Like I said earlier, many of us have all been made to have a feel in one way or the other of the extortionate ways of these officials of the law on our roads in the height of the downright lockdown.
A day was that my in-law had to pick up his wife who was in an essential duty, by say 11pm. Armed with his pass, he met about two police officers at a regular roadblock.
He meandered through a narrow opening by their beckoning, but was halted by one of the officers who walked up to his car, hopped in and ordered that he (my in-law) should drive down to their station.
My in-law having simply obliged, and in clear demonstration that there was hardly any case of breach of law on the part of my in-law, the officer backtracked and began to demand for money, to which the former denied having any on him at the moment. But the officer, bent on his extortion culture, insisted the gentleman should part with some money.
By now the bickering has taken both men out of the car and onto the road where some spectacular thing happened! My in-law standing his ground, our cop friend couldn’t hide it anymore but to do the unusual: “Look, my friend, why are you lying? You have money on you and you think you can deceive me, abi!”, barked the now fretful officer.
“Ah, officer,” perplexed and mouth agape, my in-law managed to utter. “Look, let me tell you, you have two hundred naira in that your trousers pocket,” firmly pointing at a side pocket of this helpless guy!
Transfixed, my in-law feebly dipped his hand into his side pocket and drew out the only two hundred naira note and handed it over to the police officer.
Beyond the trauma of losing a cool cash of two hundred bucks in these trying moments, my in-law is still finding it most difficult to come to terms with the reality of an officer of the law who was supposed to be out there to secure the state and its citizenry against the threat of the worldwide pandemic, of not only “robbing” him of his cash, but having to “see” and “know” where his cash was cached in the very recess of his pocket!
The entire drama ended right there. Now, you can see what has befallen us while the pangs of Coronavirus continue to bite and sting!